Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

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Subprime JD's picture
Subprime JD
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Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

Many commentators have pointed out that Americans are very slow to political action, and by and large this is true. Sure you have your political motivated groups, such as the immigration rights community, the gay rights coalition, the far left and far right christian groups. But these are all niche issues and campaigns. These groups focus on their specific concerns and nothing more.

When it comes to the overall corruption that is taking place within the federal government, the people are silent. Whether it be the backdoor deals taking place in the pentagon, the financial services industry, big pharma, big insurance, the student loan complex, the toxic food industry, there is no outcry. That the FDA, USDA, SEC, CTFC, and other agencies are a revolving door with corporate America fails to garner the appropriate public outrage. And why is this the case? Mainly, because hope springs eternal that one day people will become wealthy, that the system will work in their favor.

The system in the US is set up whereby if one gets arrested for "public misconduct" or "resisting arrest" there job prospects go to hell. People are terrified of having to deal with a criminal backround check when applying for a job. This clever setup keeps many people off the street. It keeps the angry youth quiet. And the reason that they maintain their silence is because they have the hope that one day they will get hired, or get promoted and get that good paying job.

Picture your typical middle class office worker bee. He makes his 40k a year. His wife/partner also work for 40k. They make enough to live. Assuming they have student loans their budget is much more constrained. Expenses such as food, gas, auto repair, insurance, medical bills, keep them tight. Both work hard, trying and hoping for that promotion. They see and hear whats going on in this country. They hear about the wars and the profiteering, it angers them but they do nothing out of fear. They hear about the big wall street bailouts and printouts. They think to themselves "who bailed me out when i broke my ankle and i had to put the $10,000 bill on my credit card??" The anger builds slowly but surely, but they do nothing, mainly due to fear of being shunned by the system.

How about a more severe example, such as the family with 3 children. They purchased a home in 2003, have a substantial mortgage payment, plus property taxes, insurance, and other home owner attendant expenses. The wife gets laid off, and the husband gets a pay cut. The wife worked at a pipe manufacturer for 13 years until the plant was shut down and sent to Thailand. She reads that the Thai workers make $2 per hour. Then, upper management announce big bonuses for themselves. She becomes enraged at this. They struggle to pay bills. Outings are a thing of the past. The wife stays home looking for work while the husband works and comes home. They dont go out, they watch tv and maybe play some boardgames to pass the time. One of the kids get sick and it costs him bigtime. Say one of the children gets luekemia. Now he is bankrupt as the bills will be too high fot him to pay. Yet, he watches the tv, and hears how the health care bill was written by and large by the big insurance and pharma companies. He sees the insurance stock prices march on higher as his family has been decimated by the medical insurance complex. He goes into default on the home and is constantly harassed by the bank. He hears how the same bank was given billions in funny money and how bonuses have reached record highs. He is angry, the system comes crashing down harshly on him while the old boys get bailed out. Yet, he does nothing out of fear of losing his job if he goes out and lets his anger run wild.

Finally, there is the example of the tier 2,3,4 law grad, owing 150,000 to 200,000 dollars. She cant get a job in law, her loans are in deferrment. She gets some part time work at borders or starbucks. Maybe walmart or even Home depot. Her wages are garnished to satisfy the loan. She feels demoralized, depressed, ashamed. Each rejected job application is interpreted as a personal failure, that she is not good enough. Deep down inside, anger begins to form. She understands that she has been lied to by her law school. She looked at the employment data and figured that by taking on the loans she was making a good investment for her future. Instead, she is a lowly lawyer working in a non legal field for $12 per hour. Her coworkers make the same wage but they dont have the debt. Sometimes they make sneering comments about her working at home depot or starbucks, calling her a retard, saying "look at the lawyer hahaha". Still, she keeps calm, she maintains her positive attitude. Even though thoughts of picketing her law school's orientation enter her mind, she takes no action. Even though thoughts of protesting the banking industry for taking her meager wages enter her mind, she does not take any action. She has this hope that one day she will get a good paying job in the legal industry. And due to the hope, she takes no action. But the anger slowly builds.

Slowly but surely the realization will come that the opportunity that existed before has evaporated. Borrowers will be stuck with burden while lenders get all the benefits. The notion that we live in a democracy will slowly die as the reality that we live in a oligarchical plutocracy will me made manifest. The gap between rich and poor will continue to grow, with the rich getting richer through political favors, central bank collusion and rampant outsourcing of labor.

The poor have resigned themselves to a life of poverty in the inner cities of America, by taking out their anger on their own people through gang violence. Classic divide and conquer. Instead of focusing their anger at the true source of their ills, they destroy themselves. Now the dying middle class is finding itself joining the ranks of the impoverished. Will they direct their anger at the true source of their misery? Will they view Washington DC as a whole being the culprit and not fall into the trap of the fake left right paradigm? Will they wake up to the fact that democrats and republicans dont give 2 shits whether they live or die, prosper or become bankrupted? Time will tell, but the signs are pointing at popular discontent at the current political system with congress approval rating at historic lows.

Still, the hope remains that one day they will make it. I will get rehired, I will get that job, promotion, bonus, that deal. God forbid they actually go out and scream at those responsible for ruining their lives at the risk of being blacklisted by the system. The prevalent fear is indicative that America has slowly turned into a police state, where the first amendment right of freedom of speech and the right to petition government for redress of greviances is more or less not allowed. Sure, we have our occasional weak rally where people cheer and hold sings. But true civil disobedience is not a option for many as they know their job prospects will be shattered. Ive been to many rallies and protests and the police presence is truly breathtaking. They sit there on their horses, with clubs clearly visible . They eye the croud with this sinister smirk, thinking to themselves "just make one move, I dare ya".

For now the public sentiment remains under the radar. The resentment grows, but is not made truly manifest. Im waiting, praying, hoping that my fellow citizens put the fear aside and take appropriate action. Im waiting for the apathy to die and the proper anger to take its place. Our country has been getting robbed in broad daylight. Sooner or later there wont be anything left for us to take. RISE UP WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT!!

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ericg
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

It's crazy isn't it ? The fear thing is real.... it's funny (in a peculiar kind of way) I post all kinds of stuff on face book that I feel exposes the system, but sometimes I get this fear that "they" are watching. I "see" the end results of the decisions made by the powers that be, and I wonder why the masses don't. Are many so blind ? I feel like they know something is wrong, but when they look to their every day sources they get no real answers. God is in a picture frame, or impaled on a cross. This who they believe is their God asked questions and defied authority... "look what happened to him" they think. Those who don't believe in God have only Man to turn to. Man who understands so little, but who puffs out his chest and declares "I am like God, listen to me" Really...? I say " shut the fuck up" help your neighbor in any way you can. Be something other than part of the system. If you can expose the fraud in the system do so to any and all who will listen. 

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land2341
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

We and our ancestors fought long and hard to gain, and keep, our freedom of speech.  Then we sold it.

We gave it up for security and freedom from hearing views with which we disagreed.  We gave it up because there were people who would pay big money to control the media in all its forms.  We gave it up because we were afraid of terrorists from other countries and refused to see that they were already here.  And they were us.

Ben Franklin said it best.  "Those who are willing to give up essential freedoms in exchange for a little security deserve neither freedom nor security."

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Subprime JD
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

We gave it up because there were people who would pay big money to control the media in all its forms

Not all forms my friend, there is the INTERNET!!!!!! Blogs create forums such as the one we speak on right now. Blogs such as CM, ZH, and many many others where people are learning daily of the truth. Even youtube, which is controlled by google is a bastion of truth and free speech. Until the powers that be regulate the internet a free speech medium still exists.

Ive started my own blog, subprimejd.blogspot.com it caters towards pissed off law grads that are broke, drowning in debt. There are at least a dozen of them and we all collaborate with each other. Surely, there are many of you on here that are specialized in education, medicine, accounting, and other niche areas. Find other blog communities and spread the word. While the other law blogs focus primarily on the legal profession and educational system, i incorporate other topics like the economy, peak oil and finance.

 

EricG,

Keep screaming the truth to anyone you can. Christians in particular are very brainwashed and believe in the fake left right paradigm. I am a believer myself but most christians just soak up what their pastors say. I know religious and non religious people that are big time sheeple and others that are big time in the know who dont buy the mainstream media lies.

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Wendy S. Delmater
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

Let me tell you a little story. First a personal one, then its broader application. And let me state up front that I know damned well that a lot of things have changed and that both political parties have sold us down the river, spending us into oblivion. But I still have hope. And I think Dr Chris does, too. I know the future will be different; I want that future to be as positive as it can be for all of us. I've learned a lot listening to those from alternative viewpoints here, so maybe you will learn from listening to mine.

This story is about the American Dream, and about a few little misconceptions. And before I tell you this story let me assure you that I and my family have done more to deal with political corruption in a real and personal way than most people have, so I speak with some authority here. (I helped my mother rid our town of corruption that resulted in 300,000 citizens getting lower property taxes, for one thing).

In 1989 I was an abandoned mother of three. My husband had spent the previous year putting most of our food money and the mortgage money up his nose, with a variety of coke-snorting girlfriends. I had no family to go to that was not either ill or in worse shape financially. Misconception # One: most people on welfare are people of color. They're not: most of them are white mothers like I was. But I managed to land a $6/hr job as a file clerk. Since I paid no rent (home was in foreclosure) the only help I got from the government was with subsidized child care. Misconception #2, and one a lot of people fall for: the government cares. Bull. At the welfare office I was treated like cattle. Real people in my community made the difference. I got food, when needed, from church and secular food banks. One time Catholic Charities bought me needed medicine, and I am not even Catholic. Do the research: anywhere from 1/3 to 2/3 of the money you send to "help" the poor through taxes goes to govt workers. (Plus letting the goverment do your charity is damned lazy. What have you, you personally, done for a local family, person, or group that needs your help?)

In 1990, after much research I chose a career to support my kids. I wanted something that would not be replaced by hardware or software, something where there was a shortage of qualified people, something that could not be outsourced overseas, and something not in the "pink collar ghetto" of "women's (underpaid) work." I chose heavy construction safety engineering. Via a temp agency I landed a clerical job at a construction site and when I expressed interest in doing safety they NEEDED people so they trained me. As my income went up my portion of the payment toward the subsidized childcare went up. Soon I was making $12/hr. Misconception # 3 - the hot jobs of the last decade will be the hot jobs of next decade. Just ask all the teachers who could not get jobs when we started aborting half our future students. Your lawyer lady in your hypothetical example had not done her homework: anybody with half a brain could see there were too many lawyers being churned out by schools.

1992 - 1993 a layoff and back to temping, while I looked for a local school to get a degree in safety management. I learned to use new office software and became a better typist. We'd lost the house and were living in a roach-infested former motel. I started a neighborhood watch there. We managed to get the drug-addicted, kickback-seeking thug superitendent indicted and got good management into the apartment complex.

1994- - 1998 I worked full time with a part -time job while raising kids while I was in school. Much of the classwork was online, which helped. I got a safety job when I was 6 credits short of graduation, and the remaining credits were work-study so I thought I could do them on the job. Income: $20/hr. Misconception # 4; you should feel lied to and despair because an education no longer helps. Now with the S about to hit the Fan, I'd agree that going into debt for a degree is not a good idea, but education takes many forms. Here, in the forums, we are teaching each other anything from gardening to gun safety to financial know-how. We are recommending books for further study.

1999 - 2009 I worked my way up the ladder in construction safety snd eneded up with a consulting engineering firm. I got a licence to run large sites in NYC, which was very hard to get. I became the company troubleshooter to go in and fix unsafe sites. I finally got those last 6 credits and got my degree in 2005. Despite how busy I was I worked in a mentoring program, with a food bank, and did volunteer work on things like computer training for recent imigrants and writing resumes for out-of-work moms. All my debts were paid off. My income, when I quit this job to get married and move to SC, was $41.50/hr. With overtime it was over $100K a year. I could afford a house, but I looked at the housing market and saw that we were headed for trouble, so I rented. In your hypothetical example above it's possible that the couple who lost their home bit off more house than they could chew. Maybe not, but in real life every single person I have met who's recently ended up foreclosed on bought way more house than they could handle unless their lives were trouble-free, and shit happens. Misconception # 4: What some people call "the American Dream" is a perversion of it. The American Dream is not to be rich and be one of the "elites." It's to have the ability to do the best you can, to support those you love by working hard, to think ahead and when possible avoid economic calamity, and to use ingenuity to make the best of a situation - and to help your neighbors along the way. And if shit happens you pick yourself up and try and try again.

Hold onto this definition: it's vital.

POINT ONE: THE AMERICAN DREAM--the original vesion, not the perversion of it--CAN BE A REALITY. Could my true story have happened anywhere else on earth? Work hard and you CAN profit to the limits of your ability and the economic realities are not the only factor. We are not just PAWNS. The coming economic ruin of America does not mean that we cannot have a "can do" attitude toward life. Your hypothetical family that lost it all due to leukemia medical bills has a reset button called a "bankruptcy." I had to have one when my ex left us. It was tough, but I survived.

POINT TWO: I get very deeply offended by those who want to place blame on the "system". I'm not saying "the system" is wonderful (Far from it, I know it has betrayed us although as a conservative I think that betrayal was when we started to let the goverment handle our compassion instead of taking care of our neighbors. They got involved in a whole bunch of things that were not their job and it bankrputed us. Oh, and both political parties ARE in bed with Wall Street, I agree.) I'm saying that blaming "the system" is not a helpful way of thinking because it is not forward-looking. If "the system" is about to collapse, why are you not concentrating on making the best life we can from the ashes?

POINT THREE:  Those who do not have a clue as to where we are headed are still sure something is deeply wrong. You seem to wonder when the lemmings will wise up and realize they've been had, and - please correct me if I am wrong - seem to hope they will rise up in anger.

You wonder when folks will wise-up and do something? Ever hear of the Tea Party Movement? It's a lot bigger than you think and they are not the pawns of big government or banks or coprporate interests. They are people like me, people who believe in the ORIGINAL American Dream. Political corrutption has woken a sleeping giant of those who will hopefully rise up and do what they can to mitigate the coming crash. I know these people: they are scout leaders and literacy volunteers and moms and dads and grandparents and students who see what;s coming and  want to try and go in there and kill the corruption from the inside. They may not suceed, but they'll go down swinging. And along the way they will help their neighbors.

It's who we are. We're Americans. We will help each other. Class warfare is so yesterday. And yeah, I have a gun in case a criminal wants to take what;s mine and hurt those I love--I'm not blind. But I also have seeds to spare, food to spare, medicine to help others and a library of post SHTF skill books that will help my community and my neighbors. I'm an invalid for now, since I just had a hip replaced, but I hope to get back out there and either work for cash toward our SHTF list or at least garden and work on community building.

You may be doing that and more. I mean all of you, not just bearmarketrader.If not, why not do whatever small positive thing you can, today?

Good post, by the way. Thought provoking. I needed to get this rant off my chest and you gave me a chance to do so. Thanks.

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DrKrbyLuv
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

Excellent article bearmarkettrader!

The American dream is gone, replaced with perpetual debt.  When you add the national debt and unfunded liabilities, new born Americans come into the world with over $300,000 debt.  Their American dream is a nightmare.  What right do we have enslaving future generations to unsustainable debt? 

Our politicians sold us out but we really can't blame them as "We the People" have been fast asleep at the switch and were too busy getting fat and stupid to notice.  I hope you are right when you said "Im waiting for the apathy to die and the proper anger to take its place."  The bad part is that it may already be too late...

Larry

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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

I'm a believer also, I would like to point out that most who say they believe don't know the truth of their own "WORD".

Their Pastors only know what they've been taught, or they are excellent orators. I found it interesting that MSM were so infatuated with how well Obama spoke. Don't these guys have speech writers? Aren't they marketed like merchandise? Anyway, I know many of the same types as you. I don't know about you, but I pray for this crap to end soon so we can move on in a more positive direction.

Eric G. 

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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

Re:  safewrite post

WELL SAID !!!!

Bruce

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ccpetersmd
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

Safewrite,

Awesome post! You are a great addition to this community!

I was at a Campaign for Liberty (Ron Paul's group) event last fall. I heard hours and hours of people talking about all the things wrong with America, particularly regarding our freedoms, and they were all correct. But, one of the more memorable things I heard was, that despite all these problems, the U.S. is still one of the most free countries in the world. Safewrite's story is anecdotal proof of this. And, her interpretation of "The American Dream" is indeed the one we should consider most valid.

I still have hope that this nation of mongrels will come to it's senses, recognize it's self-won birthright, and find a way to lead our world forward toward a more sustainable existence. Mind you, this will not come about through our government, or any commercial enterprises, but by the collective will of millions of Americans who have known a greater degree freedom than is present in most of the world, and are not willing to let that pass.

In the end, though, I must confess that I remain very cautious in my optimism...

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Subprime JD
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

ccpeters:

Im not so sure we are one of the most free countries in the world.

US ranks 20th on the Press Freedom Index

US ranks 17th on Human Poverty Index

3 million in jail or prison, 1 in 100 people

Human development index, 13th

US homicides per 100,000 is 5.4. We rank alongside Nambia, Turkey, Kenya and Albania

At least on many of the rankings we are on the upper scale but by and large our national numbers stink.

19th in education index

8th in Index of Economic freedom

38th in life expectancy

V's picture
V
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

BMT

You and I rarely agree on anything but on this we are in lock step.

We incarcerate more people per capita than any other country in the world. We are in debt to the tune of over 120 TRILLION. Okay some of us might be free (or think we are in some small way) but our descendants are effectively indentured servants. Anecdotal pull yourself up by your bootstraps stories do not take into account the the statistics you cite.

This does not even take into account the innumerable government agencies which regulate every aspect of our lives. Nor does it take into account the hundreds of thousands of pages of laws including the IRS tax code.

This kind of story does not take into account places like Detroit, Flint, Watts, East LA,  They only point to the success of an individual who has managed to out compete for money which is in reality debt. The system is a zero sum game. Ultimately we have to lose in large numbers for those at the top to win

V

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ccpetersmd
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

BMT and V,

I did not say the U.S. was perfect; far from it! Do we need to be #1 on every index to be "one of the most free" countries? As I mentioned, there are numerous problems with the U.S., to include a ridiculous amount of public and private debt. But, generally, we have freedom that is not even imaginable in many parts of the world, and opportunities to better ourselves through sheer effort and good fortune.

I am not defending the U.S. We have plenty of problems, and most of those well-deserved and self-imposed. We have also successfully managed to export many of those problems to other countries!

We can, and must, do better...

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Subprime JD
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

We can, and must, do better...

That is exactly the point of this article, that we have to do better otherwise our placement on the indexes will continue to plummet. Theres the quote that "none are more hopelessly enslaved then those who falsely believe they are free". I have lived outside of the US for years and can tell you how radically controlled we are in this country. Go to any bar or nightclub and there are masses of huge mean bouncers. There are "NO" signs all over our parks and beaches. News channels wont show burned bodies while in most other countries they show it all.

Most importantly, the first amendment right to petition the goverment for our greviences has been so watered down that any real protest is impossible. A simple antiwar protest in LA this year yielded hundreds of heavily armed police. Very intimidating.

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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't
ccpetersmd wrote:

BMT and V,

I did not say the U.S. was perfect; far from it! Do we need to be #1 on every index to be "one of the most free" countries? As I mentioned, there are numerous problems with the U.S., to include a ridiculous amount of public and private debt. But, generally, we have freedom that is not even imaginable in many parts of the world, and opportunities to better ourselves through sheer effort and good fortune.

I am not defending the U.S. We have plenty of problems, and most of those well-deserved and self-imposed. We have also successfully managed to export many of those problems to other countries!

We can, and must, do better...

As a European who lives in Belgium as an expat and who has also lived in other countries, who has travelled a lot and looked at living in the US for a spell, I'm not sure I agree with your comment.  In many ways, the US put up with far more than we do in Europe, I jokingly refer to it as the land of the free and the land of the over regulated (to my expat friends in the US and to my US freinds).  There is perhaps some more freedom once you have the right paperwork, speaking to friends who have move to the US, they talk of the nightmares in getting things set up, they have genuine ID (passport, but no drivers license or social security number and so hit a road block) despite having a green card etc.  how about the taxing of US citizens who live and work abroad on their worldwide income

I personally feel that freedom is a perception rather than a reality in all countries, but for you folks in the US, I kind of wonder whether it has become almost a legend/myth,.  But then, what about my home country, the UK, one of the oldest democracies in the world with women only getting the vote in the early 1900's, or for me in Belgium where I have to prove my kids have been vacinated or else face a fine........ 

I guess this is where I get flamed, but I would challenge anyone anywhere in the world to ask themselves how much freedom they really enjoy.  I'm sure the Chinese could answer this question with a very high degree of certainty, but for me personally, I'm not so sure.......I kind of think that familiarity etc etc 

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land2341
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Re: Hope springs eternal...until it doesn't

This is where so many of these arguments of what went wrong and how to fix it become so muddled.  Safewriter is a wonderful example of what can go right,  and I congratulate her on her success.  And I recognize that NGOs do a huge amount of the charity work in this country.  What I keep running up against is the aspect of the American dream that goes -If I can do it you can too."  The american dream, as written by Horatio Alger was not rags to riches,  it was rags to respectable middle class security.  But that just doesn't have the ring to it does it?  And it was corrupted by the Bernays followers who taught us to think we deserved everything and so should have it.  

OK so most of us agree on that.  But, I choose to spend one night a week teaching a very disadvantaged group of people at the college level.  It is hard because they are so underprepared and most of them face such huge life challenges and stressors.  Most of us are not familiar with how expensive poverty is or how physically draining it is.  Safewriter clearly is!  But, I have many students in my class.  One young lady working full time and in school full time was just granted custody of ehr younger siblings because her father is long gone and her mother is dying of AIDS.  She is very bright and has a great attitude and works very hard.  I let her bring the kids to school several times so she would not have to miss classes.  Most of us on meeting her, if we had the resources,  would want to help her succeed.  And so we should.

But, there are others.  There are people who try hard and join study groups and do every possible extra credit assignment,  but they simply are too far behind already or they just cannot grasp the material.  They are not going to do it.  They are not going to succeed at the extraordinary effort it takes to pull themselves and their children out of poverty because they don't have the brains.  They don't have the support.  They have chronically sick kids,  they have abusive bosses, they have constant transportation problems and yes,  they often have lousy decision making skills.  What do we say of them?  Do we abandon them because they are not bright enough?  Many of them are at least as bright at GW !  But, no one will cushion their falls.   

Yes, NGOs do most of the charity work,  but I worked for them for years and most of my work was getting government money grants and contracts.  Yes, they are NGOs,  but many of them are largely subsidized by government money.

I guess my concern is the idea of throwing out the baby with the bath water.  These problems and their solutions are NOT black and white.  Trying to make them about all or nothing solutions is part of what got us into this problem.  I have hope that what comes may be a great opportunity for our country to remake itself.  But, it won't happen by throwing out all governance,  nor will it come from adding more!  It will come if we learn to get back to basics,  to learn to care for one another out of our own goodness not because the government tells us to.  It will come when we get back  a government that is a tool of the people not of special interests.

We live in a society whose basic premise has been shaped by Adam Smith, Horatio Alger, John Nash and Milton Friedman.  Its a pretty toxic stew.  We need to get back to the one who basic premise was started by Jefferson and Franklin.

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