Has anyone noticed the growing trend of people everywhere acting “crazy” these days? From our leaders down to individual citizens, one need not look far to find evidence that America may indeed be going crazy.
Walmartians, road rage, bizarre crimes and acts of violence to a group of Republican leaders sending a “wacky,” treasonous letter to Iran, there appears to be no shortage of weird behavior. Even the new normal is insane; with the majority of Americans trying to scrimp just to get by while the minority at the top flaunt their wealth and behave like narcissistic idiots (can you say Selfie?).
As Ann Jones points out in her article in Salon (January 13, 2015), in today’s society the “…CEO of a major American corporation makes between 300 and 400 times as much as its average employee,” contributing to the ever-widening disparity between the haves and have nots. It used to be if you worked for minimum wage, you could still provide for yourself and your family (thus the name, minimum wage). These days, working two full-time minimum-wage jobs (if you can get full time) still won’t guarantee your ability to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. But at least you can count on your pension when you retire, right?
According to Nerdwallet.com, America is facing a pension time bomb and the crisis is of “major proportions.” As more baby boomers retire, more states are “struggling to fund public pensions. Of the 50 states, only Wisconsin’s pension system has a surplus. Other states, such as Illinois, have pension debt that is over 50% unfunded, meaning that unless changes are made, the state will be able to pay less than half of promised retirement payments to current works. A state in danger of defaulting on legal obligations to retirees could choose to fill the gap by cutting other public services or by raising taxes.”
Bad news, but not as bad as in the states of Kansas and New Jersey, where Governors Sam Brownback (KS) and Chris Christie (NJ), “…having run up their state’s debts by cutting taxes for the rich, now plan to cover the loss with money snatched from the pension funds of workers in the public sector.”
Exacerbated by the great recession, when the government chose to bailout out the perpetrators rather than protect the victims, this country has been in an economic and cultural downward spiral. Adding to the madness is corporate welfare. A recent article in Aljazeera America by David Cay Johnston stated that “the bottom fifth of households in all but one state pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes than the top 1 percent of earners. This means that corporate welfare effectively redistributes from the poor to those rich enough to own corporate stock.”
And what’s up with the Supreme Court deciding that corporations are “persons,” allowing these often-times multinational conglomerates to secretly spend ungodly amounts of their shareholders’ monies to put their own puppets (i.e., politicians) in government to do their bidding?
Meanwhile, the media capitalizes on all the wackiness, promoting it and adding to the idea that it’s the “norm” in American society. Take some of the weirder headlines from the Huffington Post’s Weird News section from Thursday (March 26): Stinking Rich: Human Feces Might Contain Millions in Gold or how about Ejaculating on Your Colleagues’ Food Is Not a Sex Crime in Minnesota.
Are we, as a society, so bored or so afraid to see what’s really happening that we look for any way we can to escape? Maybe the media is just a reflection of the bigger picture, and they’ve gone “officially” nuts as well (see CNN last month interviewing a llama on live television!).
Our society seems to be losing its grip and sense of right and wrong. Like the 1963 epic comedy film, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” greed appears to be in the driver’s seat and the outcome won’t be positive.
As more people succumb to the stressors of modern-day society—compounded by the fears put forth by those who deliberately seek to polarize this nation—fear, anger, and hate will continue to proliferate. While crazy may be too strong a word to use, America is on a dangerous path, and better wake up before it’s too late!
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