A man who chased the carrot on a stick for 30 years ends up with nothing. Welcome to America.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
If you are an American who hasn't chemically lobotomized yourself with prescription drugs, you probably know that "something is wrong around here." Even the genetically modified potatoes at your local Walmart are aware that something is horribly amiss.
But the full weight of our current nightmare is difficult to comprehend; it certainly can't be condensed into a 100 character "tweet".
But the story of "Allen", a former banker who now spends his days in San Francisco soup kitchens, serves as an sobering allegory for America's universal decline. Allen, who worked for 30 years in the corporate world, is 61 years old with 2 college degrees. Now he has nothing. His story was featured in an HBO documentary, "San Francisco 2.0". Coming from an ex-banker, Allen's comments about the state of America are both damning and poetic:
I think we're rapidly becoming something like Venezuela, where there's a very small, ultra-rich class, and everybody else is poor — and the middle class is shrinking. I think the American Dream is a load of crap. There is no American dream. It's a nightmare for most people.
And he's right. The irony is that HBO's documentary is about America's "young, successful innovators" — but the vast majority of young Americans face the same fate as Allen. And unlike Allen, they will never experience, even briefly, "the good life." Consider:
- 22% of American children live in households with incomes below the federal poverty level. 45% live in "low-income" households.
- Social mobility is a myth: "While a majority of Americans might think that hard work determines success and that it should be relatively simple business to climb and remain out of poverty, the reality is that the United States has a relatively entrenched upper class, but precarious, ever-shifting lower and middle classes."
- 1% of American adults work as slave labor for our bloated, increasingly for-profit prison system. (1 in 10 African American males under the age of 30 are "living the dream" behind prison bars.) In total, the United States has less than 5% of the world's population, but more than 20% of the world's prison population.
- If you're young (and not in prison), you probably don't even have a job: Joblessness among young Americans is worse than it was during the Great Depression.
- Even if you get a job, your salary will be garbage: "the middle class hasn’t seen its wage rise in 15 years. In fact, the percentage of middle-class households in this nation is actually falling. Median household income has fallen since the financial crisis of 2008, while income for the wealthiest of Americans has actually risen."
Factor in our totally dysfunctional, overpriced education and healthcare systems, and you begin to see the terrifying reality facing young Americans: Cut-throat wage slavery that not even John Steinbeck could have fathomed.
We can't help but chuckle — or weep? — at how HBO presents Allen: He's a "dinosaur" who can't survive in our "adapt or die" world — driven, of course, by young, hip "innovation." What are these people smoking? According to HBO, Allen is nothing more than a regrettable byproduct of our glorious, cellphone app-driven economy. He represents "the dark side of progress". Ha-ha.
Bullshit. George Carlin said it best:
[The owners of this country] don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting f*cked by a system that threw them overboard 30 f*ckin' years ago. They don't want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all of these increasingly sh*ttier jobs with the lower pay...The owners of this country know the truth. It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.
Enjoy the rat race. Allen certainly has.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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