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The United States Economy and Economic Slavery 2013

Updated on October 8, 2013

An Overview

Ask anyone on the street if slavery exists and they will most likely say yes, yes it does, in those countries over there…you know, over there! They will shake their heads in sadness and indignation, and say all the right words, how terrible it is for someone to own and control another person. Sad indeed!

Ask anyone on the street if sexual slavery exists and most will likely say yes, yes it does, in those countries over there….you know, over there! And some will even know that sexual slavery happens in the United States. They will shake their heads in sadness and indignation, and say all the right words, how terrible it is for someone to own and control another person. Sad indeed!

Ask anyone on the street if they are a slave and they will take a step back, look at you as though you had lost your mind, and shake their heads and say no, not me, I’m a free person and I always have been free. What’s the matter with you bro? You ain’t makin’ no sense! How could I live in the United States and be a slave?

And yet they are!

Slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States | Source

Definition of Slavery

Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? What is the definition of slavery? According to our old pal Webster:

: drudgery, toil; : submission to a dominating influence; : the state of a person who is a chattel of another.

I would like you to take a minute and think about that definition, and then think about the state of the economy in the United States. Don’t just think of the current economic index, and don’t just think about the unemployment figures, but also think about the general structure of our economy, from top to bottom.

Economic Realities

The United States is now the fifth worst in the world regarding distribution of wealth among its citizens. The top 1% of its citizens own 40% of the privately held wealth in the U.S., and the next 19% have 50%. In other words, 20% of the population owns 90% of the private wealth, leaving ten percent of the wealth for the bottom 80%.

Who are these elite who hold the purse strings of the United States?

The Top Ten

Entrepeneur
Net Worth
Home Town
Bill Gates
$59 billion
Medina, Washington
Warren Buffett
$39 billion
Omaha, Nebraska
Larry Ellison
$33 billion
Woodside, California
Charles Koch
$25 billion
Wichita, Kansas
David Koch
$25 billion
New York, New York
Christy Walton
$24 billion
Jackson, Wyoming
George Soros
$22 billion
Katonah, New York
Sheldon Adelson
$21 billion
Las Vegas, Nevada
Jim Walton
$21 billion
Bentonville, Arkansas
Alice Walton
$21 billion
Fort Worth, Texas

Richest Companies in the World

According to Forbes, in 2011 the ten richest companies in the world were:

The Top Ten 2011 Figures

Corporation
Net Worth
Nature of Business
Walmart
$421 billion
retail
Exxon Mobile
$370 billion
gas and oil
Shell
$368 billion
gas and oil
bP
$297 billion
gas and oil
Sinopec
$289 billion
gas and oil
Toyota
$241 billion
automotive manufact
Petro China
$229 billion
gas and oil
Total
$212 billion
gas and oil
Chevron
$204 billion
gas and oil
JP Holdings
$200 billion
investments
Bill Gates should be smiling
Bill Gates should be smiling | Source
There once was a time.......
There once was a time....... | Source

The Decline of Unions

The topic of unions is a galvanizing one in the United States; whatever your opinion of unions, the fact is that they are declining rapidly in this country. The latest figures show that just over 11% of citizens belong to a union, and in the private sector the percentage has dropped to just over 7%, the lowest level since the 1930’s.

The reason for the decline? Quite simply, with a decline in jobs and the amount of outsourcing to other nations, U.S. citizens are scrambling so ferociously for jobs that they will accept lower pay and undercut a union worker. We are, in fact, defeating ourselves. There was a day in America when nobody would consider crossing a picket line; workers stood united against the businesses to insure that a decent wage was paid and benefits were offered. Those days are gone! There is no united front among laborers in today’s economy; we are, in fact, seeing Darwinism at its most basic level, and only the strong will survive.

Unemployment and the Price Index

Yes, unemployment is declining slowly, but upon second look it should be noted that in many cases, someone who has been unemployed and then finds new employment is trading down in job pay. In other words, a worker laid-off from a $60,000 per year job who finds a new job two years later, is not finding a job that pays $60,000, but in many cases a job that pays significantly less.

Middle-management types are now applying for jobs delivering pizza; yes, they are employed, and the unemployment figures improve, but the newly hired worker has a boat-load of problems even with the new job. Why? Because Americans spent at a higher level prior to the recession of 2007, and that spending was all too often financed with a down payment and monthly payments. Those monthly payments are still due but the income has shrunk! Bad recipe for success!

Meanwhile, the price index rises on all fronts. Consumer goods, real estate, you name it, the price index is on the rise, so that the buying power of the average citizen is much less than it was ten years ago.

Where the lobbyists ply their trade
Where the lobbyists ply their trade | Source

The Lobbyists

“Members of Congress should be compelled to wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers, so we could identify their corporate sponsors.”~Caroline Baum

Do you think your government is concerned about the average American? Do you think your representatives are in there fighting for the little guy? Consider the table below, the latest on lobbyist spending at the Federal level.

This crosses all boundaries of political parties. This is not a Democratic gig, nor is it a Republican gig. Spending by lobbyists advancing their political agendas happens every single day in the political arena, and the biggest spender wins. Looking at the chart, who do you suppose is winning?

The Top Eleven 1998-2010

Clients
Amount
% of Total
Financial, Insurance, Real Est.
$4,274,060,331
15%
Health Companies
$4,222,427,808
15%
Misc. Businesses
$4,149,842,571
14%
Commerce, Electrical
$3,497,881,399
12%
Energy, Natural Resources
$3,104,104,518
11%
Transportation
$2,245,118,222
8%
Other
$2,207,772,363
7%
Ideological, Single Issues
$1,477,294,241
5%
Agribusiness
$1,280,824,983
4%
Defense
$1,216,469,173
4%
Labor
$427,355,408
1%
Yes indeed!
Yes indeed! | Source
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose | Source

And What Would the Point Be?

First, let me say that this is not a political article, nor is it a big-business bashing. I have nothing against capitalism as long as the capitalists play fair. If the special corporation tax deductions were eliminated and lobbyists were not allowed to influence politicians, I would be a happy camper. If corporations cared about the United States worker then I would be a happy camper. If jobs were not outsourced in the name of profit I would be a happy camper, and if our government cared as much for the citizens of this country as it cares for foreign investors, I would be a happy camper.

On the flip side, the American consumer/worker must shoulder much of the blame. We did not learn from the years prior to the Great Depression. As a populace we have continued to purchase on credit, continued to extend ourselves to dangerous levels of over-spending, and then we cry foul when the economy goes down the toilet because we can’t pay our inflated expenses that we only have ourselves to blame for.

Are average Americans economic slaves? Do we submit to a dominating influence? You bet we do, and the dominating influence is big business. Are we the chattel of another? If not, what would you call it? The economy is completely out of our hands. Decisions are made daily by corporations, banks, and politicians that directly affect and control our lives, and those decisions are completely out of our hands. We supply the labor and we are thrown crumbs for our efforts. We are, in effect, bought and paid for, resting between a rock and a hard place, and the American Dream is a fairy tale.

There is still time to salvage some dignity and step out of the slaves’ quarters. More and more people are recognizing a losing battle for what it is, and divorcing themselves from the rat race. More and more people are practicing responsible spending and embracing frugality. More and more people are looking at the economic landscape and saying ENOUGH!

Are we slaves of the economic and political system? Most definitely, but it does not need to be so! The choice is yours! Hard times call for hard decisions, and those times are now! Blaming Chase, Chevron and Exxon for our problems is ludicrous. They are just big businesses doing what big businesses do! Blaming the Republicans or the Democrats is ludicrous; they are just politicians doing what politicians do!

Instead of blaming, do something! Instead of living the illusion of freedom, live free! Instead of being an economic slave, be a master of your own world. The choice is yours and yours alone!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Time for a poll!

So, do you think the average American is a slave to the system?

See results

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    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I came out of the Economic Slave/rat race when I turned from teaching to writing, and it's done me good! I'm happier now, and find that I can attain financial freedom in other ways, on my own terms. Thanks for the reminder!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, you are a very fast reader! Thank you and I'm so happy you saw the wisdom and made that choice!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Most interesting hub. The question is will get more of the same with either Democrat or Republican president? Many of us are aware the country is suffering, but many more have not a clue what is going on and often do not care. Outsourcing and hands out for stuff are two of many problems. You pointed out a lot of REAL facts that cannot be overlooked. Hiding our heads in the sand is no longer going to work. So what is the solution??? Great hub and voting up and sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I doubt it makes any difference who wins the election; we are talking a small difference in the size of crumbs handed out to the middle class. What is the solution? That's up to each individual. I have found it in living simple and divorcing myself from this can't-win situation. My destiny is in my hands and that's the way I like it.

      Thank you Carol and have a great weekend.

    • shruti sheshadri profile image

      shruti sheshadri 4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      i agree bill! This scenario prevails throughout the world! the rich just keep getting richer and the poor suffer! There is so much of wealth accumulated that they can feed many countries for years. But sadly, it takes many minds to realize the circumstances and evoke a change. A change in our mindset is need, collectively. Until then, we remain slaves of our system, our hands are tied.

      A brilliant note. Voted up :)

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Oh, yes, Bill, I am a slave. I believed the principles of America; work hard and you can succeed. On May 20, 2010, all that I believed in fell apart when I was laid off, not due to laziness or carelessness, but due to the economic downturn of this nation. I had just received a fantastic annual review 2-weeks prior to my layoff, which hit me like the surprise of a bomb thrown in my lap. Now, still unemployed, I live day to day, hoping, and trying to hang on. The reality is if I didn't have hope, I would be one more suicide, like the recently found desperate young mother who took the lives of her 3 children along with her own. The mountain was too hard for her to continue to try to climb alone. No excuses, no blame, it is the reality of those living without hope. Crime has risen, because of hopelessness. The answers? I can see that even the leaders we elect are floundering, up shit creek without a paddle. Part of Obama's speech at the recent convention, hoping for re-election, included verbiage to the effect that it is a matter of experimenting, trying this and then that, to find what works. Oh, yes, Bill, we are all slaves or the vote wouldn't matter. Every American knows that their lives are impacted by the rules and laws and direction our leader impliments. So, I keep trying and will continue, using my own ingenuity to live within my own principles. That is freedom to me.

      Very stirring piece, Bill, that should be important to every human being alive today.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      A great job really putting the economic situation is perspective so people can really face the reality. I have two friends that had to downsize and am living more simply and it is even worse elsewhere. The majority of the wealth is definitely in the hands of the few more so than ever. Thanks for showing us that we don't have to be helpless.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shruti! I have had it with this situation. I have put myself in a situation where I can't be hurt no matter which policies are enacted, but millions upon millions are in a position to be hurt with each new governmental decision. Our leaders are shameless and are lacking in compassion. Tax cuts to save corporations billions? How rich does a company or business owner have to be? When is enough enough?

      Thank you my young friend; you are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy, that is why I write these pieces, for those who have given up hope. I have put myself in a situation where I can't be hurt by the economy or decisions of our leaders, but so many cannot do that and suicide is an option for them, and I find that sad. I was greatly disappointed in Obama's speech; he had a chance to declare a new day, to stir the masses, to reach out a hand of hope....instead, his speech floundered just like the economy.

      I respect you greatly my dear; sending you strength and hope this Saturday.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Healthy, that is the route I have taken, to live simply so that the economy cannot affect me. It seems the only solution to me. Thank you for your comment, which I agree with completely.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Bill thanks for writing this hub. Will enlighten so many of us. Our direction gets clearer by the day. Your sound article will help so many, who don't know where to turn. At my company Banks want their profitting return quarterly. They do not care about how it would happen, but they want their money. They would be ashamed if George Washington or Thomas Jefferson could be able to read their financial tally sheets, or their state of the Union. Thanks for the thoughtful hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joseph, most of our founding fathers would not even recognize this country if they were alive today....they would certainly be ashamed of the direction it has taken. It is up to us to change since our leaders seem incapable of it.

      Thank you buddy and have a great weekend with that family of yours.

    • sweethearts2 profile image

      sweethearts2 4 years ago from Northwest Indiana

      As usual your writing stirs a lot of emotions and makes sense of some of the complexites that surround us. Our complicity works against us thanks for reminding us that "our destiny is in our hands" that sets us free and brings us hope and happiness. Great hub

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sweethearts, thank you! There is hope...there is always hope....but we have to be the instruments of that hope. I appreciate you stopping by; have a wonderful weekend in America's Heartland!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thoughtful reading so early in the morning for me!

      I love how you said that we are defeating ourselves. It is true. Most families have an average of $11,000 in credit card debt (last time I checked a few months ago). That alone is pathetic. Americans want what they can't have and are willing to pay horrific interest rates so they can appear to have more. All that keeps a person down. We must learn to live within our means to get ahead. America is not getting ahead at all right now.

      I feel like a slave every single day! But my owner is real nice:) LOL

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Bill, this piece should be on the front page of every newspaper in America. It is not only insightful, but well researched. So many go through the motions of day to day living, never realizing that slavery is more than being bound by shackles and chains. Incredible writing from a perspective of one who has awakened. Kudos! Shared, voted up, and awesome!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      You gave me a blog idea. And I'm with you 100%: FRUGALITY AND SIMPLICITY RULES! As for the 1%, and the 20%? I wonder about their souls. It's okay to make money. It's NOT okay to exploit people under ANY circumstances. I know it's not all black and white, but what's going on in this country is ridiculous. Lobbying needs to get outlawed. We need an 80% revolution. NOW. Hublove and hugs to you, Big Bro.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill...This is an excellent article. Your research is impeccable and points to a situation all Americans should face.

      I recall when the senior Walton who founded WalMart was alive and very much in control. At that time large placards in every WalMart store proclaimed, "WE BUY AMERICAN!" That changed when the power moved into others' hands.

      Sam Walton's heirs (included in your list of the wealthiest Americans) don't care if the inferior and often unsafe Chinese imports that stock WalMart shelves these days hurt Americans or not, as long as their wealth continues to grow. That is obscene, in my viewpoint. It's why I've boycotted WalMart for years, and will continue to do so. I do without a lot of things I cannot afford, but would rather not have "things" than buy cheap goods imported from China and other Asian countries or Mexico when manufacturing in this country is all but non-existent and so many people who want to work are out of jobs.

      I'm so disgusted with hearing and reading the opinion that Americans who aren't working just want a handout. That generalization is, for the most part, untrue. I've heard many, many people--including the young who should be entering the workplace but can't find work--talking about the brutal competition for even the lowest paid jobs. Too many jobs (and not just manufacturing) have been "off-shored" so greedy corporations can avoid paying for employee benefits and livable wages.

      Amy's experience is all too familiar, and the sacred "bottom line" is the only value in corporate America regardless of the human casualties.

      Sorry I got a bit worked up, but this topic does that to me!

      Voted Up+++

      Jaye

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelly, your last line was priceless! You did make an excellent point: I am not against spending, but spending when you don't have it, to buy on credit, is lunacy in today's economic climate. We are just feeding into a can't win situation every single time we do that. Thanks for doing some thoughtful reading this morning my friend.

    • profile image

      Garifalia 4 years ago

      How perfectly expressed and well phrased. While reading the overview it felt as though I was hearing my thoughts; the thoughts I was having a few months ago about my country of residence (Greece). Excellent Hub! BUT DEAREST WILLIAM, do what? In Greece we protest, they set the right wing fascists on us [they're the ones always instigating riots, burning up places and ravaging]. We go on strike, the media crucify us for creating a negative climate and conditions for tourists. We vote for those who speak a bit of sense before the elections, after the elections they go back to old habits. Please make a suggestion.

      I voted Awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Irc, thank you so much, and I appreciate the sharing. I'm just trying to wake a few people up....rattle some cages....what the American public is doing is feeding the beast that is devouring them. Change has to happen at home first, because we can't count on anyone else making meaningful change to help us.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, no, it's not all black and white, but fairness is, and there is nothing fair about this economic system. As for simplicity, I have put myself in a position where the economy can't touch me, and I know you are working in that same direction. It's the only sane thing to do! Thanks lil' Sis and good luck with that blog!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      By the way, I note that I assigned the trait of "greed" to corporations, once thought to be entities not capable of human traits (though their CEOs and other executives certainly are). However, with the Supreme Court's ruling that corporations are akin to "individuals", I think that makes human traits such as greed part of the package, don't you?

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      Thank you for expressing so well what many of us are thinking but are hesitant to voice. The system is broken from a human perspective but functioning nicely from a corporate one. We are indentured from birth and the seal is fixed upon graduation from school with massive student loans. If I sound like I am bashing capitalism, I'm not. I'm bashing feudalism because that is what our system has become. We sell the precious moments of our lives to companies in exchange for paper (or digital) numbers because we have been told this is the way the world works. This in itself is problematic enough with the frustration and violence it breeds when basic needs can't be met but it's the massive greed that fuels the corporate machines that worry me more. This affects our entire planet. Why are we building more ethanol plants when the corn harvest, already in jeopardy from the extreme drought, is not even enough to feed us? Oh, I could add to that but then I'd need several soapboxes and I've ranted enough on your page already. The entire system is a sham and a shame. Thank you for stepping out of the box and pointing out the elephant in our midst (no reference to political parties intended).

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, I want people worked up! The American public complains but then feeds into the system that keeps holding them down by the collar. I have never shopped at Walmart and I refuse to; I have never shopped at Starbucks and I refuse to. If we do not buy American products then we only have ourselves to blame for what is happening. This country has the ability to be practically self-sufficient and not rely on the rest of the world, but until the American people demand a change through their buying habits, nothing will change.

      Thank you for getting worked up and caring!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Garifalia, my suggestion is the one I follow...I have basically divorced myself from the economic system. I have become self-sufficient. I only buy that which I must have; I do not work for anyone. I only buy goods produced in this country. I do not own a car, television, or other trappings of life. Whatever the government decides to do, it affects me very little. It is the only solution for me; change on a national scale will never happen until the consumers of the world demand it in their actions. I love revolutions, but they require longevity the kind of which we have not seen in the world in fifty years. I am not optimistic for society, but I am optimistic about my little world, and that's because I took steps to make myself immune from the national dealings. :)

      Thank you for caring and for leaving a very thought-provoking comment.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Very interesting article and spot on--I think capitalism is not about fairness in any way, shape or form--it is about the haves and the have-nots. When we move to a place of caring for people we are moving toward the positive aspects of socialism. So you may not have intended this to be a political article, but in truth, I think it is one. Bravo!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, I most certainly do! How much money does a corporation need? How much money do the Walton's need? What happened to responsibility on a national level? I have had it with corporations and their tax cuts and the support of other nations through our imports.....basically I have just had it! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Silver, great comment. It's funny because I almost added that we are in a modern feudal system, because that's exactly what I am reminded of....the MIddle Ages are alive and well in 2012, and amazingly, most of society does not see it. They complain, they moan about their status in life, but they don't see that they are part of the problem.

      I no longer believe in the college system and the need for it, and that is a complete about-face for me. Going on to college to get a B.A. is a worthless endeavor as far as I am concerned, and it just perpetuates the system, and God knows the system does not need any more help. :)

      Thank you for adding to the discussion with some excellent points.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, one cannot escape the political nature in an article like this. Socialism? How dare you! :) Don't you know that word is taboo in this country? I have always wondered why people shudder when they hear that word....it is, by definition, exactly what is needed in this country. Not that I'll ever see it in my lifetime.

      Thank you my friend; have a wonderful weekend in California!

    • nenytridiana profile image

      nenytridiana 4 years ago from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia

      50% of voter said that we are slaves. Your hub has attracted so many readers. Great work billybuc!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Wow!.. That was an awesome hub with many ugly home-truths in it.

      You have done us all a favour by printing this hub. Too often we all just carry on from day to day without considering what is really happening under our very noses.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Neny, thank you! I hope this article brings more awareness.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dim, it's the only system any of us have known, so it's only natural that we don't question the system...it's always worked in the past, right? :) Thank you so much and I hope you have a great weekend.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, just got back from a long morning of dance classes for the girls and grocery shopping too. As for the message of your article, I have to agree about the state of affairs in this country. I also agree about unemployment rates slowly declining, but as you said either the person on unemployment got a lower paying job or unemployment just simply ran out (that happened to me), but as for finding employment that paid what you made before losing said job that seems to be nearly impossible. I can relate to your article on so many different levels and thank you for caring enough to write about this timely subject. I have of course voted, shared and tweeted too!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, the unemployment figures are a farce; they only paint part of the economic picture, and that's what I'm trying to point out and that is what you so wisely noted in your comment.

      I hope dance classes were enjoyable. You are greatly appreciated my friend!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Every four years (two years and six years) we get to go to our nearby fire station, church, school or community center and overthrow our government. I agree with this hub, but I'm not giving up without a fight. Pay attention America. Educate yourself. And vote and keep on voting until the powers that be feel the fire their feet are being held to.

      Great job friend. APPLAUSE

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, don't even get me started on lobbyists!!! And the agenda being pure greed. And forgive me Lord, if I am judging. The powers at be really need to start looking at what we, the Americans, want for change, and not to get their pocketbooks filled with money from lobbyists and their agendas. I know that some, to use that term lightly, have good intentions, but very few are really concerned about the welfare of many, including our Veterans, who serveed our country, and are now on the streets of America walking around homeless, or the large percentage of children wandering the streets, who fall prey to every type of evil. I just believe that in America, OF ALL PLACES, no one should go hungry, and why not even, in the whole world, not one person should go hungry, for there is so much waste in this world. There are a lot of great causes of people who are striving to end hunger in the world, but the powers at be are the oneS who need to step up to the plate and listen to what we the people are saying, not they the lobbyistS. Excellent write. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen, thank you my friend. No, I'm not giving up, but I am trying to educate. Change can happen, but we as a people need to make the change happen; we can't rely on others to do it for us.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, we were warned by our founders about greed and financial influence in the government, and yet we ignored the warnings. As long as money and politics mix, the little guy does not stand a chance. I think it is inexcusable in this country that poverty exists. We have it in our power to lower unemployment to 2 or 3%, and to end poverty in this country....and yet our leaders are too busy with filling their pockets. I am disgusted and I will keep writing about it, in hopes of waking up the masses.

      Thank you my dear; sending you warm wishes on this weekend.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Many types of slavery exist, and economic slavery is definitely one of the big ones. My husband belonged to the Teamster's union when we lived in the States and although unions are controversial, I must say that they helped the workers get a fair wage. The theme of one of your series, living simply, is a way to fight the system. You really are a great writer, Billybuc, and I enjoyed this hub. Voted up and shared!

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Incredible hub... worthy of reading and keeping for future use, for it's accuracy, and well sought out information... incredibly well done!!!

      Laurinzo

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Phenominal article, billy! I have felt this way for years. I will hold Big Oil and such responsible to some degree, however. Through their futures programs on Wall Street, they artificially hold up the price of oil and gas high through their buying and selling the possibilities of oil. Let it ride, and see where it lands and make money the old fashion way: earn it! I was another who lost my job even though I was outperforming the curve. I worked for a school district, running transportation. Inside of three years, I improved the efficiency by 18%; increased reimbursement from $330K to over $900k; and completely reinvented the transportation department for the district. Then came the bloodbath: 10% of the work force let go in one day. As I was the junior member of the team, I was let go. I ended up taking a job at more than a 25% reduction in pay, as it was the only job available. I have since gone back into the school transportation, in another town, and have brought my talents to a district that is welcoming them with open arms. I am still not making what I was, but we have cut back on spending, and we are making it. But there is no cushion: no ability to set money back against a rainy day. We have two children in college; two in high school, and our youngest is in third grade. Everything costs more. We survive, but most of the time we do not live. My wife and I count our daily walks with our dog as a date. That is the fate of Middle America: survive, just; or spend and live, and fail in the near future.

      As to the Union issue, if we banded together and held the companies accountable for higher wages, they would either A: pass the cost along to the consumer, or B: outsource to another country, paying pennies on the dollar for a workforce. I believe that if a company outsources their workforce, they should pay a significantly higher penalty in the tax portion of their company. Say, maybe a 50% more tax? They do not have the right to break America's back for the sake of higher profits. Some are not even responsible for themselves here in America. When the massive tornado hit our town last year, and destroyed 8,000 buildings: the electric company had miles of power lines destroyed, yet passed the cost on to the consumers because they did not have the lines insured! Can you believe that? They were not responsible enough to insure their property, and required their consumer to pay for their loss, yet the homeowners who lost their homes are still waiting for insurance compenation, and living in over priced rentals in order to remain in the vicinity. The electric company had passed a rate hike the month before the tornado; another rate hike a month after the tornado; another hike six months later; and another one this spring! How are we to survive if we cannot afford even to have electricity? And if we pay for that, we choose to not have something else that is required: say new shoes for the kids, as they now cost $75 for a decent pair that will last the school year. The fate of the middle class is to become lower class, and slavery to those in power is the ulimate price we will pay.

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Master Bill! Master Bill! I've got your carriage ready, sir!

      Need I say more? It's hard to complain about the whipping when you're the one supplying the whip. One would think big business would realize that when everyone's out of work, they're profits will stop being what they forecast. But, the philosophy of "profits today, tomorrow who cares" seems to be the norm. Great Job, my friend! Have a great weekend!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I do not know Kathleen Cochran but Bravo..We all can just complain and not vote, or we can vote. The Democrats ruled the first two years that President Obama was in office, why could he not get anything done?, because some in congress were lining their pockets and fought him every step of the way, now the Republicans rule and tie his hands. Let's vote those out, ( Both sides ) and elect people who want to get this country back where it should be. I know you said that this is not a political hub, but my goodness it is. Dirty politics has put is where we are today. We can either vote for the wealthy or vote for people who will put our country before greed. I am so riled up I could scream. If this election doesn't happen soon, I will be climbing the walls, or worse, be In the nut house..LOL I'm done..

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Oh my God, Bill, I was just talking about this sort of thing with my dearest friend the other night. I feel like I'm waking up, slowly, through my 20s, to the reality of what this country really is. It's why I'm bound and determined to just farm. I can no longer stomach wage-slavery, and there is no way to escape it unless you earn money on your own, with your own resources and blood and sweat. Those figures about the wealth distribution in this country astound me. I knew it was bad, but I didn't realize it was THAT bad. 80% of the population fighting over 10% of the wealth?? It may as well be the middle ages. Anyone who doesn't realize that we have a fully functional caste system in the US is blind. I've been developing a negative attitude lately towards those who can't seem to figure out what's going on here - I've been calling them "plank-walkers" - terrible of me. I ought to have more empathy and sympathy. Not everyone is as lucky as I am, to have ended up living on a farm as a manager and making my own life. Anyway, wonderfully written hub; all that you said needs to be said and by a million more voices.

    • WritingPrompts profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from The Garden of Eugene (Oregon)

      We are all free - free to walk away from that job that makes us do things we don't want to and starve. I'm an "independent contractor" and so also look like a small business owner. But I regularly have to bend the rules and break a few of those regulatory laws to get my job done or I won't have any business. So even as a non-employee I have to bend to the will of the people I work for. (Who in turn have to do what they have to do to keep their contracts with Walmart...) So I agree with most of what you are saying. Only a very few people are really free to even do their job the best they can - if the company says cut corners or ignore safety protocols in favor of higher profits you do or you don't work there anymore.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      I love to study history and everyone is forced to in high school. The great depression and world war 2 together are especially interesting to me. It baffles me that despite everyone being taught and quizzed on this point in history the little part about WHY the great depression happened escaped the majority of peoples brains. We're shown how awful and hard it was and yet it didn't click on how to keep it from happening again?! Really! I give sole credit to my American history teacher on why I have never ever been in debt! Another fantastic hub Bill! Voted and shared!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vespa, thank you so much! As for living simple, I am convinced that is the only way to survive in today's system. The cards are definitely stacked against us my friend, but that does not mean we are helpless.

      Yes, the unions have been controversial, and at times corrupt, but without them, oh my goodness! Are we to trust corporations to take care of us? That thinking has been a dismal failure and will continue to be.

      Thank you so much for caring enough to leave a great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Laurinzo, thank you my new friend! I am standing on a soapbox hoping someone listens and takes control of their future. When I was growing up I did not plan on being a controversial writer, but it appears that is where I am heading. :) I appreciate you taking the time to visit, and for your following.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Archer, it appears as though you have a hub in you based on this incredible comment. Joplin, Missouri! Boy, you folks have been put through the wringer, haven't you? I have a tornado hub coming out Monday, and my family is from Iowa, so I am well-versed on the horrors of those acts of nature. My sympathies to you and yours for what you have lived through. Quite frankly the power company needs to be disbanded and replaced by a more efficient company that understands they are part of the community.

      I understand about the daily walks with your wife; my wife and I do the same thing every day and count that as exercise and entertainment. I'm not complaining, but it does make me shake my head when I see the mansions that others live in, and when I contemplate the fact that for me, getting ahead is a matter of paying bills on time.

      I greatly appreciate your great comment. Peace and happiness to you my friend, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rich! There are days I'm not even my own master, and those are the days I want to run and hide. :) I wish you a great weekend as well; I hope that pizza was tasty!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I guess what I find most amazing about politics today in this country, is the refusal to compromise. There have been campaign contributions and lobbyists for decades, but somehow the government managed to still get things done. Now it is gridlock as each side refuses to budge at all. I will vote, and I will hope others vote as I do, but my faith in the political system is wavering.

      Thank you Ruby! I feel better about this country knowing people like you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rachel, I'm not sure how someone so young became so wise, but I am thankful and a little bit more hopeful for the future, knowing there are some your age who get it. Plank-walkers? I love that phrase and it aptly describes those who fail to see what is going on.

      As the system now stands, you are correct, there is no way to avoid wage slavery other than to become self-sufficient and self-sustaining, which is exactly what I aim to be.

      Thank you Rachel!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Writing, I am one of the few I know who has such freedom, and it is incredible. I have owned businesses and played the game; I have bent rules to survive because quite frankly, it was the only way to keep from drowning.

      I wish you best of luck in the future and thank you very much for sharing your experience.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      always exploring: I'd be glad to know you. Taking a look at your hubs right now. I'd be glad to welcome you to mine. I think billybuc would recommend me to you. (?)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sasha, my parents grew up during the Great Depression, and the lessons they learned were passed on to me. They were hard-earned lessons and I understand them, and it is beyond me why our nation does not see this happening once again. We will see but it may be too late by the time sight is restored in our citizenry.

      Thank you Sasha!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen, I'm surprised you too don't know each other. I consider you both to be extremely aware and compassionate writers and people. Here's to a long friendship!

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Bill,

      I'm pleased to see that none of the commentators are labeling you as a communist. One of the causes of the Great Depression was that the guys building the washing machines weren't making enough to buy the washing machine they built...production soared and goods remained in inventory.

      Frugality does indeed need to be embraced but I'm finding you can only cut so deep. With the cost of food...frugality means eating every other day. To find work...the gas tank needs to remain full.

      And yet, 15% of the lobbyist money comes from energy and agribusiness concerns and 70% of the richest companies are in the oil business who are fighting tooth and nail to maintain their sweetheart tax advantages while pushing back against alternative forms of energy.

      In 1933, Roosevelt knew that if he was going to save capitalism he needed to offer the benefits of capitalism across a much broader front...this is a lesson that has been forgotten.

      I have no allusions that my vote means much when the 1% give their vote and a million dollar check to boot. The edifice has rotted out and I'm finding the best that I can do now is eat every three days.

      Being a slave is indeed depressing.

      Thomas

    • writeyourwrongs profile image

      John Crowley 4 years ago from Sheffield

      My connections here on hubpages continue to remind me that you are one of the best. Hubs like these continue to confirm that.

      Sharing this, thanks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Writeyourwrongs, that was such a nice thing to say. I may not make much money on HubPages, but the opportunity to meet Hubbers like you makes up for it greatly. I love this community and I am always grateful for the friends I have made. I am humbled by your opinion of my writing. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thomas, this is a great comment...depressing, but great nonetheless. You brilliantly summarized many of the things preventing many from moving ahead. We are trapped with no discernible exit sign.

      I was fully expecting someone to accuse me of being Communist or at least Socialist....maybe I'm not trying hard enough. LOL

      Keep on believing buddy; something has to break sooner or later, right? :)

      Thank you!

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

      I don't believe we can all make our dreams come true but I reckon we better try. Our government has let us be overran by illegals and it has cost us billions of dollars besides many jobs not counting all the jobs sent out of the country. It appears an effort to destroy the real America and I can see it has happened when I see those who uphold them. They are not blind so they are either brainwashed or care nothing for a patriotic America. I personally have little hope but I will carry on to do my part and never be afraid to speak my mind. I totally agree too, rep or dem, makes no difference so how do we have a chance? We are prime for a one world government and I would not be surprised to see many for it. This president talks about more money for education but what many don't see is that money or the biggest portion goes to illegals, not even American citizens and would you be surprised to know that this even includes illegal prisoners here? Now they will be getting loans too. Does anyone ask us?

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      I appreciate how you have taken personal ownership of your destiny. Once again, I am with you 1000%.

      My mother would have never charged anything, even if credit cards were in vogue. She bought us what was affordable with Dad's salary. She had a savings account. We had college funds. She was the most generous frugal person I ever knew and my forever role model.

      This is awesome. Sometimes it is not about which way you vote.

      Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, your parents and mine must have studied from the same book. :) Thank you my friend; you are greatly appreciated by this Hubber! Have a wonderful weekend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Polly, the whole country is an asylum. I'm actually grateful that my parents died when they did so they didn't have to see how this country has folded its tent. I'm going to keep shouting from the rooftops in hopes that someone listens.....I'm not sure what else I can do.

      Thank you as always for an insightful comment.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 4 years ago from California, United States of America

      Yes, we are definitely economic slaves. We are forced to give up our time and energy and barely survive for it, at the mercy of those with power, money and control. I'm glad you addressed this issue, and you made very good points.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nate! Sorry it isn't a more pleasant subject, but I felt it needed to be said.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 4 years ago from California, United States of America

      Truth is important and in it there is what is unpleasant.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true Nate; thank you!

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 4 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      You hit a home run with this one, billy!

      The more I talk to people, the less faith I have that we will be able to correct the course of events about to happen. People are inclined to think lineally rather than conceptually. They think we can fix this and it will take care of that.

      Imagine how depressing it must have been for Ricardo to see greed of the wealthy upend his thoughts on free trade; or for Van Gogh to fail tests because the right answers weren't the correct answers; or for Hughes who proved that redwood trees could fly, but didn't have the credentials of those who were put into power.

      I am happy for you that you have found your peace in this world. Hopefully, you will be able to influence some people to live somewhere above consciousness, but the resolution to the problem, which is for people to live on a conscience level, has been preached by people from Socrates to Harry Browne.

      Might is not right. The might of the wealthy could not withstand the sheer numbers of those they enslave. It would do little good to have a million guns and only two trigger fingers, but I expect the rich will continue to get richer, and a potentially overwhelming majority to be satisfied arguing over who should be President, and making the tough decision between Jack in the Box and McDonalds.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      There was a system beyond money. Much of my life was paid by something else.

    • Zubair Ahmed profile image

      Zubair Ahmed 4 years ago

      Bill, you have touched the raw nerve with this one. Great hub, its good that more and more people are actually realising that this concept of 'Freedom' and 'democracy' is just another form of slavery in the modern world.

      In reality we do not have real freedom or democracy, if we did then there would not be such a huge disparity between the rich and the poor in society.

      Political systems in every Western country is plagued with parties that don't actually offer a huge difference to mass society, they essentially pull the same cords.

      Keep up the good work.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. This hub should be on the front page of every newspaper in the USA and the UK. Our finances are just as yours are, our system is similar. Keep on pushing Bill. Recognition will be your one day.

      Voted up. and all.

      Graham.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      It took me longer to read the comments than the article. You got people talking Bill!! Anyway, those numbers are staggering. Slavery exists everywhere...not just economically, but sexually too. Great job here! Voting up!

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Wow Billybuc,

      This is quite a thought provoking hub. Rather depressing as well. I really enjoyed seeing the poll results. It's obvious that a lot of thought and research went into this hub. Voted up and interesting. Good work as always!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tom, excellent thoughts and comments! I have zero faith in the system and I hate saying that; if someone can show me how this is going to be fixed, an explanation that is out of the box and not status quo, then I am more than willing to listen. I have the feeling I'll be waiting for quite some time.

      I hope you are well my friend; we really do need to meet one of these day.

      Thank you!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, those are true words. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zubair, your words are true; what surprises me is that there are so many people out there who still believe in the system; to me, the system is broken to the point where it can't possibly work.

      I will keep writing in hopes that more will listen.

      Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, this education thing is a slow, slow process. I am still amazed by how many people believe in the system, as if it is going to magically fix itself overnight.

      Thank you Sir! I will keep writing; it's all I know to do.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Julie; I'm very lucky to have such a faithful and active following. You will too in the near future; you are a good writer who is only getting better.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Karen! I don't enjoy writing downer hubs, but this stuff is eating me up and I need to shout from the mountain tops occasionally; obviously a few people feel the same way.

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      Another brilliant hub Bill! The wake up call is loud and clear, the time is now to do something. I wonder how the history books will portray this country years from now.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Gypsy48, good to see you. If they are revisionist history books then they will sing our praises as a country; otherwise, if honesty is employed in the writing, I doubt it will be portrayed as our finest moment as a country.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billybuc: Vote UP! Thank you for "shouting it from the mountain tops!" Everything you shared needed to be written.

      Sometimes it is discourging to know there is little control, Example: monies we receive in our checks. Each year the government raises taxes and our income appears to be less and less. NO control.

      HOWEVER...Here is ONE THING that will NEVER change: GOD. HE IS IN CONTROL! I believe faith in God is the answer to everything.

      Writer Hannah Whitehall Smith writes in her book "The Christian's Secret Of A Happy Life" to surrender EVERYTHING to God: our jobs, money, children grandchildren, pets, homes, EVERYTHING on this planet that concerns us. Then LEAVE it with God.

      I know I've shared in my hubs that every morning I write a letter to God, I give Him the blank page of each new day. Whatever happens to me, family...in the world...God is in it. That is what keeps me sane. I tithe every penny that comes to me in any form, then lay my finger on Malachi 3:10 that PROMISES God will honor the tithe.

      I only know one thing: God created me, put me here for a purpose, and all I have to do is believe and trust.

      That being said, I truly believe God is using you and your writing in a powerful way, especially through your hubs. You are a bright spot in this world. MATTHEW 5:14-16: "You are the Light of the world. Let your Light shine before men." You certainly do that. Blessings, Sparklea PS: I pray for you every single day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, you have no idea what that comment means to me. To know that someone across the country is praying for me, and believes in what I am doing, is just unbelievable. You are the most caring person.....what incredible compassion you have.

      I love that you write to God every morning, and I love the faith you have in Him! I hope one day we can sit as friends and enjoy each other's company. May God bless you my dear; I hope your trials are fewer now and that the load you carry is lighter.

      bless you,

      bill

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Voted up, Bill, for the inspiration and wisdom. I heard it said that more companies were created out of the depression era than expected. People turned to their own resources to generate income and it changed how Americans viewed government support. I think we forgot that lesson and somehow went back to relying on the corporate world and government to hand us candy. It is sweet but not sustaining. I didn't see Facebook and Zuckerberg listed here on your list, but he is wealthy beyond compare. He does have a small "kingdom" that caters to his staff, which is a good thing for the employees. Take care and God bless.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, the Great Depression was such a wonderful lesson for us, but we have forgotten the lesson. Anyone who trusts the government or big business for happiness and contentment is bound to be disappointed. By the way, Zuckerberg is certainly rising on the list but I think he's currently fourteenth.

      Thank you and enjoy your Sunday!

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      Very informative hub Billybuc! You definitely got feedback on this one. I had to scroll forever to comment! I think, like you say, we have forgotten the lesson. I am disgusted, but feel helpless, so I will focus on what I can control and hope enough people finally come together and say "enough".

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pickles, I was hoping for this reaction but didn't really expect it. Obviously I touched a nerve with this one and quite a few people are feeling the same emotions. I like your approach; now if we can just get others to say "enough.'

      Thank you!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I have two comments to make on this hub. Firstly, the unemployment rate has only gone down because the unemployment bureaus make it very hard to navigate their sites. Many give up. Today, you cannot go to the unemployment office, you have to apply online. Those who receive unemployment benefits are the ones included in the statistics. Those who do not, but are unemployed are numerous. The stats are not indicitive of the true measures.

      Secondly, once the new regime brought about the recession, many companies implemented raise freezes. As a result, many of us were forced to supplement our income via credit card purchases. I'm not talking about luxury purchases. I'm talking about real life emergencies that need to be addressed, such as car repairs, repairs to the home and sometimes even putting food on the table! Until the current regime mandated 26.99% interest on credit cards (with the exception of USAA who actually voluntarily lowered their rates to 9.99% because they believe in the people and don't want to lay any more strife on their members) the payback was possible. That is no longer true. Middle class America has been forced into the poorhouse!

      At 55 I'm not able to pay my bills, for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE! Do you know what that does to my soul? To my credibility?

      Yes, I am now a slave. Do we have an Abraham Lincoln today that can free us from the shackles that have been bestowed upon us????

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Actually, Sha, I do know what it does to the soul because I lived it.

      Secondly, no, there are no Lincolns around, not among the Democrats, not among the Republicans. The government is not designed to help you. That's the naked truth!

      I understand your frustrations because I crawled out of the same hole that you are in, and it's one hell of a long crawl.

      love always,

      bill

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Economic slavery, like economic freedom, is a state of mind, an attitude more than anything else. But in a statist command economy it takes more than attitude. In Cuba, for example, the government recently added to the list of "allowed" occupations - bed frame repairman. Your last paragraph sums it up nicely: "The choice is yours."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rfmoran, I agree with your first statement for the most part, and I think there are hundreds of thousands who are waiting for someone else to show them the way.....and the way is inside of them.

      Thank you my friend!

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

      Billybuc! Great hub. What really needs to happen is Americans need to wake up and start taking an interest in what is happening in the nation. It is probably wishful thinking but we need to stop allowing folks to divide us on race, sex, sexual preference and all those other diversionary issues that the powerful use to divide and keep us enslaved.

      An unemployed black man in Chicago has much in common with an unemployed white man in Olympia. We just need to come together and have a revolution of the mind and demand that true change occur.

      The founding fathers were flawed men when it came to many issues, but they were right when it came to the nation belonging to and being ruled by the people. The corporations, special interest groups, lobbyists and politicians have run amuck. The bad thing is, over the last 50 plus years, we allowed it to happen - while we were enjoying our color TV's, two car garages and annual vacations.

      But I am hopeful...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dexter, I am hopeful too, and I'm going to keep singing this song and hope that someone listens. You are correct: we created this monster and we keep perpetuating it with our buying habits.

      The founding fathers were big advocates of revolution and considered it our duty as citizens to overthrow that which does not reflect a government of the people. I think it's about time we take those words to heed.

      Thank you my friend!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      You are so very right my friend. These large corporations have all of us trapped in a vicious circle in which there is no escape. We must work to buy gas and we must buy gas to work. Seems the top of the wealth in this country is going to fuel. Until the power to control this fact is in the hands of the people, it will never end. But, since the corrupt government does not allow alternative means of transportation to exist, these oil and gas companies will continue to feed off the desperation of the Americans. Excellent thoughts!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, thanks, and it's only getting worse. The whole system is stacked against us and we fuel the system. Talk about a Catch 22!

      I'm discouraged but not hopeless. Never hopeless!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I know exactly what you mean. I used to be all about climbing the corporate ladder. Now, I am looking for my first opportunity to leap off the ladder altogether. I am tired of working to put money into other people's pockets. I also feel are education system is set up in such a way that does not encourage students to think or question authority too much. The U.S. relies on people that are just smart enough to push buttons to keep the system running, but not smart enough to question why they bother pushing the buttons in the first place. Maybe this new generation that questions adults more is exactly what we need. Awesome hub and voted up!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      Although we can work at living simpler lives, few of us can divorce ourselves totally from the nation's economy. Your point about unemployment rate is well taken. As high paying jobs are lost and people are forced to take lower paying jobs, people are being overwhelmed by debt they incurred when money was plentiful. Combine that with the American "gotta have it now" mentality, and we're in for trouble. We can't blame it all on big business, but they don't help. Great hub with lots of food for thought!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Stephanie, you are right on several fronts. No, most Americans cannot divorce themselves from the economy. I know how lucky I am to be in this position where I have very little reliance on the system. And you are also right, that big business is not the only entity to blame here....Americans themselves have dug this hole and it's a long climb out of it.

      Thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jeannie, hopefully people your age and younger will begin to see the wisdom of dropping out of the rat race and forging a new path that is not reliant on the government or corporations. I certainly hope that this new generation starts questioning the status quo or it will be too late for them as well.

      Thank you for stopping by Jeannie!

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      Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "Quite simply, with a decline in jobs and the amount of outsourcing to other nations, U.S. citizens are scrambling so ferociously for jobs that they will accept lower pay and undercut a union worker. We are, in fact, defeating ourselves." - Yes we are defeating ourselves. The same thing may be said with the austerity measures and cutting of social programs: this will end-up hurting our societies in countless ways.

      "There is no united front among laborers in today’s economy; we are, in fact, seeing Darwinism at its most basic level, and only the strong will survive." - I am not even sure if the strongest will survive in the status quo. It seems to me that the most cunning and sly are the ones who are having it easier nowadays - corruption is flourishing on many levels.

      “Members of Congress should be compelled to wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers, so we could identify their corporate sponsors.” - That is an amazing idea! At least we would be able to tell who we are being sold-off to.

      "Are average Americans economic slaves? Do we submit to a dominating influence? You bet we do, and the dominating influence is big business." - Very true in my opinion. I call this financial slavery and I have been trying to speak about this for a couple of years at least now. I am happy people are beginning to take notice.

      "Instead of blaming, do something!" - I am also happy to say that I am a member of the Occupy Movement. We have tried, are trying and will continue to try to raise awareness on social issues which I think affect us all. We encourage everyone to join the discussion on how we can create a better, more just, fair, kind and safe world for All of Us.

      "Together United We'll Never Be Defeated!"

      Thank You for the support!

      All the best.

    • cherylone profile image

      Cheryl Simonds 4 years ago from Connecticut

      I am not usually politically connected, but your articles always give me great incite. I love this one too, great information and a great way to address it.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Cheryl; believe it or not, I've kind of divorced myself from politics too, but this issue goes way beyond politics. I appreciate your kind words.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, I'm there with you! I am a child of the 60's and I was protesting forty years ago and really never stopped. The Occupy Movement was the first really organized show of life that I have seen in decades, and there will be many more such movements in the near future. I just hope it is not too little too late because things are the worst that I have seen in my 64 years.

      I will continue to use whatever writing skills I have to pound this point home, that people had better wake up soon before there is no recourse but to be a willing sheep taking whatever scraps are thrown to us.

      Thank you my friend; take care and keep the faith!

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      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Wonderful essay Billy. Cogently argued and full of useful statistics. And what a veritable flood of supportive and affirming comments. Maybe before too long there will be a powerful groundswell among the 90%. Lets hope so. In the mean time please keep writing, preaching, teaching. We need your voice. America needs your voice. :) Sharing.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, thank you! America needs something for sure. Obviously I feel strongly about this subject; I just hope we have enough time for more and more citizens to wake up and see reality.

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      KDuBarry03 4 years ago

      What is the point of holding billions of dollars to one name? Is greed so surely a part of the world that we are repeating the history of what happened to Rome? Is this what our founding fathers expected the nation to become: a greedy, slothful, lustful, wrathful world all over the love of money and power?

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interestingly, Keith, our founding fathers warned against exactly that...their biggest fear was that the country would be taken over from within, by greed and power.

      Thank you Keith; you are a good man!

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 4 years ago

      I wish we had men like our founding fathers again to fix things up at D.C. See, this is where I'm a little Marxist when it comes to sharing wealth: yes, there will be richness and there will be poverty; however, at the level we're at now? I think the wealth in the U.S. should be divided up a little bit more evenly but not to the point where Doctors make as much as a part time cashier at McDonald's.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      KD -- I understand your feelings. It is the sort of terrible inequity and destructive greediness rampant in America today, that makes me a "little bit socialist, too."

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa.....shhhh....don't say that word to the wrong people. LOL Yes, I understand socialism very well! Thank you again!

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      Charles Hilton 4 years ago

      Socialism is the most misunderstood and abused word in America, because political demagogues of the greedy stripe you so excellently expose in this hub so effectively use it as a scare-word to ward off honest debate about our extreme economic inequality and its causes.

      There was a time in America when Socialism wasn't a dirty word and a large segment of the population either were Socialists or at least sympathized with Socialism. That was in the late 1800's and early 1900s.

      Since then, the totalitarian regimes of Stalin and Mao, et al, imposed state-run capitalism while keeping the moniker and rhetoric and symbolism of Socialism, thereby forever associating totalitarianism with Socialism in the minds of Americans.

      America has also been hampered by the propaganda of religious zealots and political demagogues.

      Europeans never labored under that confusion, which is why they were able to integrate Socialist principles into their economies with much success.

      Thank you for a well-written and very topical hub. Voted up!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Keith, I have no problem with the rich, but I do have a problem when income disparity becomes so one-sided as to almost not exist. Thank you for your great comments.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Charles, wonderful and accurate comment. I have always marveled at how "socialism" is scorned so much in America......it is a working-class philosophy that should be embraced.

      Thanks for the great comment; I appreciate you adding to the discussion.

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      Jeromeo 4 years ago from Little Rock

      What gets me is many of the people listed on the richest list, subscribe to a philosophy of genocide as a remedy for too many people on the dole. To many people looking to take a portion of their hard "earned billions." More money that they and their immediate off spring can spend in their life times.

      Truly there is no difference in the philosophy they practice and the ethnic cleansing that went on in Bosnia. Their weapons are more sophisticated and there speech more beguiling, but their purpose is just as deadly.

      And here there is no sanctuary of flight as a refugees, their money reaches around the world, so many of us will be forced to die because of their unmitigated greed, genocidal nature, ethnic cleansing agenda, and Sociopath-ic regard for the rest of humanity..

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jeromeo, that was one interesting analogy, and I'm not sure I can find anything to argue with. Greed is the number one enemy in the world for most citizens.....capitalism when run by greed is an ugly monster and yes, it does kill. Great addition to the discussion my friend. Thank you!

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      Important article! You are so right. I think the situation here in Europe is better... The unemployment where I live is the lowest in Finland. People see an opportunity to start their own companies now when the economy isn't that good.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made, we are seeing more of that here in the States! I am all for it, but people need to cut expenses before trying it. I had to shave away most of my expenses before I attempted this writing life, but for the most part now I am free financially. I hope more people are able to do the same.

      Thank you my dear!

    • Sustainable Sue profile image

      Sustainable Sue 4 years ago from Altadena CA, USA

      I don't want to get into it, cause it will make me mad. I'm busy focusing on creating a new world of sustainability, justice, and harmony with the environment. They say what you focus on you get, based on the Law of Attraction.

      Meanwhile, a friend of mine who used to work for $80,000 a year just accepted a job for $40,000. He's lucky and worked hard to get it. I'm drawing unemployment, while retraining my focus. It's already getting better. At least I'm doing something that excites me. (lol)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sustainable Sue, I agree with you completely. We are in the process of changing our lives so that I do not have to rely on the government or an employer for anything. Still, a part of me has to scream about injustice in this country; I guess I was born to do so.

      Thank you!

    • Trinity M profile image

      Trinity M 4 years ago

      A very thought-provoking hub as usual Bill. Not being an American myself I cannot say much about what is going on in America but I think this is a global problem not a local one. The world over people have become slaves to the wage.

      I believe that many people have become lethargic. I also believe that globally we all expect our government to make it all better for us. I’ve seen it happen in Europe and especially in Greece where everyone is mad at the government because of the severe austerity terms, but these are the same people who have been claiming pensions for their dead husbands, or have taken 3 month long paid vacations, etc.

      In Africa people die daily of hunger and disease; economic slavery doesn’t even come into it.

      Ultimately I believe that it is the duty of each individual to zone out of the system and become as self sufficient as possible. The governments around the world are NOT going to make it better. We have to take responsibility for ourselves which is why both my husband and I work from home and we homeschool. The deeper under the raider we can get the better I think we are. Awesome hub my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Trinity! Bev and I are divorcing ourselves from the system as quickly as we can. I have no faith in the school systems....no faith in government....and no faith in big business. That leaves self-sufficient, as you mentioned, and I am hopeful that more people will see the wisdom in this. I have no interest in the national elections and campaigning that is going on now, other than in my writing to sound the alarm that every person needs to be aware of how the system is strangling them. Talk about feeling like a voice in the wilderness! That's how I feel when I do hubs like this one....I know I'm right (how's that for ego?) but I doubt many people are hearing the message. Sigh!

      Well, at least we understand and are heading in the right direction. That's a start, right?

      You are appreciated!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Hi Billy I read this one this morning but didn't have time to comment ; so here I am again.

      Really interesting and up there with each and every masterpiece that you create.

      I mean this my friend and enjoy your weekend.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy! I just went to your site and noticed there are five hubs I was never notified about.....if it's someone I don't know well, it's not a big deal....however, when it's someone I respect greatly, like you, it becomes a big deal. So sorry....and thank you!

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 4 years ago from New York

      Great article, but, I'm a firm believer in the idea that facts are useless if they do not lodge in the brain for long. Americans side with those who destroy unions, then act perplexed at the fact that American wages are junk. Americans want cheap goods, allowed NAFTA to take hold and again, wonder why there are no jobs. America the brainwashed! Love this hub though! I find it very informative.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bobbi, I couldn't agree more. We only have ourselves to blame for this situation, and we are the only ones who are going to change it. Thank you!

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      MzChaos 4 years ago from Indianapolis

      We're just part of the 47% that don't matter. An interesting statistic to add here would be the amount of charitable contributions some of those top earners contribute. I know a couple on that list do a significant amount of charity work.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mzchaos, I live 30 miles from Bill Gates and I can say without hesitation that he does wonderful charitable work....he and his wife get involved big time in their causes.....so yes, an excellent point that you make.

    • Gamerelated profile image

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Great work on this article billybuc. You make a good point about people who are let go from jobs and end up finding jobs that pay much less. They are not counted in the unemployment numbers because they are employed, but technically they are "underemployed". There is no record or statistic that measures underemployment.

      There is also a segment of the population that have given up looking for a job because they are beat down and hopeless. Applying for 30 or 40 and jobs and not getting a call back or getting rejected over and over can destroy one's self esteem and sense of dignity. The ones who give up looking for a job are excluded from the unemployment numbers. Thus, unemployment is even further understated.

      A lot of Americans have a very anti-union attitude. They view unions as forms of socialism or communism--the fact is, structurally, the union is the working class counterpart to the corporation.

      A corporation is a collection of shareholders (owners) who pool resources (capital) together in order to create larger companies that have stronger purchasing power in the marketplace. Their combined resources give them the purchasing power to buy both capital resources and labor resources in bulk and at a reduced price. Think Walmart who has the purchasing power to push down the prices of goods which in turn pushes down the price of the labor that creates those goods. The pricing pressure of Walmart forces their suppliers to compete to offer the cheapest product. This pricing pressure often forces U.S. manufacturers to ship jobs overseas which further undercuts the American worker and devalues their labor.

      Labor unions on the other hand are a collection of workers who pool their resources (labor) together in order to collectively negotiate better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

      Governments do a lot to protect and promote corporations. They limit their financial liability in the cases where corporations are sued or are financially irresponsible and end up in debt. They create special tax exclusions for certain corporate forms and on capital investment. On the other side the government actively undercuts labor unions.

      The federal government has the power to force workers to go back to work. They force workers back to work with the threat of imprisonment, fines, and by seizing union money which is used to provide for workers while they are on strike. What else do you call it when somebody forces a person who doesn't want to work to work? Slavery?

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Game, that is a brilliant comment, and every single one of your points are excellent. I come from a family of union members; heck, I was a Teamster for twenty years.....and without the unions the American worker is in trouble. I could go on and on, but everything is in the hub. I just wanted you to know that I believe in your points and wish others would wake up to the value of unions and the labor movement.

      Thank you for taking the time to add to the conversation.

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      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Not sure how I missed this one bill but I am here now. As you know I was working a $100,000 a year job as a senior engineer and was fired while on Disability because "I could not perform the duties...."

      I know exactly what you are talking about here and support the message 100%!

      Mark

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I know you understand this article; you are a perfect example of the spirit behind this article. Pride in American needs to filter down from the top to the bottom if we are to rebound as a country. Thank you buddy and I look forward to talking to you later.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 4 years ago from UK

      We appear to be writing about the same subjects - in different ways. My way seems to put peoples' back up, so your way must be better ;-))))

      Well done ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      De Greek, I will support anyone who speaks out against injustice and inhumanity....carry on the fight and thank you.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 4 years ago from UK

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you De Greek; I will be by to visit soon.

    • justgrace1776 profile image

      justgrace1776 4 years ago

      Great points, and I voted yes, we are slaves. I'm an honest slave. How much farther would I be right now if I had cheated? Probably a pretty good distance. Glad I have a conscience. Just glad.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      justgrace, I'll hang with honest slaves any day of the week. :) Thank you and bless you for having a conscience.

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      druhepkins 4 years ago

      Excellent and informative Hub. I really enjoyed it and it's true, we are definitely slaves sad to say. But I'm definitely motivated toward independent living and I'm almost there.

      Nice work

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you druhepkins! We are close to that independent lifestyle. Three more years and we'll be there. :)

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      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      No one is employed in this country. At the toss of a dollar bill in their wallet you will be on the street tomorrow. What company pays its taxes? You would be hard pressed to find that one. Included in employment statistics is every employees who never works 40 hours as his hours are cut daily and never reaches the levels of receiving any benefits. No one claiming unemployment, college students and anyone receiving assistance. I never checked if they count all the people they have in the Gulag like Stalin's private work force. We are slaves looking and drifting from one job to another in search of something that allows us to reach the cost of living. The stock market rises every day as they pay us less and cut our hours. Then they even have the audacity to create charity funds at work to help out the people they will not pay. Charity in the community for tax write off’s and free advertising. They are one thing evil to the bone and God will have his day. For a short time they lived large by robbing everyone’s spirit. Soon they will have an eternity to enjoy. Think small and build and buy locally from small businesses. Compete with corporations it can not be that hard to sell fertilizer and food but every where I go I see a ghost town and masters ruling over us. If you do not pay people they can not buy and so they cut their own throats eventually. Who will have enough of this inequality first is the question. Surviving on nothing I know where to place my bets. Its not a battle its about fairness and freedom. Get busy living or get busy dying.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sanxuary, spoken with true words. I have nothing to add to your comment...between my article and your comment everything has been said. Fairness and freedom......two values that are going out of style in America.

      Thank you!

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      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Hey Bill. I found this article through the archives. lol I'm curious if minimum wage will be increased to $10.10 an hour. What happens every time it's increased? Everything else goes up with it. The old saying remains true, the rich get richer and the poor, well you know. And now, with Obamacare, companies are hiring even less. Granted it's a tad better then when you wrote this but all of this remains true. I couldn't agree with you more. To be in such a great country, we all deserve better. We all could work, do our part and never have to worry about money. A system like that could work and thrive. Perhaps I'm foolish but something needs to be done. The government is running up debt like tomorrow and we're paying for it.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lyric, thanks for digging through the archives. Yes, my friend, something needs to be done for sure. This kind of wealth distribution is a recipe for economic disaster, and I think it's going to happen sooner rather than later. Let's hope wiser minds prevail.

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