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Wake Up and Live

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Has your paycheck gotten smaller, are you working longer hours for the same or less, have you been laid off or are afraid you will be? Do you have employer paid health insurance? If you do are you paying more of the premium, higher co-pays and deductibles? Are your parents taking bus trips to Mexico to buy their medications? Does your child suffer from asthma? Are your utility costs up? Does your company offer a retirement plan? Is it fully funded? Did you lose your retirement or a large part of it in the stock market crash? How old will you be when your Social Security kicks in 67, 69, 70? Will there be any benefits when you retire? Are you buried in credit card debt?

Did you have to tell your child they would have to borrow the money to pay for increased college tuition costs because the cash you got out of your home equity now has to go to keep your parent in a nursing home and the cost of both is going up? Did your local taxes go up even though services went down? Are there potholes in your street, are your children in bigger classes at school, do you think the only chance you have of financial security is winning the lottery? Are you worried about the gigantic bill we are sending our children and grandchildren in the form of $6.4 trillion dollars of national debt?

If you answers to one or more of these questions make you feel queasy, you are probably part of the rapidly disappearing middle class (median family income $42,400/year). 12.1% (34.6 million people) of the U.S. Population doesn't have to worry about those problems because many of those problems are beyond their financial reach because they fall below the poverty line of $18,392 ($353.69/week) for a family of four per year. One half of those families made less than $9,196 per year.

What you may not realize is that the conditions above are the result of the implementation of a worldview held by the rich and powerful, not only of this country but also of the whole world. It is likely that if we continue on our present path that America will not be any better off than most Central American countries. What does that look like? A Guatemalan friend once explained the income range in his country. He said "15% of our population is very rich, 15% are poor and the other 70% are very, very poor.

The best example of how trickle down economics works is an old joke about the three Scots, who made a pact that whenever one died, the survivors would pour a bottle of fine Scotch over the grave of the deceased. When finally one of them died the other two gathered at the gravesite with the agreed upon bottle. The one holding the bottle thought for a minute and than looked at the other and said "Do you think he'd mind if we strained it through our kidneys first?"

What is happening in the United States and around the world through the process of globalization is nothing less than class warfare. And guess what, it was the richest people in the world who declared war on the rest of us.

Understanding Capitalism

One of the biggest victories of the right has been to unify in most peoples minds the concepts of democracy and capitalism. Most Americans do not understand that democracy is a political philosophy and capitalism an economic one. Americans do not recognize that socialism for example is equally compatible with democracy. Or that mixture of capitalism and socialism are frequently successful such as in many European countries, Canada and other governments. In fact in America when life span, per capita income and child mortality rates are considered America ranks #6 right after five socialist democracies.

The reason conservatism and capitalism establish such a strong bond is that their social agendas are based on a lack of social change, a stability and control over the population and market place. The true capitalist doesn't attempt to change anything except if it leads to the opportunity for personal gain. In fact most capitalists are not interested in any change except when it produces the opportunity for profit. Just as a supply and demand market economy sees nothing wrong with $50 a sheet plywood and $6 per gallon gas in the face of an oncoming hurricane it looks at over population, war, health crises and famine as conditions to profit from not correct.

Capitalism is an economic view not a political one and as such has no interest in solving any problem unless it interferes with or creates profit. It has no ethic, no moral dilemma. In fact the wonderful thing about a corporation is that it has all of the rights and privileges of an individual but no moral liability for its actions. It is perfect for one thing, making money and the only way in can be harmed is by taking money away from it.

The Causes of the Current Class War

It has been obvious for some time to the world's scientists and to Capitalists who see information in the form of market projections, that a number of conditions are reaching critical mass and cannot be ignored.

Population Growth

The current population is 6 billion people and growing by 176 per minute, 10,560 per hour and 253,440 per day, 1,774080 per week, 7,624,544 per month, over 91million per year. This problem will not go away. It is already leading to widespread famine, war, pollution and other problems of cataclysmic proportions and will worsen if left unchecked.

The wealthy in this country and throughout the world are well aware that they can't have the unlimited growth in wealth and fulfill the promise of raising everyone up to an American middle class existence. We are 6% of the world's population and use 28% of its resources. At our current technological level of functioning it would take 2 ½ more earths to bring the world up to our middle class. Besides consumption, this high standard of living is very inefficient and produces vast amounts of waste. For example, the U.S. is 6% of the world's population and produces 24% of the world's greenhouse gasses).

Capitalists do not see any of this as their problem but what they do see is increased markets and an opportunity to use the increased demands to stifle environmental regulation, worker rights and do away from other "costs" that reduce profits. In addition the pressure on government for increased services represents opportunities for new revenue streams through the privatization of traditional areas of governmental function including the prosecution of war.

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John Kelley is the Managing Editor of a monthly progressive newsmagazine, "We the People News", in Corpus Christi, Texas
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