We need to find a way to cut the strings. Cast the puppeteers adrift. The US has the same wealth inequality profile as existed in the 1920's. Leaner and meaner has not led to making the US more competitive, rather the US economy has been driven into the dirt, corporate raider style, to enable the rich to skim off every last ounce of value for themselves. Infrastructure is crumbling, R&D is declining, education is failing, adequate health care is only for the elite. Much of this is due to the union busting strategies created by Ronald Reagan and improved upon ever since. The political system now accepts that hourly wage jobs keep people in poverty rather than lifting them out of poverty. By keeping the minimum wage down the politicians are keeping all the hourly wages above that level down as well. 80% of the workers in the US are hourly wage workers. In 1968 the minimum wage adjusted for inflation was $9.88, it is now $5.85. Campaign finance reform, protests, consumer boycotts, highly visible lifestyle changes, repudiation of the debt economy, self sufficiency, repeal of person-hood status for corporations as well as the corporate legal framework that encourages the detriment of the many for the benefit of the few, these are all steps that need to be taken. When I was a kid we had to take social studies in school. This is where we learned what it meant to be citizens. How many people consider themselves as citizens now? We have become consumers, to ourselves, the media, government and worst of all, the rich. A crop to be harvested. This is insulting and degrading. Without massive involvement from educated citizens things will not change, not in any sort reasonable and necessary time frame anyway. This transition to a just and sustainable society will involve a struggle larger than the civil rights movement, more vociferous than the antiwar protests during the Vietnam war, and probably more discomfiting for this generation than anything we've experienced. But if we can pull it off, life will be immeasurably improved for future generations who at the moment face a grim existence.
Written in June 2008