69 million page views

LAND OF OPPORTUNITY?

Reader comment on item: Europeans Fleeing Eurabia
in response to reader comment: Wrong Analysis

Submitted by DANIEL REDMOND (United States), Apr 24, 2008 at 22:05

The United States may still be considered the ultimate "land of opportunity" in the world today but the American dream has been tarnished considerably in recent years. To put it bluntly, we have an economic system, and a society itself, that is dysfunctional on a very fundamental level.

Consider these facts:

1) INFLATION RATE: Our currency is rapidly being eroded by inflation. Here is a shocking statistic. Between the years 1867 and 1967 the inflation of the U.S. dollar was a mere 125% for an entire century. In other words, one 1867 dollar bought as much as two dollars and twenty-five cents did a century later. Between 1967 and year 2007 inflation of our currency was 632%. That's six hundred and thirty-two percent. In just forty years! One 1967 dollar bought as much as six dollars and thirty-two cents did last year in 2007 forty years later. What's wrong with this picture?

2) BALLOONING DEBT: How can we think of ourselves as an economic power house when we remain the biggest debtor nation on Earth? Our federal government now holds a debt of neary TEN TRILLION DOLLARS. I know it's hard to wrap your mind around such a big number but another way of describing it is as TEN THOUSAND BILLION DOLLARS. Add to that a minimum of another one trillion dollars in consumer debt and you realize that we have an economic system that simply demands massive amounts of debt in order to sustain itself. Again, what's wrong with this picture?

3) LOST JOBS: Bottom line, there is nothing less patriotic than a large American corporation. Their only loyalty is to their stockholders and the bottom line. If this means moving jobs to Mexico or Korea to increase profits, that's what they'll do without blinking an eye. More and more we are becoming a nation of service providers, not a nation of manufacturers and builders. How can any economy remain robust when it has lost its manufacturing base? It can't. What's wrong with this picture?

4) THE GAME IS RIGGED: More and more the working class of Americans are sliding into poverty. Once upon a time a college degree virtually guaranteed a good job. Not anymore. People spend upwards of one hundred thousand dollars for a four year college curriculum and find themselves working for ten dollars an hour afterwards. So who is making money these days? The entire system has been designed to reward a few speculators. Among the latest group of financial 'masters of the universe' are hedge fund administrators. Last year the top dog in that racket made a personal profit of 3.7 billion dollars, with several others not far behind. And all they do is move other people's money around. Liberal icon George Soros once made a billion dollars profit in one single day on the London currency exchange. We now live in a society that thinks creating one multi-billionaire is more significant and admirable than offering employment to a million members of the working class. What's wrong with this picture? This imbalance cannot go on.

5) THE GREAT CAPITALIST CONUNDRUM: Do you know what capitalist economies have to regard as their biggest problem? Here's a clue: turn on the television and watch how many advertisements for new cars you see in ten minutes of air time. The adds are relentless. Buy a Buick! Buy a Ford! Buy a Nissan, a Toyota, a Honda, a Jaguar, a Chrysler, a Lincoln, a Cadillac!!! and buy it NOW NOW NOW!!! So think about it, does this indicate a shortage of cars out there or a shortage of buyers? Fact is, any advanced capitalist society becomes over-productive very quickly, and therein lies a difficult conundrum. With literally the ability to create a surplus of everything, how do we pretend that we can't? Well, preserving the monitary economic system takes precedence over distributing goods, so we pretend there is a lack of money, which is, after all, only a man-made medium of exchange. Did you know that during the Great Depression in the 1930's there was plenty of food around? Farmers deliberately burned grain and slaugtered livestock in order to keep prices high. Of course, this led to starvation on a wide scale but that was considered acceptable in order to preserve the dollar. Again, what's wrong with this picture?

6) MONEY AS A RELIGIOUS PURSUIT: I am not at all religious and don't wish to be either, whereas most Americans consider themselves to be Theists of one type or another. But what I've noticed in my nearly sixty years of life is that for real religious devotion you need look no further than the typical American's fetish with the DOLLAR. To us everything has a dollar value. How much is it worth? is a question applied to virtually everything and anything. Ever watched the Antiques Road Show on public television? What is it that everybody wants to find out about everything from a Chippendale writing table to a letter penned by Abraham Lincoln? That's right, how much is it worth? meaning, of course, how many dollars can I get for it. And when do people on the show suddenly become emotional? Only when they hear that their cherished object is worth a lot of money. Then they often break down in tears. And why not, suddenly coming in to a lot of money is the American version of a religious experience. Our heroes are last week's lottery winner or the guy who made his first million as a computer geek in his father's two-car garage. A house, a car, a lawn mower.....virtually anything, really.......has its price tag attached as a part of its very identity, as in that's a million dollar house or that's a ninety thousand dollar Mercedes. In pursuit of the money religion all things are reduced to the same common denominator and yet millions of our own citizens live in poverty. What's wrong with this picture?

THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY AIN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE...

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to LAND OF OPPORTUNITY? by DANIEL REDMOND

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)