Nel's New Day

December 1, 2012

U.S. Needs to Solve Disconnect between Money, Humanity

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 3:14 PM
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Thanks to reader Pat Brown for the following blog. If anyone is interested in writing a blog for Nel’s New Day, leave me a comment.

Capitalism and making money have always been the driving forces behind the creation of the United States of America. But when money becomes the only goal and there is no humanity involved, then there’s a terrible disconnect. When providing employees with a truly livable wage becomes anti-business or socialist, then I have to ask, where did the America of our forefathers go​?

Henry Ford is often considered the father of modern industry with his introduction of the assembly line. His success has been held up as an example of what America could do that no one else in the world had been able to accomplish. He paid his workers an above-average wage. Even if his motive was to give them the money to buy one of his cars, it still triggered the beginning of America’s middle class that built this country.

Now all the progress is being undermined by rapacious greed where the workers at the core of every business are driven into bankruptcy. We see the world’s largest retail company paying its employees less than they require to even maintain a simple life style, let alone be able to dream of a future. That same company teaches employees how to apply for food stamps, in essence, making the American taxpayer subsidize its unimaginable wealth and give but a minuscule amount back.

Is it financial genius to figure out how to use the American taxpayer to feed and take care of its employees, so the company doesn’t have to? This is, in effect, another government subsidy that no one ever talks about.

The question was raised during the campaign about who built what. Romney claimed it was only the entrepreneurs who risked their money to become successful. Did they, really? Travel back a hundred and fifty years. Between the 1850s and 1860s, the federal government granted a series of subsidies to express companies, stagecoach lines, telegraph corporations, and railroads. Federal money gave the country an economic bootstrap to promote the expansion of the vast territories west of the Mississippi and bring its wealth into the new federation.

Contracts were awarded for mail service to California. Before the Panama Canal, this meant mail was first carried to the Isthmus of Panama, lugged overland, and sailed to San Francisco. It was slow and very expensive. Pressure was levied on the government to fix this—no wealthy businessman or company fronted money to do it. There was no question of anyone being asked to. The people wanted, and expected, the federal government to build and pay for all the infrastructure that would allow them go forth and conquer.

In 1856 a petition, signed by 75,000 Californians, demanded a route to the South pass. This angered the South, which thought it gave the North an unfair advantage. The end result was a proposal to improve two roads, one from Ft. Kearney through the South pass to California and another from El Paso to Ft. Yuma.

Once trails had been picked, an annual subsidy of $600,000 was given to John Butterfield and William Fargo to devise a route that would offer a mail service on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.

Government subsidies and grants made this country what it is today. People were willing to take incredible chances to have a better life. When they did it, they worked with their neighbors. The essence of humanity is to work together to create a safe world. We’ve lost that in our relentless pursuit of wealth. Employees have become nothing but cogs in a machine, to be replaced by cheaper ones when they wear out.

At the height of America’s boom, unions were strong, and wages were good. A family knew they could buy a home, a car, raise kids and know they could take care of them. Now, there’s no sense of we’re all Americans and we’re all in this together.

Is destroying the country to amass more money really a good business decision? I would hate to think that we are so morally bankrupt to say yes.

1 Comment »

  1. An addendum: Of Walmart’s 1.6 million employees, only 1.2% make a living above the poverty level. (Interesting statistics eh, must be because they pay their employees so well) That, my friends is the obscene side of pure capitalism


    Comment by gkparker — December 2, 2012 @ 11:09 PM | Reply

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