*** Warning! What follows includes factual data, personal opinions and some painting with a broad brush ***
- One abuse that has been around for hundreds of years is adulterating food with cheaper fillers to increase profit. the earliest examples were the millers grinding flour. They would dilute the wheat flour with gypsum dust or marble dust, which they could get for next to nothing. This would not kill a person eating the products made from the flour. It DID increase their profit margin quite a bit. It also lowered the quality of the bread baked from that flour. That is a big reason we have the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with ensuring that foods we eat and the medicines we take are more or less what they claim to be, and that they will (at least) not harm us.
- Another example of the need for regulations and inspections that spring to mind (and is a hot button for many) is the ACA. One of the reasons for the ACA being created and put into law was to regulate the insurance industry and keep it from the many abuses they would inflict on their customers, all in the name of higher profits. Before the ACA, the Insurance companies could write policies that covered NOTHING; so the monthly premium was essentially pure profit. They would refuse coverage to individuals for random reasons, most of which seemed centered around the fact that these people MIGHT force them to pay out some of that cash they were collecting. They were able to put arbitrary caps on how much would be paid out for a given disease, or policy. If you happened to have a situation where they DID have to pay out any cash, you could see your premiums doubling or more a couple of months later. Finally. they could refuse to cover a problem because of a “preexisting condition” – even if that condition had NOTHING to do with the current problem. There are many examples documenting these abuses available with a simple Net Search.
- Before the Wage and Hour regulations, and the regulations calling for a safer work place were created, it was a buyer’s market as regards businesses and workers. There was nothing to stop a business from paying low wages, and requiring the workers to labor in a hazardous environment without protection. For example, I was looking at a History Channel program talking about tower cranes and how they had made it much easier to build the amazingly tall structures that dot the landscape. As a part of the program, there were a number of old photographs like this one:
Note, please, the fact that these guys have no safety equipment at all. No hard hats, no safety lines, no ear protection, nothing. They are also WAY up in the air!(Thanks, to the fine folks here: shangralafamilyfun for their allowing the use of this image. I recommend visiting their site, as it has a lot of interesting pictures, facts, and thoughts on it!)
…..Another issue that is touched on in the original replies, but not to any detail, was one that I think is very important. because it affects ALL parts of the economy. That issue is the economic gap between classes of Americans that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 30+ years. This shift in economic blessings has produced a very small, upper class that has a net worth of anywere from hundreds of millions of US$, to a top number of US$40 BILLION or more. There is nothing inherently wrong with being very rich…although it can easily lead to a dangerous path. In this case, too many of the 1%ers who fall into this category are almost totally insulated from the 99% of the rest of the citizenry. This leaves these ultra-rich folks almost totally clueless about what the lives of the other 99% of Americans are like. I hear folks who either are in the upper income brackets (or want to be there) saying really stupid things – like – “we need to cut government aid because it ruins the desire of the recipients to work. They would rather just be parasites, getting a free handout” Or, “What? They are saying they cannot find work in their area? Well, then, they should just pack up and move to where the jobs are”. Or “If we try to redistribute the wealth to the lower classes through higher taxation of the rich, it will destroy the economy, because it is the rich that are the Job Creators”. Or (perhaps the worst of all) “you workers do not want the union to come in! they will just take a big chunk of your paycheck, live the high life, and will not do you a bIt of good”.
- A vast majority of the people in America who receive government aid are not freeloaders, sitting at home, eating chips, pumping out children and watching Soap Operas on the television. No. They are actually hard working people working full time jobs for wages that are too low to allow them to work, AND pay their bills; They often cannot stay far enough ahead to even THINK about having a savings account, or escape from the drowning pit of renting that sucks huge percentages of their income away every month. So…because of these terrible wages, and the annoying tricks that employers go through to ensure that they will not have to pay workers decently, or provide benefits touted by the company when trying to hire, these good people are forced to go in and apply for EBT (Food Samps), Medicare/Medicaid, etc. Every day they pray that their car will run until tomorrow, because they can neither afford to get a new one, or often, the repairs to get the vehicle back on the road. Now there are some folks who work the system, but, that is a tiny percentage of the total number of American Citizens helped out by these programs. Cutting the programs will not motivate those folks to go to work and it is a delusional belief that it will. The people that work the system now will simply find other ways to work it, and perhaps to scam other people.
- About that “Free Handout” part….That, too, is foolish because there is no state out there that allows a person to simply walk in, fill out a form, and get a debit card filled with “free” money to spend as they wish. There are a large number of Department of Human Services workers who spend their days checking up on clients, to make sure that they are going to school or work registration as they agreed to do when they got into the program. The systems, in general, require the clients to constantly update their employment and earnings status, with the risk that if they fail to do this, they will be cut off. Finally, a change a few years ago to the aid system ensures that NO citizen can receive aid for more than 5 years…this is a life time limit, and, is a Federal law, so it spans ALL states. Five years of tiny payments is not something that one can live on comfortably.
- About that “moving to the jobs” idea. While it is technically true, it demonstrates the lack of understanding on the part of the well off about the lives of the 99%ers. Moving is a complicated and expensive process. Unless a person lives out of a suitcase already, there is significant expense involved in getting the possessions they own packed up and moved to a new city, along with the expenses of moving their family. There is the factor that once IN the new city, unless the person already has a job lined up, there is the problem of getting enough money to survive until the new job appears. While it may not be a huge monitary hit, the chaos and disruption of ones support community when one moves away is enormous. It can add to the stresses of the move, causing an increase in poor decisions. It can impact one’s kids quite a bit, as they not only have to walk away from their comfortable surroundings and friends, but, they are dropped into a very different place…the learning curve to deal with the new society can be pretty steep, and it can affect the ability of the kids to absorb the lessons they need to have to survive in today’s society. This will put them behiind. there is much truth in the observation that once one slips behind in society, it can become harder and harder to catch up to where one used to be.
- The claim that wealth redistribution will hurt the economy because the Rich are the job creators has not been particularly true for many years now. It was true that many years ago, when the Ultra-Rich of the day were gathering money, it might have been a problem. However, a large discrepancy between those days and today is that in THOSE days, the “robber barons” understood that it was vital to pump a lot of their profits back into the company. this may have cut the ratio of the earnings down to 50 to 1, but, it did ensure that the workers not only had enough cash to be healthy and reasonably happy, but, it slowly created a strong Middle Class that was able to purchase more of the “luxury” items that are denied to the poor. More customers, more of a market, more cash flowing in. It is not a complicated system, in general. However today, the story is quite different. While it is a little hard to tell, the last numbers I saw indicated that the ratio of the salaries between the lowest and highest paid jobs in America, is closer to 2000 to 1. In addition, much of the money is not being fed back into the company. Rather it is going into investment accounts of stock holders, high end management. Much of those proceeds end up in private, secret accounts in the Cayman Islands and other countries that really do not care about anything but getting hold of those billions. Some of it goes to purchase more, and bigger, yachts, and bigger and “better” houses around the world. The real job creators in today’s America are the small businesses created by foolishly optimistic entrepreneurs who start with one or two partners and build from there. The rich, other than the fact that once a company gets some size and success, start circling it like hungry sharks, trying to purchase it, have NOTHING to do with this.
- Finally, there is the Union issue. I have to say that in the past 20 years or so, the unions have, alas, become less of an advocate for the workers, and more of a bureaucracy bent on perpetuating itself and making as much money for as little effort as possible. However, in spite of that I believe that Unions are hated by, fought against and legislated against mainly because Management knows that Unions give power to the workers, and allow them to force changes in the company that will cut the money going to the top levels, but, will improve the lot of the workers. This not only means an increase in wages and benefits, but, making it harder for the companies to fire employees at will…thereby adding job security. Yes…it is true that if one goes into a union shop, there is a fair amount of pressure to join the union. that has annoyed Americans no end since the creation of “union shops”. it is not so much that the dues are a huge percentage of their paychecks (although that is an issue at times), but rather, there is the “surly teenager” attitude of over-reacting when someone tries to push us into something, even if it is a good thing.
|For The Society of Bees||
For the Society of Humans.
|…..As most folks know, bees have a very complicated, social structure However, the social pyramid they form is focused on ONE thing, that is the protection of, and growth of, the Hive.||…..Within this society, the individual members are often focused more on enriching themselves as individuals The problem is that this means that Our Hive, the Earth, is being destroyed by the few for their benefit.|
|The colony tends to be ruthless. When the queen begins to fail to lay enough good eggs to sustain the colony, she is killed or exiled. A new Queen is created to take her place. In the winter when the Drones (the only male bees in the hive) are no longer needed to impregnate a new queen, they are exiled, to die outside the colony.||…..Within the Human community, there is a much fuzzier concept of building a good community and much less inclination to fix problems. We, even today, re-elect 95% plus of the local, state and Federal representatives that hold sway over us. This, in spite of egregious lying, abuse of power and creating legislation that discriminates and hurts many Citizens. I would call for Voters to be a bit more ruthless, and do NOT re-elect the person in the office just because they are there. Follow the exmple of the Bees, and, if that representative is not creating good for the whole society, replace them with someone who will!|
|The Bees are, essentially, one organism, in that each individual bee is able to do almost nothing. However, in concert, as an organism of 20,000 to 40,000 cells, the bee civilization can do mighty things.||While it is normal for humans to band together in tribes and teams and such, very often they do not perform to the optimal level because of their individuality and insistance on maintaining it. Think of the last time your favorite team got wholloped by a much less talented team. Why did that happen? 10-1 odds it was because YOUR team was a bunch of individuals, each jockeying for their moment of glory. The OTHER team was a group that had submerged their individual desires, and created a gestalt where in, like the Bees, all the members worked for the common goal, ignoring personal glory..|