The US: The Promised Land of Socialism for a Few and Capitalism for the Many!

Photo: HISTORY.com

“ONE of the great myths Americans have about their country is that everyone wants to come here. Advocates and enemies of immigration share this assumption, which dates at least as far back as the turn of the 20th century. As reports of “American fever” circulated in Eastern Europe, one Polish economist, Leopold Caro, claimed that entire villages were becoming ghost towns. “Many houses stood empty, and in many others only old women and small children remained behind. In some villages the entire young generation left home.”

“Everyone,” he concluded, “believed that America was the Promised Land, a true paradise.”-Tara Zahra, ‘America, the Not So Promised Land’, The New York Times, 14 November 2015

The misery and inhumanity of inequality in the land of billionaires and  ‘exceptionality’

‘The US has the most billionaires in the world – but here's what it doesn't have.’*

This was the heading of an article in today’s (2 July 2020) Guardian that caught my eye and imagination, which I very much want to reflect more upon and share with you. 

‘It’s official: America has the most billionaires in the world, for yet another year. The US increased its share of billionaires by 12% in 2019 according to a report by Wealth-X, which annually takes stock on the world’s mega-rich.’ More on this later.

But, first, a bit of Nota bene is Called For!

Debunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism

Photo: HuffPost

‘Over the last two centuries, prominent Americans have described the United States as an "empire of liberty," a "shining city on a hill," the "last best hope of Earth," the "leader of the free world," and the "indispensable nation." These enduring tropes explain why all presidential candidates feel compelled to offer ritualistic paeans to America’s greatness... Most statements of "American exceptionalism" presume that America’s values, political system, and history are unique and worthy of universal admiration. They also imply that the United States is both destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage.

The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America’s global role is that it is mostly a myth. Although the United States possesses certain unique qualities — from high levels of religiosity to a political culture that privileges individual freedom — the conduct of U.S. foreign policy has been determined primarily by its relative power and by the inherently competitive nature of international politics. By focusing on their supposedly exceptional qualities, Americans blind themselves to the ways that they are a lot like everyone else.

This unchallenged faith in American exceptionalism makes it harder for Americans to understand why others are less enthusiastic about U.S. dominance, often alarmed by U.S. policies, and frequently irritated by what they see as U.S. hypocrisy, whether the subject is possession of nuclear weapons, conformity with international law, or America’s tendency to condemn the conduct of others while ignoring its own failings. Ironically, U.S. foreign policy would probably be more effective if Americans were less convinced of their own unique virtues and less eager to proclaim them.

What we need, in short, is a more realistic and critical assessment of America’s true character and contributions. In that spirit, I offer here the Top 5 Myths about American Exceptionalism…’- Continue to read  See also: Debunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism

Two Malnourished Victims of American Exceptionalism

’Guess which child is a well-fed, proud-to-be-an-American boy, whose parents (and culture) may think that he has a God-given right to more food than he deserves or needs, and who may never have seen the reality – nor understood the sources – of human suffering and starvation. These otherwise good people are likely to be oblivious to the suffering of the millions of non-American, non-white, non-Christian, homeless, hungry and war-ravaged refugees, because those stories are never shown on the nightly news. Making the connections will not be good for the Myth…’- Gary G. Kohls, MD, TRANSCEND Media Service - Photo: TRANSCEND International

...And now reverting back to the article I had mentioned above:

‘The US has the most billionaires in the world – but here's what it doesn't have.’

‘The market may be down, but these real estate executives are doing just fine.’

From left: Stephen Ross, Jonathan Gray, Sheldon Solow, John Catsimatidis, Charles Cohen and Donald Trump. Photo: Via The Real Deal

‘It’s official: America has the most billionaires in the world, for yet another year. The US increased its share of billionaires by 12% in 2019 according to a report by Wealth-X, which annually takes stock on the world’s mega-rich.

But while US billionaires are waiting to find out whether Kim “I have 14 Freesian [sic] horses” Kardashian West will join their ranks this year, the rest of us have more important questions on our minds, such as: has any of this wealth trickled down yet?

The answer is no. One in eight Americans still live below the poverty line, and 40% are one paycheque away from destitution. In fact, there are a lot of basic services that other similarly wealthy countries provide as a minimum that just aren’t given to Americans.

Free college tuition

In the US, if you want to be college-educated, you have to be rich – or willing to take on a huge amount of personal debt. College tuition fees range from around $10,000–$40,000 a year depending on whether they are state or private, with education at the country’s top institutions usually charging over $50,000.

By comparison, in much of the rest of the developed world, college tuition is either free or affordable. In places like Germany, Poland and Sweden, tuition is even free for citizens. In Norway, college education is also free for international students and in Denmark, students are paid to go to college.

It’s not just Europe: college tuition fees are also a fraction of the price in countries across the world, from Mexico to Australia to New Zealand. In fact, according to an OECD report from 2017, the US has the highest tuition fees of any country in the world.

Photo:YouTube

Paid vacation

In the absence of a national paid leave policy, it is up to companies to provide paid leave to its employees. That means that almost one in four Americans go without a vacation every year. It is worth noting that the US is the only wealthy economy in the world without a paid vacation policy

Paid parental leave and daycare

In countries around the world, parents are entitled to take time off after having a child. Across Europe, paid parental leave is the norm. In New Zealand, paid parental leave lasts 26 weeks. In the UK, parents get 37 weeks of paid leave and can opt to take a further 13 weeks of unpaid leave after that.

Paid leave varies greatly from country to country: in some places, parents receive the equivalent of their full salary while on parental leave; in others, a flat rate is provided that varies from a few hundred dollars a month to more than $1,000, and sometimes the rate changes over time. But most aren’t dependent on their employer (or family wealth) to get by if they have a baby.

Billionaires and their partners enjoying some brilliant time together!

Jeffrey Epstein and his partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, with Donald and Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 2000.- Photo: Vox

Meanwhile, in the US, there is no national policy of paid parental leave. The only states with an active parental leave policy are California, New Jersey and Rhode Island. American parents are entitled to 12 weeks’ unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (although many parents don’t qualify for this).

And when parents go back to work, putting a child in full-time daycare can cost up to tens of thousands a year.

Universal healthcare coverage

Americans live shorter lives than people in other similarly wealthy countries. Meanwhile, the US spends nearly twice as much on healthcare as the average OECD country – but with the lowest life expectancy and highest suicide rates among the 11 nations, it’s not clear where that money is going.

Year after year, while the US continues to spend the most on healthcare in comparison to high-income countries, it continuously ranks last when it comes to measures such as healthcare quality, accessibility and equity.

An inhospitable climate for billionaires

Obviously the US is a place where billionaires can thrive, meanwhile a number of countries manage to get by with just a handful of billionaires. Finland, the happiest country in the world, has just six billionaires. Japan, the country with the second-longest lifespan in the world and the third-highest GDP, has just 26 billionaires. The UK, which is by no means the most egalitarian country in the world, has a paltry 45 billionaires. All three still manage to provide free healthcare.’- *This article by Poppy Noor was first published in the Guardian on 2 July 2020.

A Virtual Dialogue and Conversation with Mr. Trump, the Billionaire President 

Dear President Trump,

Sometimes, the truth slips out. At a recent rally in Cedar Rapids you got to free-associating about the members of your cabinet who had come along for the trip with you. You mentioned Gary Cohn and Wilbur Ross, two of the Wall Street bigwigs who were recruited to run your National Economic Council and Commerce Department, respectively. You praised their great business minds, but more importantly, you bragged about how rich they are. And in the process, you went on to say that: "And I love all people, rich or poor,"  "but in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person. Does that make sense?" 

Answering your question, I must, quite frankly, say that: No, Mr. Trump, it does not make sense to me!! 

Mr. President: We are not what we earn, otherwise, you, Gary Cohn, Wilbur Ross, the rest of the billionaires in your cabinet, all present in the US, well before you came to be the president and them, joining your cabinet, would had made America Great already, and thus, no need for you and them to come along trying to make America Great Again! Does that make sense?- Mr Trump, we are not what we earn!

And now, Mr. Trump, honestly speaking, let us not fake it this time around:

Is this the way to make America great again?

Photo:usnews.com

...And finally, Mr. Trump the fundamental question at this moment is: can the United States be reformed?

The answer to my mind is an emphatic NO, unless the following is understood and addressed accordingly:

To reverse this destructive path we need a different model of education and we need a different economic value and economy. However, these are not possible to achieve so long as  The Fraudulent Ideology reins supreme. Full stop. Carpe Diem!

Why Love, Trust, Respect and Gratitude Trumps Economics

See also:

"Sharing the Wisdom, Shaping the Dream:

Reclaiming the Moral and Spiritual Roots of Economics and Capitalism"

Money, Meaningful Life, Self-worth, Wisdom and HappinessBy The Reverend Canon Dr. Vincent Strudwick

And

Wisdom and the Well-Rounded Life: What Is a University?

By Prof. Fr. Peter Milward

Only idiot fools ignore lessons from history

Another Billionaire Found Dead- Suicide

Photo:The Independent

Billionaires Everywhere! See Below and Wisen Up!

"In 1923, a very important meeting was held at Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. 

Chicago's Legendary 'Edgewater Beach Hotel', completed in 1924 and demolished in 1970 due to bankruptcy.

Postcard of Edgewater Beach Hotel.-Photo: Wikipedia

Attending this meeting was nine of the world’s most ‘successful’ financiers and businessmen. Those present  were: the President  of the largest independent steel company;  the President  of the  largest  utility  company;  the  President  of the  largest gas company;  the greatest  wheat  speculator; the President  of the New York Stock Exchange;  a member  of the President’s  cabinet; the greatest ‘bear’ in Wall Street; the head of the world’s greatest monopoly; and the President  of the Bank of International Settlement. This, we must admit, was a gathering of some of the world’s most successful men – or at least men who had found the secret of making money.  Twenty-five years later (1948) let us see what had happened to these men:  

the  President  of  the  largest  independent   steel  company   had  died,   bankrupt,  having  lived  on borrowed money for five years before  his death;  the President  of the  largest  utility  company   had  died  a  fugitive  from   justice, penniless  in a foreign  land;  the President  of the largest gas company was insane; the greatest wheat speculator  had died abroad  – insolvent;  the  President  of  the  New  York  Stock  Exchange  had recently  been  released  from  Sing Sing penitentiary; the  member of the President’s cabinet had been pardoned from prison  so that he could  die at home;  the greatest  ‘bear’ in Wall Street had died– a suicide;  the head  of the world’s greatest  monopoly  had died– a suicide; the President  of the Bank of International Settlement had died – a suicide

All these men learned well the art of making money but none of them learned how to live, commented the original compiler of this list. It seems that the business world (who should know better, given what was described above) has changed not one iota. For them economic growth, the corporate bottom line and the pursuit of self-interest are what matters most. More recent observations also show that the self-interested pursuit of wealth brings only misery. Since 1950  there  has been much economic  growth and  wealth  creation  in the  West,  but  also a tenfold  increase  in the incidence  of depression  and a massive rise in the number  of people  suffering  from  sub-clinical  neuroses,  anxiety  and  profound  self-dissatisfaction, drugs and alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide, and more…”- What a powerful and telling story! A lesson to all those who think that what matters most is money and money and loads of it!

And Now Meet the Architects of the Global Pandemics of Misery, Inequality, Inhumanity, Racism, Xenophobia and more:

Death and Destruction on Brothers’ Road to Serfdom

The World brought down to its knees: The Fallacy of Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and their disciples

The Destruction of our World and the lies of Milton Friedman

People’s Tragedy: Neoliberal Legacy of Thatcher and Reagan

Neoliberalism and the rise in global loneliness, depression and suicide

Why are people in the US living shorter lives?

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