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August 18, 2010

How to Fight Against the "New Normal"

By Chaz Valenza

There is nothing normal or new about the "new normal." It is the imposition of a two tiered caste system: Upper Tier -" The Privileged Uber-wealthy. Lower Tier: Grateful Obedient Servants.

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Everyday authors on these pages chronicle the malfeasance of our current Corporatocracy. Many writers and commentators continue to put forth excellent political fixes and solutions to set our country back on the right course and mend the devastation of income and wealth disparity.

You are probably among them if you are reading this.


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We are involved, we are thinking and we know that by ending certain corrupt practices, by enforcing the current law, by writing some new laws for a new world, and by common sense, we need not endure the current hardships much longer and we can set a path for a sustainable tomorrow.

We have no lack of good ideas, but we have an overwhelming lack of political will on the part of our representatives in government because we lack sufficient political power.

We can argue all night about which of our ideas is best, which won't work and why, but such a discussion is purely academic without political power. The train to the "new normal" is picking up speed, we are simply throwing eggs at the passengers, if that.

Political power has little to do with electing your man or woman. As we have seen, campaign promises and visions of hope soon slam into the iron wall of political reality.

Today, political power train is not driven by the electorate. The Big Money of Big Greed is in charge, the Corporatocracy is deeply entrenched.


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There is nothing normal or new about the "new normal."

The "new normal" is Reaganomics on steroids. Trickle down is not normal, it's a fantasy.

The "new normal" is NAFTA in orbit. There's nothing fair about free trade so long as the other countries are not playing by the same rules.

The "new normal" is the Ponzi scheme as a legitimate business plan. A Ponzi scheme creates no economic value, it is stealing pure and simple. Derivative trading backed-up by too-big-to -fail is a Ponzi scheme.

The "new normal" is code for domination and oppression. You'll accept what's now normal. As they foreclose on your home after you lose your next job just remember, this is the new normal. You and you alone are responsible for your life. Oh, and don't forget, happiness comes from within.

The assumption, the myth you are being sold, is you have no options. You cannot fight back. But for your own sanity and dignity you must fight back.

The "new normal" is the massacre of American workers and the American middle class and the foreshadowing of poverty for the next generation. This is not an issue of race, religion or foreign threat. It is the imposition of a two tiered caste system: Upper Tier The Privileged Uber-wealthy. Lower Tier: Grateful Obedient Servants.

We the people are not dead yet, but we have been seriously injured and Big Greed smells our blood.


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It has lead the politically powerful (by this I do not mean politicians, I mean those with the money to buy them) to an opportunity they have not had in American since the Robber Barons: The possibility of total oppression of 90% of the American population.

I am not proposing that this juncture was a result of some conspiracy. To the contrary, the previous strategy of keeping the status quo by maintaining a solid middle class was adhered to until the bitter end. So much so that devious means were used market bubbles to keep the stability of middle America.

But, now that the pool is full and we find ourselves treading water in the deep-end, it appears easier to push us under until we cry uncle or drown.

The situation is a lot like prices at the gas pump. Create a rationale for a market that runs gas up to $8.00 a gallon. Suddenly, $5.50 a gallon looks cheap. That we ever paid $2.49 is forgotten. (By the way, without the government subsides, and with taking into account the "externalities" of petroleum production, gas should cost $10 - $15 per gallon, but that's a discussion for another day.)

So you had a $75,000 job. Now, you have none. An IT worker in Bengaluru has your job. How does a $35,000 job look after a year or eighteen months of unemployment? Pretty damn good.

The new middle class housing standard has gone from a three bedroom colonial to a double wide trailer. But, you were almost living in your car. Be grateful.

The sky was the limit after you earned both a degree in engineering and an MBA. Education was the ticket to financial success. You had respect. Now, all those degrees buy is job as a bank teller. Your attitude of self-assured confidence has morphed into humility and subservience, at least in front of your new boss.

So what do we do now? The apparent avenues to change are not just blocked, the perimeter is quickly closing, the trip wires are going down, the gun towers raising.

You're not going to like this, but if we want any amount of political power we have to shun the ease and convenience of the American corporate world.

Perhaps you can only deprive them of $100 per year, and I can only deny them $200, but together thousands and millions of us can snatch billions of dollars that will otherwise be spent by the Fortune 500 to seal our demise.

Start by paying cash. Just image a billionaire bankster at every check-out taking 3.5% of every dollar you are spending. Using a rewards card? He's taking even more and giving you a little back. Credit card rewards are blood money shipping the next job offshore.

Use less energy any way you can. Slow down. Drive less. Install solar panels. Shut off lights. Lower the thermostat. Yes, it hurts, but your father was right.

Shop local. Boycott stores and the products and services of corporations that make political campaign contributions. Don't buy the tomatoes from Holland, they're shipped with the blood money of big oil. Ditto all kinds of imported goods and food. Go to the farmers' market. Stop eating fast food. Go to the local deli.

Get out of the stock market. Move to a community bank or credit union. Stay away from chain stores, big box stores, and restaurant franchises.

In short, find every dollar that you would otherwise give to the Corporatocracy and spend it locally. Keep as much profit as close to home as possible until they hear us, until they begin to respect the power we do have.



Submitters Bio:

Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration caused the greatest tragedy of the space age based on Richard C. Cook's book "Challenger Revealed." He is a former Director of Public Information for Planned Parenthood of NYC. His website is: www.WordsWillNever.com

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