Book Trailer The Noble Train

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why People Are So Mad

I was listening to a man talking about how the middle class has no one to blame but themselves. He pointed out that people should have saved and foregone luxuries and reaped the benefits of their frugality in retirement. It is a common charge. That the people who bought too much house and too much car and too much of everything have no one to blame but themselves for losing their homes, their jobs, their savings, and having no retirement. Basically they screwed themselves out of the American Dream.

But the reality is different. Marginalized by globalization, tech, downsizing, outsourcing, a devastating recession, a derivatives crash and a bank bailout...the people who did everything right also got screwed and this is the source of anger that manifests itself in anti government rants and basic disenchantment with anything smacking of the American Dream. The meritocracy we like to paint is in fact an oligarchy where the pie was stolen and not even a slice left behind. And so we have a huge segment of the population left at the alter.

And yet we persist in finger pointing as if we could have avoided all of this. I know lots of people who have  lost their homes. I know people who have moved back with their families. I know twenty somethings who cannot get going. And I know people literally teetering on their feet because they are exhausted after twenty years of unrelenting hard work. They did nothing wrong except belive in the precept that hard work will produce a benefit. But they are not reaping the benefits. A lot of them will die before they retire.

And people know it. They know that they have used up the best years of their lives and now have little to show. The I did everything right crowd is especially pumped with righteous anger. They feel like the bargain was violated and in a sense they are right. The rich has taken too large a bite and they were played by derivative traders that left them with devalued homes. And there is little anyone could do. The fact of the matter is the rich will get richer.

And the middle class will be played right up to the day they die.


Books by William Hazelgrove