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The Rest Of Us: The Carnage Of Capitalism and Classicism

The saying goes “Money can’t buy you happiness.”

There’s also another saying that goes, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it will buy you a nice car so that you can drive up real close to it.”

The rich and high income earners in America operate their lives in the second quote, buying that nice car to try and get closer to happiness, and farther away from the rest of us.

Classicism in American is running rampant. Running so hard it in fact ran into the White House. Americans are fascinated with money, the access it provides, and the ease it makes of keeping those without money at a disadvantage and a distance.

Americans are also clearly fascinated with celebrities who have a little bit of change, because the thinking is if they have done well for themselves financially, they may be of a financial benefit to the economy of this country.

How well is that going?

Depends on who you ask.

My husband had a conversation with a young black Trump supporter.

The young man said while he didn’t care for some of Trump’s “rhetoric”, he thinks Trump is overall good for America.

The guy went on to talk about looking at housing in the $600,000 to $800,000 range. This would of course insinuate that he makes a good bit of money from what ever his occupation is. He then expressed excitement about Trump’s tax plan and how the plan is going to be of a benefit to businesses and will allow them to hire more employees, thus boosting the economy.

A few things to unpack here.

First, I am utterly sick of people calling Trump’s racism “rhetoric” and excusing it because they think he is good for their wallets. This is especially ironic coming from a black man as we know how much America likes us.

Not that much.

It is furiously baffling that people are willing to tolerate racist ideals and practices from a tyrant all because they think he is good for the filling of their wallets.

I won’t get into all the times and examples of Trump being a racist because that’s not my overall point here, but hiding it behind the term “rhetoric” doesn’t excuse it in away.

While I don’t know the total extent of 45’s tax plan, the fact that it will give tax breaks to businesses is true. However, the part about businesses using those tax breaks to hire more employees is neither in the plan, nor is it being put into practice. As we’ve seen (and as expressed by Abigail Disney of the Disney family) companies are instead using the tax breaks to buy more stocks to pad their pockets and pay their CEOs more money.

The middle class, where the majority of us are, will be left to just figure it out.

While the young man my husband was speaking to probably isn’t “rich”, he is definitely at the upper end of middle class income. Unfortunately people like him will also greatly benefit from 45’s tax plan as they will get much larger tax breaks than most of the rest of us will.

My household income is decent. It’s in the $85,000-$95,000 between my husband and I. While this doesn’t sound bad, sometimes it can get really tight with trying to clear off debt to clean up credit, trying to save money, and trying to enjoy ourselves.

While it can be financially frustrating for us at times, I in turn think about the people that work two jobs and still don’t make what I do individually, or how some couples aren’t even in our combined household range, and the sacrifices they have to make to keep it all together. They have to deal with being at work almost around the clock and not having enough income. Where is their break? Where is their relief?

The middle class in American is what makes America work. People like me in the service industry, people in factories and plants and behind cubicles, are the good people that keep this country moving, yet we are being taxed at higher rates and being driven further and further into debt.

Capitalism, the system that we support with our work hours every day, is only working for the rich and not for the majority of the rest of us.

Why are people supporting 45’s policies that only make it easier for capitalism to fail the majority of us, and classicism to gain more ground in separating high income earners from the rest of us?

Lately I’ve been reading more and more about the work conditions of Amazon employees. Their work is results based and they get dinged for low production. They also have very strict breaks and are sometimes even dinged for not producing when they are not at their work stations.

The result is employees working through breaks to the point of urinating in bottles at their work stations, pushing themselves until their hands are raw and wrists are worn out, and either not being allowed to, or not wanting to take time off in fear of losing their job.

Meanwhile Jeff Bezos is in the news making headlines about who he, as the richest man in the world, is dating this week.

Before we go any further, let me clarify. I’m not demonizing being rich by any means. If you can find a way to become successful in this country and it works, do it. Of course a substantial loan from your parents to start your company is great positioning, Jeff Bezos, but that’s another story… Or maybe not, but I won’t get into that here.

If you can become a billionaire a hundred times over in this country, then, wouldn’t it make sense that you can work one job that doesn’t kill you? One that allows you to support you and your family, without having to worry about being laid off because your company can’t afford to pay you and pay the CEO a katrillion dollars a year?

Of course there are exceptions. Every job doesn’t warrant high pay. This makes sense for any capitalistic society.

However, the fact that there are so many people working so many jobs that don’t cover all of their basic needs while others are making extreme amounts of money creates an imbalanced system.

The rich and high income earners will be quick to say lower income earners shouldn’t “live beyond their means”, but can we talk about how many CEOs and company presidents are being paid beyond their need? Why should any one person make hundreds of millions of dollars a year and their employees can’t even afford the gas it takes to get to work?

The scales have been tipped so far to the other side, balance is more an obscurity than normal thinking.

Jeff Bezos could probably split up his salary and share holdings and put the money into employee earnings and still be the richest man in the world and his employees wouldn’t have to work around the clock without breaks and have to urinate in bottles at their desks and in factory corners because their income is strictly tied to their output.

Do I think Jeff Bezsos should take this into consideration? Yes. Do I think he should consider how his income could support that effort? Yes.

Does this make me a socialist? If you want to call it that, you can, but however it’s framed, it’s extremely problematic that the president of a company, and the next few generations of his family, is financially set for life but his employees are working themselves into oblivion with what probably feels like no end in site, and no rich family to give them money to start a company.

It’s also been said that people who need to work more than one job to make ends meet should do just that, and there are those with more than one occupation that take pride in it because it fits the “grind” culture that we have developed over the last few years, particularly with the advent of social media.

While there is nothing wrong with working more than one job to either make ends meet or make additional discretionary income, the fact the people HAVE to work more than one job to get by is more the indication of a failing system than it is an indictment on those who just don’t make enough.

This broken system allows classicism to have a field day in America.

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio even recently said “capitalism basically is not working for the majority of people”. Of course this probably sounds ironic from a guy that’s set for eternity, but we need more rich people like him, and Warren Buffet (who has spoken on this before) to not only acknowledge the system is broken but also make more of an effort to fix the problem.

Capitalism hasn’t worked for a lot of us for a long time, and those in power are the ones whose feet need to be held to the fire.

Admittedly, there is no one answer to fixing the wage gap in American. It’s highly nuanced and becomes even more complex when you get into the discussions of income as it relates to race and gender. Overall though, the average American who is working hard and doing everything they can shouldn’t be forced to suffer under the theory of giving more money to the rich in hopes that the rich will then create systems for the money to trickle down. This is currently how capitalism is functioning in this country, and it simply is not working.

I of course can’t speak for anyone, but I would imagine that people who aren’t rich or make a lot of money aren’t asking for a handout, we are just stating that if America is supposed to be this amazing “land of opportunity” that it is often called, everyone should have a fair shot at the opportunity, and those that have had extreme benefit from the system on the backs of the rest if us should make more of an effort to return the favor.

Writer of life, Actor, Host/Comedian, and Spoken Word Artist. The last great Atlanta native.

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