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ConserveI want to warn you up front here that I am putting on my “green” hat now. I don’t mention the fact that I am green often on this blog but it is yet another thing that I have at least a degree of passion for. I try to do my part in energy conservation. One part of that is to daily follow my wife around the house and turn off the lights she constantly leaves on. ūüôā ¬†But another more serious part is preaching to anyone who will listen about our dependence on fossil fuels and how it is hurting the earth.

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Middle class 1Having grown up in the 1950s and 60s I am very much entrenched in the idea of a middle class society. That is where the average working person got a share of the prosperity of the times. But in looking back at history it now seems apparent to me that the “middle class”, at least as we knew it then ¬†probably an anomaly of our times.

The middle class is a result of the Ford model for the economy. That is where the workers are paid a living wage and they would then build a community where they could afford to buy the products they make. We have much to thank Henry Ford for those times. Ford came upon the scenes shortly after the age of the “Robber Barrons”. The barons were Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carniege, JP Morgan, and Fisk. ¬†These guys were mostly consumed by their desire for wealth and ruthlessly destroying their competition. They had little respect for the workers they employed. ¬†They were a mere tool for their greed for ever increasing wealth. Their employees generally worked six to seven days a week for twelve hours a day. They often got a little than a dollar a day. If you got sick you lost your job. If you died because of an industrial accident your family was pretty much on their own. We learned that this is what you get with unbridled capitalism.

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BoomerOk, I am getting on my soapbox now so be forewarned, especially all you youngsters out there. I have already put on my flame proof clothes so flame away…

I know the trend nowadays is to blame us Baby Boomers for all the troubles in the country. They say we sucked all the money out of the economy but I as usual look at it from a different perspective:

  • We created a strong middle class where average workers earned enough to buy the products they made. You allowed the politicians and CEOs to ship all those jobs to cheaper foreign labor on the idea that you could buy things a little cheaper. You didn’t have the foresight to see that one day your job would also be taken from you.¬†

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criticI am sometimes accused of criticizing too much on this blog. Some seem to think that if we were all just more positive as a society good things would then happen. Being a history buff I know that is not the case. Sorry if you disagree but that is my current line in the sand so to speak. Criticizing things is just about the only way to affect change in our society and if we need anything in today’s gridlocked world it is a change. Until enough people are critical of things nothing changes.

Yes, we could like the German citizenry did during World War II, ignore the problems around us and say every thing is fine and dandy. We could ignore all the unemployed and underemployed workers the same way they ignored all the millions of people who disappeared from their streets. ¬†We could ignore the horrendously increasing cost of medical care in this country and how so many were locked out of the old system the same way they ignored the stench coming from some of their smokestacks. Let’s face it ignoring problems don’t make them disappear; if only that were a solution wouldn’t life be easy.

I do try to celebrate many things in today’s world. Not everything needs criticism.

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Lone RangerThe number two Republican in the House of Representatives almost tanked the recent compromise on making some tax breaks for the middle class permanent. The reason, he says it does not solve all our fiscal problems. Mr. Cantor seems to think that every bill that goes through the House must be the be-all and end-all for the problems being addressed. Particularly those involving our safety net. He must think every problem has a silver bullet.