Saturday, April 19, 2008

Why Aren't We Screaming?


I rarely have a chance to listen to the news, and when I do, I realize why I avoid it. The fact that a few days ago, I ranted about a stupid book cover and a small publisher who has been a thorn in my side, pales in comparison to what's really important.

What is happening to America? I had no idea that over 80,000 people lost their jobs in just the first three months of this new year. Happy New Year...NOT! Our government signed a contract with a company in France to build planes for us, BYPASSING our own Boeing company that employs US Citizens. One of America's richest, Bill Gates, has a vested interest in how many visas we issue so he can continue to bring in workers from third world countries to employ as computer techs. Hey Bill, how about actually using some of those billions earned here in AMERICA to actually teach some of the unemployed masses a new skill. Put them to work for you. At least when I call a help line, I'll get someone I can understand. Of course, you really don't have to bring them here, you can follow the lead some of the biggest lending institutions and outsource the work. Just send all your client's information overseas and set up 1-800 or 1-866 lines so that you reach someone in Pakistan or India to discuss your bill. I had to call and find out out why my eighty-three-year-old mother had Air Malaysia tickets and rental car charges on her statement when the only place she goes is to Walmart. There are dishonest people everywhere, it seems. Someone abroad was selling credit card info to their friends. Wouldn't you think that these American financial institutions could find disabled people here in our country who would love to work from home? Oh, but that would take time and effort.

Take a look around at all the empty buildings that used to house businesses that have moved abroad to save a buck or two. How does that help our economy? I personally knew a woman in Sparta, TN who was expected to travel to Mexico to train someone there to do her job...the one she'd been doing for years and expected to retire from. Talk about a slap in the face. Sparta is a beautiful place to live but we had to move because there are so few jobs there, and those that exist pay minimum wage.

All the businesses moved abroad means we have to transport the inventory that comes back into the US. This has created a need for more truck drivers to move the freight. Accordingly, "puppy mill" truck driving schools are thriving and people without resources are going in to debt to pay thousands of dollars to earn an "A" license that classifies them as a professional driver. I personally believe truckers are disrespected and wrongly categorized by the public, but that's a blog for another day. Ever see how much Truck Stops charge them for everything?

But back to my rant... So, to accommodate the increased trucking need, fuel prices have risen to an all-time high to drive out the independents who can no longer afford to remain in business. Think about it...how many 'mom and pop' businesses do you see these days? Practically none. We're doing our best to drive everyone into conglomerated corporations. I remember when diesel was a lot cheaper than gas. I believe it's actually less expensive and easier to make so where is the rationale in charging so much more if it isn't to gouge the trucking industry? I don't get it.

If we continue as we are, who will have a paycheck to buy all the goods that were once made here. Instead of worrying about the Olympic Torch, I think we have bigger issues to worry about. Do we really have a candidate running for president who will actually address what I see as obvious problems. I don't think so. If the government is paying a foreign country to build our planes, that sort of speaks to my question. If you really want to be depressed, take a look at the money the government spends on stupidity. We have people starving, unemployed and homeless but Hilary and Obama have raised billions between them for their campaigns. Where has logic gone? I'd love to sit down with them and outline a normal working class citizen's financial picture. You know, elementary school teaching. Dick earns $8.00 an hour while Jane can't find a job. Spot needs dog food, but since gasoline is $3.50 a gallon, and the electric bill has soared, food costs have increased to cover the cost of trucking our now imported goods to the store, we can't afford a pet. Sally has to take priority. I guess Spot will have to go the the pound and hope someone who can afford to feed him will adopt him. Sad but true.

I'm glad my children are grown, but I worry about the world my five-year-old grandson will grow into. No amount of romance fiction, suspense or fantasy I write will change what I see happening, and it scares the hell out of me. What can one person do to make a change? I have no idea. One thing I'm sure of is that my opinions will stir controversy and piss off a few, but these are my thoughts and I'm entitled to them. I have nothing against any race or religion, but I don't understand why being the 'playground monitor' in other countries is more important than taking care of our own tax paying citizens first.

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