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How to Fight Against the "New Normal"

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

Paris Hilton reading Sun Tzu by

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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 (more...)

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