The Next US Civil War
by Rev. Paul J. Bern
(excerpt from chapter 6 of, “Occupying America: We Shall Overcome“)
We’re entering into a phase of American society that is undoubtedly going to be rather tumultuous at best, or catastrophic at its worst. There are big changes in the works that take years to materialize, but the impact of them will be nothing short of massive. I’m going to attempt to outline a few of these major developments.
The area I’m discussing here is mostly financial but the ramifications spread outside the realm of finances. We’re going to start with demographics. In America and other developed countries, we have a bit of a conundrum as aged workers enter the latter years of their life where they have had embedded expectations for some time that they will enjoy a nice retirement full of golf and cruises. The problem, of course, is that almost all that are planning to retire are broke or nearly broke.
Further weakening the situation is the fact that many of these potential retirees were planning on using their homes as a means to retire. As a housing bubble materialized in the mid 2000’s, these same people doubled down on this idea, took on more debt, and tried to hit a home run in the wealth department by leveraging up on the skyrocketing home values. We all know how that ended, and many of these folks that participated are now worse off years later as a result of a housing bust. The result is millions of people who are struggling to keep their jobs amidst a tough economic climate and who have too much mortgage debt and not enough retirement savings. Where does this go? The answer is a lower standard of living. The baby boomers will be cutting back in every area you can think of; housing, day-to-day spending, vacations, etc. Of course this same demographic has been responsible for the majority of the excess consumer spending that has fueled the American economy in recent decades, so as the massive group of people shifts from excess consumption to excess saving and cutting back, you can imagine the impact it will have on an economy that is approximately 70% consumption.
Unfortunately, most Americans just assume they will have a job because companies need warm bodies to do various tasks. Rather than work hard to improve skill sets and/or start businesses, too many Americans sit on their couches waiting for a job to come to them. This naturally leads to politicians who promise these same folks that they will provide jobs for them. The problem is that a politician can’t provide sustainable employment. As jobs continue to be unavailable for millions of Americans, there is a real problem coming our way. College graduates are idle because there are no jobs, and baby boomers are being forced to retire early with no retirement funds. The standard of living decline for the masses will likely lead to a reinforced cycle of further declines in the standard of living for their children and grandchildren.
So, what does this mean for you? The folks aware of this environment will be better off. There will always be opportunities for those of us willing to work hard and to think outside the box. Waiting around for the next Presidential candidate to “fix the economy” is a dead end and a colossal waste of time, and those who don’t take action into their own hands will be worse off with each passing year. That’s why your time to act is now, because time is running out for all of us. Let the 2nd US Civil War, or more accurately the counterattack of the 99%, begin!
Besides, it’s already obvious that the federal government is not up to the job of reorganizing our country, particularly its economy, and it won’t be anytime soon. The mistakes of the recent past are taking their toll on our government, as the priorities of wars overseas to protect US energy interests continue to siphon the lifeblood out of our country and its people, eliminating any chance of economic or professional opportunity. Oblivious to the fact that thousands of its citizens are living in public parks in protest across the land, they behave as if nothing is going on and they continue along with their bloody escapades. We have over 14 million unemployed in this country; the official unemployment rate is 8.5 percent as I write this. The actual number for unemployment for October 2011 is 16.2 percent, down from 16.5 percent from September and up from 15.9 percent in 2010. Now let’s add in all of those people still not counted; if you are discharged from the military, you’re not counted. If you graduate from college, trade school or high school and don’t have a job, you’re not counted either. So the actual number of unemployed is even higher still.
Now let’s factor in the cost of living as opposed to earnings. On average, over the past several years’ inflation has been around 3 percent annually, while wage growth has been around 1 percent. So that means workers take a 10 percent wage cut every five years. Of course, that is, if we assume that all wage growth is created equal; its not! Average weekly earning for those working in retail are down on average four dollars per week. People working in goods production saw their wages rise on average twenty dollars per week. The average for all workers is only fourteen dollars a week, against rising gas prices, rising food prices and rising utilities prices. If your take-home pay is not enough to live on, or just barely covers the most basic of necessities with nothing left over, you are a slave, entrapped by the oppressive culture of corporate America and the US military/industrial/prison complex. It’s time for us to break out of the economic prison we are all locked into.