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America’s national pastime is greed
It is not my purpose to simply compare costs from a time long past but rather to recognize the consequences and repercussions that have occurred over decades due to the societal and economic (often erratic and unpredictable) variations Americans have experienced since WWII.
I’ll choose a year as a frame of reference – 1958 (the year my daughter was born). The average income was $5.000, a new car – $2,200, a new house – $13,000, a First Class Postage Stamp – three cents, and the tuition at Harvard University – approximately $1,000 a year.
As a young man (18) and fresh out of high school, I managed a small plastics factory (small, meaning four employees plus the owner). I earned $60 per week ($54.20 after taxes). I made a little extra money mowing lawns, shoveling snow and parking cars 10 Saturdays at a nearby race track, jobs I’d had for years.
But here’s the thing… living was affordable in 1958. Rent for my two-bedroom apartment was $15 a week, eggs were 28 cents a dozen, a loaf of bread – 20 cents, milk – $1 a gallon, and the $38 I just bought 10 gallons of gas with last week would have purchased 237 gallons in 1958, enough to fill my gas tank about 15 times.
On my income I supported a wife, a baby, a car, an apartment, tithed to our church and had money left over. Can a reasonably resourceful, hard-working young high school graduate work and support a family today as I did relatively easily in 1958? I think not. The costs of living are simply too high.
The reasons for this are many and complex. The owner of the factory where I worked in 1958 earned five times my salary, for one thing. Present day CEOs would expect 500 times my salary. In 1958 America’s national pastime was baseball. Today, it’s greed.
There was a time when our greatest economic successes occurred when the U.S. government helped to create an environment in which entrepreneurial business activity could thrive. Present-day government policies in the hands of egocentric, self-serving public officials has altered the original premise of “representative government” significantly and average Americans are left to shoulder (which means suffer) the consequences.
According to Economist.com – “A child born in a household among the bottom 20% of U.S. income distribution has a 7.5% chance of reaching the top 20% in his or her lifetime. America’s levels of social mobility are now among the lowest in the developed world.”
There is a reverse (an antithesis) to our past beliefs in government. A substantial portion of the U.S. Congress is convinced it’s entitled to trading stocks in this free market economy, taking advantage of information afforded them in closed House and Senate hearings. Timothy Carney in WashingtonExaminer.com states, “That’s indefensible. The people subsidizing, regulating, taxing, exempting and protecting corporations should not also be investing in them.” However, it continues, right? It never stops.
I believe it was over a year ago, figures published by economist Gabriel Zucman suggested that wealthy individuals and corrupt politicians had managed to stash $7.6 trillion in offshore tax havens. That’s about 8% of the world’s wealth (according to Vox.com).
Our present economy, the outrageously high (and seemingly out of control) cost of living, the shameless wage disparity, growing homelessness and broadening poverty, were all avoidable.
David L. Snell – Franklin, N.C.
Seeking answers to the question of ‘why’
We all are a bit inquisitive and are continually asking “why?” While toddlers can try any one’s patience asking the “why” questions. Like why is the sky blue or why doesn’t my dog talk, instead he barks? But we all throughout life are asking why, and this never seems to leaves us. We ask why and how is it we all share life on this small speck called earth drifting within an endless universe. Or why does our world seem so divisive instead of united ? And yet more personal, “why” did my spouse or parent leave me? Why does life seems so painful? Why in all our modern advancements we as a people seem to be drifting further apart? The fields of science and medicine also ask “why,” in seeking understanding of our human bodies, behavior, and our world and universe and how we live within them. Poetry, songs, political systems, every part of humanity is involved at some point in asking the question of, “why?” Some get answered, but it’s more of what touches the internal man that seems evasive or never answered. Humanity seeks an understanding of why can’t we find justice, peace, in unity and love. Our hearts cry for the truest sense of this. Governments and religious systems try but fail at this, never finding the truest meaning of what we seek, why ?
Universities once were seekers of finding truth within a diversity of thought and ideas, which its own definition of university is (uni) unity within (versity) diversity. But most universities display a complete opposite, and we wonder, why? Within the public square we’ve devalued ourselves, as well as those around us. Why? Why do we say we want all that is good for ourselves and all humanity when we act and behave the opposite? Why is it I feel so lost and empty, within a world so full of what’s suppose to make me happy, but doesn’t ? If any generation is in need of asking “why,” it is this generation. We truly are lost and have no idea of where or what we are doing, and more now than ever are asking, “why?” Life is reduced to a hollow chase of unending gratifications which are left wanting and never realized, and the question is “why?” Humanly speaking, how is it we’ve devalued ourselves to the point we are today? If man is the essence of all things and valued as the higher being of all that there is, then man has failed and deceived himself greatly and lives in a blindness he himself has created, and continues to do so willingly. The values we seek do not come from man. Valued foundations are only found in the Divine which is outside of man and awaits a relationship that brings all value to mankind with purpose and meaning to ones self and all humanity. Where else does this comes from? Why is it we don’t see or believe this ? What is it you believe…. and the finale question is, “Why?”
Deni Shepard – firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. To our Hiker friends, who we welcome and wish the best for your journeys.
As you walk and see the awesome splendid vistas, the babbling creeks and mountain meadows, all the wonders of nature. What is it that draws the awestruck wonder within the heart and mind of taking in all of what you see? Who’s behind this creation we are part of? Why, or who seems to be in want of discovery?
The spirit of God, Christ calls from all creation for Him to be personally known and discovered. I hope you find what your heart seeks.