Somewhere down the line I foresee an uprising in America. I may not be around by that time, but I see it as a distinct possibility.
If it were not for unemployment benefits, and unemployment benefit extensions, and for Social Security Disability, possibly, there might have been one already here in the U.S. since the disaster of 2008.
People who lose their jobs and cannot feed themselves or their families get desperate. But we have a safety net, such as it is.
But with the advance of technology there are fewer and fewer jobs, even when or if the economy rebounds — it is said to be rebounding now and rebounding a lot faster than the employment rate.
And technology has not only wiped out industrial and other formerly labor-intensive work but it has hit the office place too. Executives and lawyers type or key in their own memos on computers in some cases. There are a lot fewer open positions for executive secretaries and other administrative personnel — not that they could not be used. Have you ever noticed the paper work coming out of some of these places?
Automated switchboards have replaced live voices — much to the exasperation of customers, but no one in business cares because that is the way things are done now.
An interesting thing to me in this current situation in Egypt and other troubled Middle Eastern nations is that a whole lot of the demonstrators are young people with college educations but they cannot find work. So sending everyone to college is certainly not the cure all/end all.
In the U.S., the government’s debt piles up with the populace unwilling and to some extent unable to pay higher taxes and there are fewer taxpayers all the time. Social programs have to have some type of revenue stream.
It could all come to a head. How long would relatively soft Americans last? Not long.
Meanwhile the politicians dither. Not a statesman among them.
I really think the problem is that we have professional politicians. I really think sometimes we would be better off with people who simply serve a term or more as a public service and do it for a stipend. Now of course this could well limit the field, but would we really be worse off?
People who have to worry about being elected every few years — every two years in the case of the U.S. House of Representatives — have to spend more time campaigning and selling out to lobbyists with their corporate checks than doing what they were elected to do just to keep up their livelihood.
There is the thought that if you did not have professionals holding office there would be too much turnover and not enough institutional memory or built-up expertise and that the void would be filled by paid and unelected staff. Of course that is a problem, but I think we could elect honest people who could be vigilant.
There is a thought that any kid can grow up to be president. Well, nice thought, but really should just anyone be president? I don’t think so. I would want someone who has proved his or her worth outside of politics. I want someone who can demonstrate knowledge and have a good educational background. I want someone who is not carrying water for some private interest or who is not straight jacketed by ideology, but of course who supports our form of representative democracy. And I really think when you get to higher office, especially president, you need someone who is to some extent in the class of elites. The world is too complex for people who are unworldly and too simple minded. Sarah Palin need not apply.
But most of all I think that the problem is that we are stuck with people who are professional politicians and who have been out of the real everyday world so long they have not a grasp of the true needs of the people, even though they may think they do.
I realize my talk of electing elites seems to run counter to my suggestion that we need people who are more in touch with the citizens. But I think people who are in what you might call an elite class, be they from the business sector or from the intellectual sector or a little of both, might have a better grasp of the real world that those pampered-at-the-public-trough bunch we have in Washington.
Just a thought.
I have never understood why many small to medium sized towns — at least here where I live in California — have councils that serve for mere stipends while the board of supervisors members in the counties wherein they lie get salaries equivalent to as much or more than many or most of their constituents make in a year, plus other perks, such as health insurance and even retirement, and most or all of them have outside jobs or business interests. They may be good people. But if they really were in it totally for the public good they would accept a stipend.