AS I SEE IT …

I was watching Wall Street last night, you know the one with Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas slicking their hair back reciting dribble that has become modern American lexicon? Now I’m not even going to mention (outside of this sentence) how sad that is, because in order for a speech that is entitled “Greed is Good,” to become an American slogan it would mean that Americans are douche bags; for greed upon itself is not good, but, rather, a blight on our collective asses. Now look folks, I’m just a writer (cave man) with a very basic conception of the world, and in the grand scheme of things I’m just that lawyer from Philadelphia (the movie not the town); I’m the guy who needs it explained to him like he was 2nd grader. The sentiment behind the speech in this movie is a little like Ayn Rand’s book the Virtue of Selfishness, in where she describes, in hundreds of boring pages how the world moves based on our own self interest, and how everything we do circles around that one distinct point of self, or selfishness. I’m not going to debate Ayn Rand’s assertions for they do make sense, but good arguments always do make sense. That, however, does not mean they are correct or just, they just mean I’m not smart enough to being a dialogue.

I can, however, talk about the world as I see it and how we’ve become this Amway society that became more enriched by more people sipping the “financial get rich without working” Kool-Aid then it is by producing anything. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Amway, it is a company that is more interested in getting people to sell Amway then it is getting people to buy their products. It is, what people like to refer to as a “Pyramid Scheme,” whereas the people on the top make money while the people on the bottom pay the money in hopes of getting to the top by getting more people to take over their position on the bottom … and that’s what we’ve come to in our society. We’ve become a society of Pyramid builders, but we’re quickly running out of people to occupy the bottom.

I’ve read all the stories and I’ve watched all the talking heads on Sunday debate the topics of the economy, but they don’t quite make sense, because the one thing that no one ever mentions is the slight of hand and the pyramids schemes that has been the economy for about 20 years now. People are making money from things I don’t quite understand. Now I understand the stock market, and I understand bonds and mutual funds … but what people have been investing in lately is beyond my understanding. More and more I have friends who can’t explain to me what they do for a living, and I’m pretty smart. They are involved with selling or buying or organizing “hedge funds” or financial planning or grouping, or retirement investment, or what-have-you. It is like Enron, for example. My cousin worked there, and he could never really explain to me what they did, because they didn’t do anything but work slight of hand, producing nothing, making nothing, and moving paper around for profit. Perhaps my friends (and by my friends I mean people I barely know of course) realize quickly that I’m a starving writer with very few assets hence not worth the time or effort needed to explain their jobs, or their jobs are pulled out of a hat (or ass), and the magician never gives up his tricks.

We have become a society that rewards and respects people who make money from doing nothing but moving money around in interesting, and more likely than not, shady ways. It used to be our billionaires were men of industry and not capital. They contributed something to our society and we rewarded them and their children (and so on) with lavish and downright regal lifestyles. Henry Ford produced cars efficiently and affectively, and made possible the ownership of vehicles by all Americans. Vanderbilt built ships and railroads, while Rockefeller refined crude oil. They all contributed to society, and were blocks in our eventual rise to becoming a world super power. Today our billionaires are people like T. Boone Pickens, who made his money by running a hedge fund, and organizing the take over of oil companies. George Soros became a billionaire from “currency speculation” (what the fuck is that?). Warren Buffett is the chairman of the board of a holding company. I think you can see my point … we seem to respect people for doing making money from pretty much thin air. And by the way, it’s not thin air, it’s stealing it from people like you and me, and they do it legally because often times, they make the rules that allow them to do this. Do you really think that George Soros is interested in politics? Do you really think he invests millions in campaigns cause he cares, or do you rather think it’s because he wants to be part of making the rules that allow these people to rape you for your money.

The problem with America is that we have gotten away from work and sweat to make livings. If I hear one more over weight slob tell me how hard he works for his money I’m going to scream. If you are fat you do not work hard for a living. Sweating over paperwork is not hard work. Marketing dumb products for dumb people is not hard work, and going to Walmart and hitting buttons on a cash register sitting on a stool is not hard work. We ship all our hard jobs overseas because no one wants to do them here. And by the way, we ship all the hard jobs overseas because we do not respect the working man, and make his job so difficult that the government has to step in and make companies conform to minimum decency standards, which then causes those companies to close down those plants and move those decrepit jobs overseas and get foreigners to do them at a cheaper price, and with worse conditions. Now you tell me why we can’t make steel mills better places for people to work, or why people have to pick strawberries in the hot sun with no rest or breaks, when awnings and mist systems are cheap and portable? You tell me why construction and factory workers’ continually put in hard days labor only to have their salaries cut time after time, while all these slight of hand vice presidents and executives make more? I’m here to tell you, America, WAKE UP, we can do without the executives, but we cannot do without the workers.

Eventually Indians will want to make a decent wage for answering your dumb computer questions, and there will be no third world country with the language skills necessary to do such jobs. Eventually the Chinese will want swimming pools, and cars, and four-wheelers; it is only a matter of time. As long as we continue to live on the backs of the workingman and not pay him for what he earns, we are headed for an eventual doom of proportions that will make this recession look like a walk in the park. Eventually the people to occupy the bottom of this pyramid will go away, and we will be left with what we created … a pile of SHIT!

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