This video from MSNBC (Dylan Ratigan Show) sums up the true extent of the US Bailout very well. For those who believe that Obama is speaking the entire truth when he says: "We want our money back", this video should open your eyes. Oh, Politics! What a deceitful game they are playing on us (the ignorant public).
I consider myself to be quite social yet I do not believe I am a socialist. When someone is in need, there should be help. From family, from firends, from other humans, from society and the government. When someone loses his/her ability to work in an accident, that person should be taken care of. When a rich banker is cut on this multimillion dollar bonus because he screwed up, then screw him (or her). When that same banker can not be blamed for his company screwing up because he/she worked in the one department that was actually not making any bad investments and is still turning a profit (without government involvement), he/she can still say bye bye to his million dollar bonus. Or any bonus whatsoever.
How the United States has turned into one of the most socialist countries in the world in less than a year, I still can not understand. Do not blame the Democrats, the Bush administration started this all. Knowing that this form of socialism is of the most unfair kind in the world (Socialism for the rich), can really get my blood boiling.
The Netherlands have always been an outrightly socialist country. Though day-to-day warmth and kindness in the society or sometimes a lot harder to come by. The amount of government interference and rules can literally drive a person crazy. This has left the country in a state where it is more than often considered to be "OK" or excusable to live off other people. Those who know how to "play" the system well enough, - and do not have any moral hesitations in doing so - can get away with living their life in this country without making any effort to stand on their own.
I have learned to be quite tolerant with this kind of behavior. I do not like to see it legitimized though. The TV commercial from one of the health insurance agencies in the Netherlands talks about a guy named Jan Willem Bos. Jan Willem has a job (lucky him) but Jan Willem has a lot of stress. He is scared of losing his job because of the Great Recession. Jan Willem is so stressed that he can not go to work anymore. Jan Willem's boss does not know what to do with that. But that is ok, because Menzis (the health insurer) will take care of that.
Jan Willem gets to ride his bike around the city and sits down reading a newspaper. Jan Willem looks like a loser. To be honest, Jan Willem's behavior makes him a loser. Jan Willem is afraid of losing his job and therefore thinks it is ok to not do his job anymore. Not exactly the appropriate behavior for an employee? Definitely not something that we should be promoting in a TV commerical. Jan Willem should be fired right away. Jan Willem's boss should probably be fired as well because he obviously can not explain to Jan Willem that it is NOT OK to refuse to do your work. Jan Willem should feel lucky that he still has a job. That he lives in a wealthy country and that he probably only has to work 36 hours a week with a zillion holidays. Menzis should be scolded by our government for spreading such harmful propaganda. What if everyone suddenly feels like Jan Willem? And the worst thing about it: in this country Jan Willem can not be fired anymore. Since Jan Willem expressed his fear of being fired and now has mental issues - firing him is virtually impossible. Or at least not without a huge severance pay. I am all about being nice (and social) to each other. But here I have to draw the line. Jan Willem and Menzis have both crossed this line.
Here are some of my thoughts (while reading the article):
The disparity of wealth in the US always seemed enormous to me. Somehow the system seemed to sustain itself well in the past decades. Recently I have seriously started to question if the 'poor' in the US will put up with it much longer.
Illegal immigrants are really convenient when you want someone to landscape your garden, tile your roof or make you brunch in one of your favorite restaurants. Seeing tens of -- probably illegal immigrant -- day laborers waiting in vain along the streets of Berkeley last december, was a little disturbing. Fully aware -- as they were -- that they were not going to be picked up that day anymore. Now that things are seriously slowing down and even the California 'rich' (a lot of them with jobs that anywhere else in the world would only grant them a 'middle class' life have little interest in hiring day laborers (tax free) for a day, it makes you wonder what all these 'laborers' are now going to for a living.
Social unrest (and a upsurge in crime) cannot not be ruled out in the US. The same definitely applies to developing countries. China as the new world power will only happen if they can actually keep things together politically and socially.
Good to read that our health care system is not even that inefficient. Yet I still believe it is extremely inefficient.
I have always held the opinion that the US has become so wealthy (and pleasant country) partly because they were more inviting to immigrants. Immigrant were also happier to go there because they had a dream (the American Dream). Hard-working immigrants has always been a large part of the backbone of the US economy. These immigrants were the cheap laborers of the US economy. It is now interesting to see that one of the solutions for America's problems might be to let in highly educated immigrants. I have always supported similar ideas in Holland -> do not have strict immigration laws against highly skilled/educated petitioners. On a socialist level that might however touch some sensitive nerves because it stresses the fact that not every man is equal. How about this proposition: give anyone a US green card who has a Master's degree or higher and invests $500,000 or more in the US (buys a house for example).
The part about the military industrial complex it a little scary. I do not see the US downsizing it army personnel in the near future however. That would only add to the fast growing jobless mob.
This is an interesting quote: "The founding fathers envisioned representatives who did their civic duty for a short time and then went back to their real profession." A country that has a law that prevents anyone from become a full time politician might fare better. I agree that it would be wise to set a 6 to 8 year term limit for US Congressmen.
What is it with developed countries making their tax systems so extremely complicated. Why do I pay taxes for one thing and get refunds or deductibles for others things.
What a mess we find ourselves in. And yes, this crisis will effect every person on this planet -- if not directly, then indirectly.