Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My America, from Middle-Class to Food Stamps

I never thought it could ever come to this. Thank God my father can't see me. At 55 years old, I now need food stamps just to eat.

Most people in this county who STILL HAVE jobs in 2011 (and aren't "under-employed") will most likely tell you that it's all my fault. I sometimes read the reader's comments whenever I am mentioned in a news article, and their ignorance still amazes me. I'm amazed, but not surprised. I've been reading their garbage for the past two years while all the mass layoffs were occurring.

And in 2011 the general public (those who weren't affected by outsourcing, layoffs, or wage and hour cuts) are all still saying the same exact things that were being said during the height of last Great Depression. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt had addressed this farce in one of his famous speeches saying [paraphrased], "Millions of hard-working Americans didn't suddenly become lazy alcoholics overnight."

I grew up once believing that America was exceptional, even though I always knew that most politicians were never doing a "service" to this country, but were only servicing themselves. Hell, that's been common knowledge to the citizens of this nation since the founding of this country.

From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem wage of $6.00 a day, but only while actually in session - except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. They first began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year. The current salary in 2011 for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is now $174,000 per year. But the average median household income for ordinary Americans (many with both husband and wife working) is only $46,000 a year.

But as corrupt as America's system has always been, I was taught to believe that it was the best in the world. And that if I worked hard, was honest, and gave my best efforts, I would have a much better chance to become successful than I would if living under a dictatorship. But now I suppose it had always been just a matter of choosing between the "better of two evils".

A little over two years ago in 2008, after working hard for almost four decades, I was on my way to retiring. While I had been earning the "median household income" I was laid off. Now I've lost almost everything I owned, I have no job or income at all, I have no money left in the bank, I have no prospects for the future, and I only subsist because of the charity of another person and government food stamps ($200 a month for 6 months). Did I (and 15 million other Americans) suddenly fail, or did our system of government, our leaders, and capitalism fail?

Most average Americans who were born and raised in my era were taught to think that the ideologies or Marxism, Socialism, and Communism were evil. Despots and dictators ruthlessly ruled their countries by oppressing the masses and acquiring their nation's wealth for their own personal use. They lived in elaborate palaces and flaunted their wealth and power while their people lived in poverty. Their armies were used to control their own population, besides just being used for their national defense...but they usually only defended the dictator's status, not so much for the people's personal safety.

America was supposed to be much different, better, and a model of democracy. A place where their citizens had a voice in their day-to-day lives. Americans were taught that the ideologies of Marxism, Socialism, and Communism were our enemies, and that they threatened our way of life, where everyone had a say as to how their lives were lived.

We were taught the "Domino Theory", that America (as the World's policeman with a $700 billion annual defense budget) could not allow a Communist country to invade and conquer another sovereign  nation...that eventually the whole world would be dominated by the "Reds" - and then a new World Order would eliminate America and shackle it's citizens into slavery.

But right after World War II corporate America empowered the "bad guys" by building factories in all these "rouge" nations. GM had already been building cars in Germany while Hitler was still in power. America, as a "nation builder", promoted "democracy" in these defeated nations to open up "emerging markets" for corporate America. But even long before that, raw materials that were discovered in Third World countries were already being exploited for industrialized nations (Europe and corporate America).

China armed and supplied North Korea and North Viet Nam to kill over 100,000 American soldiers; and to cripple and maim countless others...at a huge cost to the U.S. taxpayers and to the country's unity. These were countries that corporate America envisioned as "emerging markets" (they learned of the potential for profitability long before Germany and Japan). How many factories do American corporations now have in China? Remember the Chinese, the Communists, the Reds, our enemy, the ones who will forever try to dominate the world and enslave American citizens?

Weren't countries like China oppressing the masses, violating human rights, and acquiring their nation's wealth for their own personal use? Don't their leaders lived in elaborate palaces? What of America's masses, who only control 10% of the nation's wealth while the other 10% of the population (the corporate "elitists") control the other 90% of the nation's wealth - and who don't live in palaces, but rather mansions? What is the difference in this disparity of wealth in a Communist country or a capitalist country if the only difference is that America's dictatorship consists of 545 mini-dictators (the President, 535 members of Congress, and 9 Supreme Court judges) instead of just one all-ruling despot?

But long before corporate America had sent all the jobs overseas to places like China, "corporate America" had used even cheaper labor, they were called slaves. Big businesses in this country never did, and never will, have any morals when only aspiring for profits. Today they would just as soon divide this nation, as was during our Civil War (and move their wealth elsewhere), rather than ever do the "right" thing. Corporate America has no patriotism and are not honor-bound to anyone, anything, or to any country.

Today the men and women who rule this country through the banks and multi-national corporations are no better than the Robber Barons of yesteryear. If they could, they would, still pay you with company tokens to be spent in their company stores, and have you live in company housing...controlling every aspect of your life to further enjoys the fruits (wealth) of your labor. There would be no labor unions, bargaining agreements, labor laws, paid holidays, 8 hour work-days, or minimum wages. If they could, they would, beat you with a whip to induce higher productivity.

Our Constitution proclaims that (at least, here in America) "all men are created equal"; but over the years quiet discussions persist behind closed doors of population control - because of the limited and finite natural resources that are available for human existence as we live today. The people of the working-class in America don't even hold the value of 3/5ths human to the "powers that be" - as did the slaves when our Constitution was written. American corporations treat the citizens of this country with no more respect, and they have been systematically eliminating us entirely by economic means. We are no longer hunter-gatherers or farmers, so how do they expect us to survive? They don't, and they don't give a damn either.

America is not going forward, it's going backwards for the working people. American corporations (with the help of our government "leaders" using the media) has been deliberately doing this for years, using a variety of strategies. Outsourcing jobs, eliminating labor unions, increasing the prices of commodities, offering meager wages with little to no cost-of-living increases, and making it much more difficult to regulate them. Then to add insult to injury, they slander the workers after laying them off, calling them unskilled while desperately fighting against any increases in their own tax obligations for corporate and income taxes - revenues that we desperately need to finance government services to help the jobless people. Then they have their political hacks cut everything that usually the working-class and the poorer people need.

Who really still believes that your voice is heard unless (or until) you use your right to assemble and gather a few hundred thousand bodies together in one geographical location and carry a sign and chant? Otherwise, your voice is NEVER heard, not even in the elections. Your vote never counts because no matter who is elected among our corrupted politicians, they are beholden to their campaign contributors and only think about re-election. They will always lie and say ANYTHING to get elected, but never abide by your wishes - and they will always cling pathetically and desperately to their power. But of course, that too is common knowlege and has been since the founding of this nation.

And almost all of our mini-dictators, the dirty politicians and their puppet masters (the filthy CEOs) target the poor, the disenfranchised, and the unemployed...blaming them for America's woes while comfortably relaxing in their palaces mansions and limos while collecting their very generous shareholder-paid and/or taxpayer-paid salaries and pensions. Who is REALLY getting the hand-out? Who is REALLY on the dole? Who is REALLY the freeloader? Who is REALLY the enemy of America and her working-class? Is it Marxism, Socialism, and Communism? Is it China or terrorists? Or is it our domestic enemy, the enemy within?

Congress makes (not "earns") $174,000 a year, and the CEOs and bankers are raking in millions (and paying less in taxes while receiving extravagant benefits, bonuses, and "allowances" - not to mention the best healthcare that money can buy), as 15 million Americans are no longer even given an opportunity to earn a skimpy $46,000 a year - (let alone qualify for any further unemployment compensation). Eventually they will all (like me) lose everything and become destitute too, just like those protesting in the Middle East today.

The Middle East is on fire now; big changes may soon be on the horizon - whether it's good for American corporations or not, that doesn't matter at all to me. As an American citizen, I wish the citizens of the Middle East and North Africa all the best of luck. What will be, will be. Those oppressed peoples of despots and dictators have had enough. When will the American people say the same thing? When will THEY have had enough? If we take to the streets, will our armies fire upon us like the armies in Libya - or as our own National Guard did at Kent State (Four dead in Ohio)? Will American citizens do nothing until, just like the people of Egypt, they have nothing left to lose (like I do already today)? I pray the tipping point comes in my lifetime...nothing would make me happier than to see those who destroyed our American Dream being destroyed themselves.

Then maybe all of the Glenn Beck's of this country, those who helped enrich the few and denied 15 million Americans a way of life, will all have to beg for food stamps too.

If I were to write another book, it might be...

Two related articles:

Federal poverty levels are so far out of line with actual basic living costs, that rent alone would consume the annual salary of anyone living below the poverty threshold.  You simply cannot afford to rent an apartment anywhere in America , if your income is below the poverty level, never mind also pay for food, health care, transportation, heat and electricity.
There's no doubt that government budgets are in trouble. The big lie is that the reason is excessive spending. Public budgets are in trouble because revenues plummeted over the last two years of the Great Recession. They're also in trouble because of tax giveaways to the rich.
The problem isn't that we've been spending too much. It's that most Americans have been getting a steadily smaller share of the nation's total income. At the same time, the super-rich have been contributing a steadily-declining share of their own incomes in taxes to support what the nation needs -- both at the federal and at the state levels.


  1. "I always knew that most politicians were never doing a "service" to this country, but were only servicing themselves" - lol, servicing each other as well.

    It's sad that we have to learn this by being victims but good that we now know. The challenge is of course, to unite all employees, as you have correctly stated, tomorrow's victims.

    To all unemployed people, please release any feeling of inadequacy or insecurity caused by lay off and repeated rejection. While it is natural to seek out the cause and assign blame, the only productive purpose is to affect a solution. Mulling over the injustice and trying to convince ourselves there is nothing wrong with us only stalls creative solutions.

    I look forward to looking back on this time as a blessing, shocking humanity to evolving toward our greatest potential. May all of us find protection and provision to survive until we thrive.

  2. Hear hear. Excellently written. To all those jerks who blame unemployed people for their fate: may you one day walk in their shoes and see how it feels. It is a fate I would not wish upon anyone.

    Keep up the good fight, Mr. Meyers. The world needs people like you!

  3. Just some food for thought for you Bud: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/02/feds-appealing-warrantless-wiretapping-court-defeat.ars

    An article about another loss of our freedoms under the current asshat of a president. Read some of the comments on the article - you'll get a good smile and chuckle from many of them (my favorite being: Obama will probably be remembered as the best republican president America has had since Reagan.).
    Peach :o)~

  4. Another food for thought link: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/02/russia-glenn-beck-agree-google-fomenting-actual-revolutions.ars

    An article about Glenn Beck and Russia's agreement about Google and worldwide unrest.

    Peach :o)~