|My wife and I moved into a new place last week
Last edited Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:41 AM USA/ET - Edit history (3)
The place is newer and the rent is cheaper, so it's all good, plus she's happy with the new digs. If MrsScorpio is happy then I'm happy. You all know how it is. We're still in the process of settling inÖ There really is nothing more than I hate than packing and unpacking, but it's all part of the deal when you move.
I called Two Men and a Truck and they quoted me a price that was over two hundred dollars more than the bottom line of renting a UHaul truck and doing it myself. Friends and family helped with the big stuff, but especially with my back issues, I'm still recovering as we speak.
With all that's happened I've had a few observations that I'd like to share. In the last few years we bought some inexpensive Chinese furniture. Well, a lot that shit was so flimsy that it didn't survive the move. I actually tore the broken pieces down by hand and left them in boxes for garbage pickup, while the 20+ year old American made stuff that we bought right after we got married made it. A few nicks and scratches as it were, but intact.
I filed that fact in the back of mind just in time to see something on PBS that connected some dots for me. Hopefully you've all had the chance to see that episode of Frontline on childhood poverty in around the Illinois/Iowa border region.
Many of the people living there fell into poverty when during the last ten years when jobs and factories packed up and were moved overseas to places like China, where my cheaply made furniture was manufactured. Good paying jobs lost by Americans doing high quality work, making things that last. Those jobs afforded local investment, tax revenues, stronger communities of people who paid their mortgages and car notes for new cars.
Instead, vulture capitalists sent those jobs away. Now they're obscenely rich from destroying American livelihoods, causing the deterioration of America communities, all while exploiting cheap labor outside of America.
But that's not the only thing: There's the aftermath of Sandy, which exposes the raw nerve of our antiquated infrastructure. We have a power grid that's falling apart and expensive to maintain, we're not investing in modern technology, as is Western Europe.
All of this speaks to this countries failure to make proper priorities. Much of that power grid that I spoke of before is in decline by design. Not enough skilled workers are hired to even maintain the system in good times, much less to recover from a major disaster like Sandy. Where Europe is investing heavily in new wind and solar systems, we're still relying mainly on fossil fuel powered plants. We should be training and hiring more energy workers, building and installing wind, solar and geo-thermal systems, investing in renewable energy sources, modernizing and burying power lines.
We should be upgrading our entire telecom systems. Since I've been here in my new place, I couldn't help but notice the frequent outages while we've been having some bad weather this week. Internet speeds in the US pale behind higher and more reliable service in Asian and European countries.
We need to invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. So many bridges, roads, sewer systems, water treatment plants, levies, dams and canals that are in need of attention.
What much is apparent is that quality of life in America is regressing. Americans need to take back their lives from the corporations that are destroying our livelihoods with cheap, foreign made goods, the destruction of good paying American jobs, the selling off and speculation of public resources and general divestiture in America.
The frontline of the fight right now is on the picket line walked by Walmart employees, who are rejecting the way that that corporation treats its workers as if they're wage slaves. Earlier this month, America rejected a vulture capitalist who wanted to treat the entire country as he did one of his own companies that he outsourced to place like China, the country in which my cheap and flimsy furniture was made.
We need to put money back into this country. That means fixing the tax code which has facilitated the loss of jobs and the overwhelming upward redistribution of wealth that has destroyed working class families. We need to get back to building higher quality of goods, that we used to build in the past, instead of flooding our own market with stuff that falls apart. We need to put good money into America itself, instead of standing idly by while it crumbles under our feet and over our heads.
We need to reduce the size of our military. Clearly the greatest threat against us is not from foreign sources, but our own lack of action at home, our willingness to sacrifice American workers for cheap labor, our lop-sided upward distribution of wealth, our unwillingness to address poverty and penchant for doing things on the cheap.
We spend billions on "security" and "defense" against hypothetical attackers while things are falling apart from neglect.
We need to turn things around, people. If we don't, there won't be an America to hand down to our successors. All there will be are broken pieces that were made by foreign workers overseas.