Truth, Justice, and the American way. TRUTH: Helping to correct people's misconceptions about history, science, and the state of the world. JUSTICE: Meant in the biblical sense. Fair treatment of other people, rational laws, and assisting the disadvantaged. THE AMERICAN WAY: A classless society where everybody has an opportunity to meet their potential and for economic advancement, regardless of race, ancestry, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Why Are People Acting so Crazy Lately?

The Occupy movement, Anonymous, the surprising rise of the Bernie Sanders campaign, the Black Lives Matter movement, people moving from the US to Canada, open weapon carry, and the Stand Your Ground movement. These all are the result of people being frightened by the concentration of wealth and power in this country
Symbols of the concentration of wealth are the ability of the guilty to buy their way out of trouble, and the violence caused by the corporate-backed “War on Drugs”.
Relative to inflation wages for non-management workers have declined by over 50% since the late 1970's. This drop in real income has caused widespread employee resentment. Middle-class poverty makes people attempt to do something — anything — even if it isn’t directly related to the problem. The Trump campaign twists this resentment by blaming the poor instead of those who really bear the responsibility.
History is a great teacher, and it has taught us that since the beginning of the industrial revolution, ordinary people will revolt during economic downturns when wealth is over-concentrated. Because of the 170 billion dollars the Bush administration borrowed to finance its wars, we can expect a deep recession in 2023 or 2024 (when the loans start to come due). If things do not change by then, prepare for widespread riots and secessionist movements. 
The demonstrations in the past 8 years will continue to grow in intensity, as long as corporation-centric government stays in power. In response the government will escalate its martial law tactics. The divide between the people and the police will widen and more people will die. 
The US must take control of wealth. Inter-generational gift and inheritance taxes must increase to over 50%. Requiring companies to pay living wages is no longer a luxury. Removing the Social Security Premium Cap and using the money to pay for public health care is a necessary step (it would cut the cost of US health care by 50%). Paid maternity leave, long-term unemployment benefits, fixing the Capital Gains income tax loophole, raising the federal income tax exemptions to at least the poverty level, and reevaluation of prison sentences for all non-violent offenders are all necessary steps.
The US must regulate companies to assure that they respect their employees and their communities. Company planning must be for the long-term, not the next 3 months. The Limited Liability enjoyed by corporations should be in return for civic responsibility.
All government employees must adhere to the conflict of interest regulations. When Congress passed the conflict of interest regulations, they only applied to the executive branch. Applying the same regulations to the legislative branch would help reduce the corruption and bribery of Representatives and Senators by private interests.
The US citizenry wants transparency in government. Private companies are required to allow stockholders to attend board meetings (except under very limited situations) and the financial records of every publicly held corporation are available for audit. The same should be true for every department in the government. National security will not suffer if all documents are declassified after 25 years.
Those of you who are interested in how our economy got so bad should read the most recent books by Robert Reich (ex. Presidential Public Policy Advisor).

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Canoga Park, California, United States
Software Engineer with Ph.D. in Computer Science. I have a deep background in the sciences and in computer-human interaction. I was a college professor for 11 years, followed by over a decade of work in industry.