Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Perfect Job And Income Inequality

Imagine this job, and tell me it's not perfect:

* You join one of two unions, who will pay for your application fees.
* You spend several months in the interview process, and you get to beat up on the other union members.
* You can say anything you want, true or untrue, and you have a 50/50 shot of getting the job.
* The job is almost always guaranteed for 4-6 years.
* You're hired based on what you said during the interview process, but your employers have no real avenue to fire you if you didn't do what you said.
* The expectation is that whatever you do, either way, you'll fail.
* Even if only 9% of the decision makers that employ you like what you're doing, you'll still keep your job.
* You have a review every 4-6 years, and while the interview process is generally arduous, you have better than an 80 percent chance you'll keep your job.
* On the job, companies (clients) will pay your interview fees, and do much of your work for you, provided you simply agree with their point of view.
* Some companies will offer you a job to fall back on if your current job doesn't work out.
* You can vote with other union members to NOT increase your salary annually, but if you don't, it will automatically raise.
* Almost all of your expenses are paid.
* You're offered a full staff to handle your day to day work.
* You're given a private bodyguard.
* You're paid in excess of $150,000 a year.
* 47% of your co-workers are millionaires.
* The job affords you the right to break certain laws, such as insider trading, or sexually harassing one of your staff.
* Your job's only requirement that you only show up at specified times, and during those times you are required only to vote. You are allowed to abstain from the vote, but you need to be there.
* If you don't like the rules in the employee handbook, you can rewrite them and vote on them as you see fit.

Yes, I'm describing the US Congress.

While Wall Street may turn a blind eye to the protesters who are clearly piss mad about income inequality, I'd expect that Congress would not. After all, Obama himself stated that "We should spread the wealth." But do we really expect that Congress will act? I mean, why would Congress not see what's going on in the streets, or at least examine whether there is an income gap, and how to stop it?

Well, for starters, look at who enriches Congresspersons' "re-election campaigns" the most. Well, wouldn't you know it....the Financial industry as a whole is the #1 campaign donor, with a whopping $122,000,000+ going into the political machine.  Let's do some math...there's 535 members,  plus the President. So, $122,000,000 divided up by 536 people...let's see here...that's $227,611 for each and every elected official.  And that's just in 2008. And that's JUST from the Financial industry.

But wait, there's more!  Besides all that Federal "donations" (read: bribes) there's also lobbyists. People that go wine and dine people, offer things in return for votes or sponsorship of bills.  Best part? Many of the guys who got fired from their "perfect jobs" get to come back and talk with their old friends who kept their jobs. "Remind" them of the fact that when they were sitting in the front row that they made "compromises", and use those "reminders" to help steer the "still employed" Congresspersons of their "responsibilities". Guess how much gets spent on Lobbying. Guess! How about $3.51 BILLION ($3,510,000,000.00) dollars in 2010. I mean,  if you go back to the 536 guys....that's $6,436,567 per person! Six and a half million dollars was spent to help "persuade" Congress. But it's not bribery, right? No, these are men and women of honor. Their character is above repudiation; above the stain of bribery, right?

The argument I hear from Congressional apologists is that while the lobbying industry is there, they don't really change votes. There's no graft. But, the question is this: if it wasn't effective, why would industry and special interest groups spend three and a half BILLION dollars in a year? Who would spend that kind of loot on "persuasion", persistently over the span of decades, if it wasn't effective? Only Congress spends money forever on wastes of time like that, right? Yeah, lobbying is effective or it would've been replaced by a different system long ago.

But, let's take a step back. Get back to the "perfect job" and ask why these Occupy Wherever people aren't getting noticed in Washington. Let's note that it's not remotely conjecture to say that there is income inequality in the United States. It's proven. It's verified a trillion times over.  The wealthiest top 1% of Americans control 40% of the money. I can live with that. I'm sure that it's been earned. But, moving forward, don't you think that "Trickle Down Economics" has proven to be an abject failure? Time and time again we've proven that giving federal dollars to the richest people doesn't spur economic activity. We're in a terrible recession, for the second time in ten years or so, due to the failed policies of spending money we don't have, giving it to the people who need it the least.

So, let's get to the 1% theory. Does it hold water? Seems to be.

But do the Occupiers, as many occupying forces before them, really believe they can change hearts and minds?  You bet your ass they do, and it's the idealism of youth that fuels that incredible belief. The problem is that they forget psychology. Most people, when faced with a decision, will choose to do whatever they perceive benefits them the most at the time. And while they're getting "donations" from bankers, the banks will never be held responsible for the carnage they've wrought upon the world economies.

As every occupying force should know, there's only two ways to break the will of an occupied people: win their hearts and minds (Bush Doctrine), or cause them so much pain they give up (Chuck Liddell Doctrine). Unfortunately for the Occupiers, they have no power to win the hearts and minds of Congresspersons (read: racketeers) making millions in the protection business, and they sure as hell can't cause them more pain than the local constabulary can cause them; they have no super-humanly strong overhand right coming from a crazy angle.

On the flip side, most people think Occupiers are nothing more than a bunch of homeless, lazy, dope fiend, radical hippies. Therefore, no heart-string pullers in hand and no mind control devices.  No leverage, no power. Not a snowball's chance in the coolest part of hell of getting anything more than an occasional bone, stripped clean of the marrow, to appease the great unwashed masses. When Congress has a 9% approval rate in the middle of a huge, calamatous recession and yet virtually all of the electable incumbents are re-elected, it's clear that it isn't working.

In other words, go home. It was a nice try, and I commend you fine folks for exercising your First amendment rights. But until the system changes, nothing will change for us 99%. It's not in their interest to change. When it comes right down to it, they ARE the 1%. In fact, they're above the 1% because they have the power to take from the 1%, and everyone knows that if you have something that can be taken, you never really had it in the first place. And Congress has the power to make anyone an offer they can't refuse.

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