The Classless American Society and Economy

America the beautiful, right? How can a country built on the land of the free and the land of opportunity become to corrupt and conniving? It seems that almost all of the government’s action are to benefit those that are in power. We will be able to come up with a number big enough for how much crucial information the government hides from its citizens. I would love to know where the nineteen trillion-dollar debt we are currently in erupted from. Nearly seven trillion dollars of the nation debt comes from the military (Loose Change). The number of troops we have lost in battle is dismantling and it makes you wonder why we are involved in any of these wars period. There’s the obvious reason. September 11th 2001. A day that changed the world as we knew it before. Numerous terrorist hijacked multiple airplanes are crashed them into government buildings. Or so we were taught.

What if the entire day of September 11th was a giant hoax by the government to give us reason to start war with the middle east? The most sickening evidence to support this idea is the missing airplane flight 77 (Loose Change). There have been plenty video surveillance images released and none of them capture a plan in the sky or a plane crashing into the building. The government claims flight 77 flew into the pentagon but without any photographic evidence it’s hard to prove. On top of that, there were no parts from flight 77 recovered from the pentagon (Loose Change). If a bomb blew up the pentagon, we are left to use our imagination to figure out where the flight crew and passengers went from flight 77. The government pulled off the biggest hoax of all time in order to start a war that we weren’t meant to fight. From 1990 through 2011, the United States lost 29,213 U.S military members while on active duty (“Deaths While On”). More than a third of the members who died were between the ages of twenty and twenty-four (“Deaths While On”). The government is willing to risk the lives of young men who haven’t even begun to live their lives for its own benefit.

American society is similar to its economy considering that it looks good on the outside but on the inside it can be rough. The average is 26,695 thousand dollars a year which is below the poverty line for the average family of four (“2015 Poverty”). Besides the economy, American society is broken. In 2013, it was recorded that 16.6 million adults and over half a million minors suffer from alcohol use disorders (“Alcohol Facts”). Every year nearly 100,000 people die from alcohol related causes (“Alcohol Facts”). In addition to substance abuse, many Americans fail to have ambition. Annually, three million students drop out of high school. Every single day there is over eight thousand students that make the decision to drop out of school (“High School Dropout”). These numbers are staggering considering the idea that 90% of jobs are not available to high school drop outs. It makes me wonder where these people think they are going to go in life or what kind of future they see for themselves. On average a high school graduate will make one fourth a million times more than a high school dropout.

The U.S. economy may finally be coming back to life. The economy is beginning to gather steam and Americans should expect so see higher wages and better asset values (Mahapatra). The first factor in helping our economy come back to life is the rise in the housing market. Housing prices are twelve percent higher than they were a year ago which shows the demand is rising (Altman). New housing construction and renovations don’t just generate construction and related jobs. New housing can also boost the manufacturing of appliances, pipes, wiring and other goods (Mahapatra). They drive services, including plumbing, electrical work, trucking and mortgage lending. Another factor that has benefited our economy is the unplanned rush from our oil and gas sectors (Altman). The U.S. oil and gas sector underwent a revival consisting of implications for growth, jobs, and trade. Natural gas is doing just as well considering the U.S. is producing 65 million cubic feet per day. On top of all of the other success the economy is experiencing, the banks are also bouncing back. During the recession, banks could not trade which keeps them from functioning (Altman). After a rescue from the Federal Reserves, banks began to borrow again on their own and consumer loans have surpassed their previous high.

Americans are fully aware of the inequality distribution of wealth but their perception of the inequality is not remotely close to the real inequality. Some people will look at the distribution of wealth and shrug their shoulders without knowing that they will be the next victim to fall to inequality. An economy where majority of citizens are not doing well year after year is not going to be successful in the long run. Last year the income in America climbed to a monstrous fifty-four million dollars (Carrol). The poor Americans are nearly living off of pocket change while the middle class is becoming barely distinguishable (Stiglitz). The bottom forty percent of Americans barely have any wealth. Roughly fifteen of Americans are below the poverty line. The 1 percent of Americans have forty percent of the nation’s wealth while the bottom eighty percent make up just seven percent of the wealth. The one percent owns half of the countries stocks, bonds, and mutual friends. The bottom fifty percent of American owns only half of one percent of those same investments (“Wealth Equality”). When it comes to the workplace, a CEO of a company makes 380 times more than the average employee. This means that an average employee would have to work for a month straight to earn what a CEO makes in just one hour (Lindorff). The top one percent have watched their incomes grow up to eighteen percent over the past decade while the middle class’ income is constantly on a downward spiral (Carrol).

The wealth of America is concentrated into the hands of a small group of elites (Carrol). These elites are known as the wealthy one percent of Americans. The one percent can be described as the needle in a huge haystack. Growing inequality is the flipside of shrinking opportunity. When we disregard the equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using our people in the most productive way possible. The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the most reluctant the wealthy can become in terms of spending money on common needs (Stiglitz). This can explain why America’s education and technology are striving but our infrastructure is embarrassing. The top one percent are constantly distancing themselves from ordinary people, so it is hard to believe that they don’t enjoy the inequality. Much of today’s inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system. America’s inequality distorts our society in every way. For example, it has a formed an effect on the way people live their lives. People outside of the one percent are increasingly living beyond their needs (Stiglitz). The five percent of Americans with the highest incomes are now responsible for 37 percent of all consumer purchases.

When nearly all the income in America goes to the top, the middle class doesn’t have enough purchasing power to keep the economy going without sinking deeply into debt. An economy that is so dependent on the spending of an elite few is guaranteed to eventually crash. The elites can afford to spend money when their saving and the economy is up, but when their assets take a hit they will pull back from spending. This can lead to economic crashes considering there is no one else that can make up for the spending of the rich. The first thing needed if we’re going to try to get people out of poverty is more jobs that pay decent wages (Edelman). There aren’t enough of these in our current economy considering that minimum wage is below eight dollars (Greenhouse). If a person is working fulltime and making 7.25 an hour, they will earn just below 14,000. – before taxes. How is it that a person can be working forty hours a week and still not have enough money to survive (Greenhouse). Society’s need for good jobs extends far beyond the current crisis. It is predicted that we will need an employment policy to be passed by congress and a larger investment in education and skill development. Even with assistance and high wages it’s going to be hard to get the poor to become ambitious and make a living for themselves. There are six million people in America that have no other source of income besides food stamps (Edelman). Why would someone want to get up and work for their money when you can be handed money for sitting on your couch. It almost becomes understandable as to why the poor stay poor and the rich only become richer.

How have we become a society that is so lacking in self-awareness, so removed from reality, and so completely consumed by a web of cyber foolishness (“Is the Onslaught”). The internet is creating a whole new mental environment. We’re experiencing a digital state of the human mind where it becomes a spinning instrument panel. The internet can lead people to consciously exhibit behavior that is not in their best interest (Holdcroff). The content of internet usage can go a long way in describing psychological characteristics.

It’s crazy to think that ten years ago there was no Facebook or Twitter and fifteen years ago people still had to wait to hear from each other because email was still uncommon (Philips). I cannot completely attack social media seeing that is has strengthened our relationships across the entire world. We are living in a time where the world is in the palm of our hands. We can reach anyone around the world at any time by just pressing a few buttons. We can also share moments and photos of our life to anyone on the internet. Social media has also made it easier for people with like interest to discuss important issues and expand their knowledge. Even though we largely benefit from the internet and social media, not all consequences of technology are good (“Social Media”). The internet has created a barrier between people across the world by allowing them to hide behind a screen (“Social Media”).

It’s frightening that social media can give us a feeling of social interaction with us actually having to socialize (Holdcroff). People are checking their social media and internet applications at every free second they get during the day even when it might seem the most inappropriate (“Social Media”). It shows that our society has a true problem with distraction when we are checking our phones while using the restroom, grocery shopping, our while out to dinner (Phillips). It becomes hard for anyone to enjoy the world around us and be in the now when there is that little digital box that is constantly anticipating our attention. In addition to our loss of an attention span, we have also lost any regard to productivity and gained a great deal of procrastination in the process (Holdcroff). People are sitting at work and checking their profiles online (Phillips). It’s amazing that companies still allow internet and phone usage to their employees when they are well aware of the lack of productivity it creates. It’s like companies are paying people to procrastinate and sit on their ass all day while scrolling through their phone.

I think the most obnoxious part about society’s obsession with social media is all of the information people post about their very personal life. It blows my mind that people think people care about their boyfriend’s latest job promotion or how their mother never visits their grandchildren. It seems that nearly every post on social media is a desperate call for attention from people you haven’t seen or spoken with in months (Phillips).

“It may sound dramatic but social media is literally taking over our lives. There is this persistent urge to Facebook, tweet, Snapchat and Instagram our daily moves in an attempt to express our identity to the world and make ourselves feel valued. Unfortunately showing that in today’s day and age we have become obsessed with virtual reality.” (Holdcroff)

One of the biggest reasons for our struggle between the virtual world and reality is the accessibility of the internet- it is accessible from anywhere, at any given time (Holdcroff). We are constantly surrounded by technology which makes it even easier for us to get glued into our screens. All of the media including television sets and music creates a distraction from real life. We are living in a time where nothing is so rich as visual attraction and narrative messages (“Is the Onslaught”). Media is no longer a part of our day but instead the entirety of our lives. It’s crucial to keep your own life centered in reality and use the media as a small part of it if you do not want your life to be taken over by it (Ward).

It would be impossible for me to deny how grateful I am to live in a country like the United States regardless of all of the social and economic issues. I do however fear for the future of this country. People all around the U.S. are losing their morals. I believe the obsession with social media has caused issues with people self-confidence and how they view themselves. People will base their ego and confidence on how many likes they get on a picture or how many views they get on a post (Wolff). It’s hard for me to understand that at a time none of this was invented and now people depend their lives on it. Although technology has corrupted society, it has also helped us move forward as a country (“Social Media”). We have made medical and science advances that would have been impossible years ago.

 

Work Cited

‘2015 Poverty Guidelines.’ ASPE. N.p., 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.’Alcohol Facts and Statistics.’ Alcohol Facts and Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. Altman, Roger. ‘Pop Goes The Economy.’ Ebsco Host. N.p., n.d. Web. Carrol, James. “Now the Rich Get Richer Quicker.” Boston Globe. Boston.com 3 Jan 2011. Web. Deaths While On Active Duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.’ Time Military Files. N.p., n.d. Web. Edelman, Peter. ‘Poverty in America: Why Can’t We End It?’ The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 July 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. Greenhouse, Steven. “Productivity Climbs, but Wages Stagnate.” The New York Times. Google. 29 July, 2012. Web. ‘High School Dropout Statistics.’ Statistic Brain. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. Holdcroff, Katy. ‘Is Social Media Taking Over Our Lives?’ Redbrick. N.p., n.d. Web. Is The Onslaught Making Us Crazy?’ News Week. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. Lindorff, Dave. “Serfing U.S.A: Corporate America is Robbing American Workers.” thiscan’tbehappening.net 29 Dec. 2010. Web. Loose Change. Dir. Dylan Avery. 2005. DVD. Mahapatra, Lisa. ‘The State Of The Major US Economic Indicators In One Chart.’ Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. Phillips, Penny. ‘Why I Deleted Instagram.’ Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. ‘Social Media and Society:The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.’ SeoChat. N.p., n.d. Web. Stiglitz, Joseph. ‘Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.’ Vanity Fair. CondéNet, 2015. Web. Ward, Adrian. ‘What Internet Habits Say About Mental Health.’ Scientific American. N.p., n.d. Web. ‘Wealth Inequality in America.’ YouTube. YouTube, 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. Work Cited Wolff, Michael. ‘How Media Usage Is Taking Over Our Lives.’ USA Today

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