The social critic in me is stirred up. This is not about blame but about asking what can we do to make our economic, legal, political, and social system work in a way that has compassion for all? There are a number things very wrong and no one in Washington DC cares to do anything about it. The following examples stand out because they are indicators of a system that has gone wrong. The problem is not that money or business is bad, it is that greed is the dominating force of our country.
The House passed new healthcare laws. The Senate will most likely not pass significant healthcare reform. There is one reason for that; to be a senator costs lots of money and insurance companies and most other corporate associations have invested millions (most likely billions) of dollars in our elected officials to make sure the laws stay in support of corporate interests not for what is best for the people. Election reform that removes the influence of money is essential.
Banks and Credit Card companies have spent millions in promoting credit card use/overuse and now they are raising interests on those in debt to them as a way to clean up their bad financial decisions. We who pay taxes and use credit cards helped bail them out and now they are turning around and making us pay again. They have returned since their bailouts to again doing questionable investment practices so the crisis will arise again soon. Who is looking out for the people? Get out as soon as possible from using credit.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase were helped through the financial disaster of the past year and now they plan to give almost $30 billion in record bonuses. Here is part of the article in Bloomberg and a reference for the entire article.
"The firms -- the three biggest banks to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program -- will hand out $29.7 billion in bonuses, according to analysts' estimates. That's up 60 percent from last year and more than the previous high of $26.8 billion in 2007. The money, split among 119,000 employees, equals $250,400 each, almost five times the $50,303 median household income in the U.S. last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show."
Does this seem right to you? Check out this site for more information about where we have gone off course because of greed and inequality.
When I look around in my community and I see a growing homeless population, (one of the homeless froze to death the other day). There are laws in this community and many others that make the homeless criminals. I hear of many people here without work or struggling to find work. I hear from people there that the jails are overflowing.
One of my clients went to court in Denver and it was so crowded that it took him 45 minutes to get in the building and then it was so packed that it was shoulder to shoulder. This is the criminalization of America, the justice system that is about creating crimes and punishment. Many if not most of these people have mental health or addiction issues and they need help not prison.
Does this make you wonder what is wrong? Is our present social structure working in which there are few who have all the resources and most are struggling to make things work? How come greed is allowed to dictate our laws and criminalize those who are without resources?