Saturday, November 19, 2011

Play the game

[This is a response to the suggestion that someone, who is worried that he can't afford healthcare for his family, should "play the game" of making more money.]

I understand there are different stances on the real issues here: people who blame specific government programs (such as Fannie and Freddie Mac's lack of assets) and people who blame lack of government regulations (such as the role-back of Glass-Steagall); people who point out the agency of individuals to make good choices and avoid being taken advantage of and those who squarely blame those who have profited off the bad debt, volatile markets, and exotic financial products. Actually figuring out how our economy became so vulnerable and why it took such a strong hit, isn't as easy as a bunch of sloganeering.

Defending the status quo however, as you have done, is just painful. When arguments are easily bandied around that justify treating low-income earners as less than human; it's hard not to respond with anger. If you really think that it's okay for 45,000 people in the U.S. to die yearly due to lack of healthcare coverage; you're sort of a horrible person. Then to justify this fact by proclaiming that low wage-earners should "play the game" like the Kardashians; is just mind-numbingly ridiculous. On top of that, you go on about how other people should educate themselves; implying that you know what your talking about because you haven't been influenced by the "liberal media"?! Are you kidding me?

How so many people can, with a straight face, be so incredibly complicit in perpetuating the increase in wealth disparity (not just in the U.S. but around the world) is amazing to me. It's difficult to understand the arguments when the people who are talking about NOT benefiting from the labor of others are defending the people who profit from the labor of others.

The only way I can reconcile this weird stance, is that when poor people benefit from the labor of others - this is bad - but when rich people profit off the labor of others (raking in record profits, draining pension and retirement funds, demanding union concessions while voting yourself a raise, rolling back benefits, taking out insurance policies on bad debt you just sold, out-sourcing to countries with more exploitable labor markets - like slaves, etc) - this is AWESOME because rich people did it, so it's just "part of the game".

But yeah, people should do something when they are in a bad situation. They should do something when other people are leeching off their labor. They should do something - those "tiny steps" toward being respected and being able to provide for themselves and their families through their hard work - like the Haymarket riots.

Slave labor and underpaid labor around the world can rise up, they can change their situation by being bold enough to stand up and risk their lives to change the game. You're saying people should play the game to avoid their preventable deaths. That's just beyond the pale.

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