Neoliberalism 2024: The Math’s Not Mathing

Photograph Source: NTSBgov – Public Domain

Bridges being knocked down, the average income needed to meet basic needs being unavailable to most, thousands dying yearly from a lack of medical care, worker productivity through the roof without a commensurate increase in wages…… What a time to be alive in the United States.

The great irony in all of this is that the teeth of doom in terms of climate change haven’t really chomped down to be the causative factor for any of these problems. No, these miseries are directly caused by the old fashioned, deadly sin of greed. The entire system is now predicated on funneling wealth to the very few at the expense of the many. One simply needs to look at a graph showing worker productivity over the last few decades and the graph with adjusted income….hint, they do not track each other. In the 50’s and 60’s, they pretty much did. The proliferation of billionaires at this time is a clear and undeniable indicator that we are part of a machine transforming actual work into unspendable riches for the few. Americans are almost universally in financial tight wire situations if not outright off the tight wire, maimed on the floor as the circus continues above. A situation of just hoping a peanut falls in your mouth and the elephant doesn’t step on you.

All it takes it a medical crisis, an upside down mortgage, overwhelming increases in home flood insurance, a decision from management that you are too old for a job (or too young), not to mention the wages are terrible….. then that’s basically it—game over as far as your chance at this “American Dream”.

Of course this is not what a healthy nation looks like. One simply needs to look around at the dilapidated infrastructure to realize that we are on a terrible trajectory. Funds are present, but they are being funneled to corporations with little to no regulatory oversight. It’s become comical but true that needing a drug for something like chronic hepatitis infection without insurance—well it’s probably cheaper to obtain by flying to India and buying it there (cheaper including the flight and lodging even). This, because our politicians do not protect the citizens from forms of health extortion to shore up the funds for their donors. Don’t believe me? Take any medication name you see advertised on television. Of course you have to tune in to traditional tv during something like the evening news. It’s wall to wall drug ads. But then do a google search to see what those medications cost elsewhere. You’ll be shocked at the truth, and even more sickened than you were from needing that med. Americans are treated in a parasitic manner: want to live, be free of that life-long infection, rid yourself of cancer? Well, it’s going to cost you. It’s not legal to jack up your plywood prices when a hurricane is headed your way, but it is accepted and approved of that those at their most vulnerable are given this type of medical cost extortion.

This is all so very necessary because Nancy Pelosi continues to need quite an ROI from her stock picks (to keep those ice cream freezers stocked). You also need amazing healthcare to still be alive through a pandemic at her age. That’s what the rank and file American is here for, to generate Rocky Road as we drive to work on….pothole covered streets.

At this point, the only growth occupation is that of being a Mothman (he can’t keep up with so much infrastructure falling apart, his job is to warn about such things). He does need help but—sadly it’s an unpaid internship to work with the Mothman, so really only legacy ivy league types with already present funds need apply. But if you can work for a year or so with him without pay, you might have a true position available later. Also, make sure you have a Masters before submitting your CV. THe Mothman has a good job without a degree, but what can you say? He got into that position back in the 60’s. 

So that Key Bridge incident was probably an accident, okay, but we see a nation putting no thought or funds into preventative measures. Nothing like structures to diminish the chance that a floating Walmart could just clock a bridge without even a maritime speed-bump in front of the bridge. The technology is there to have a long, harbor spanning bridge, but oh no, we draw the line at even cursory tech to prevent a mechanical collision. Technology similar to what has been put in place in Florida after a similar disaster on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over 40 years ago. The technology is there, but not used until a disaster occurs (if then). I guess they figure it’s worth the lives and misery and also, that infrastructure money needs to go to Israel and Ukraine. That printed into existence stuff can’t be used just anywhere. Most likely the funds will be found for the wholesale rebuilding of the bridge in terms of lucrative contracts and the use of poor labor to ensure maximum profit for the corporations (the type of labor who is too scared to go to the hospital after being thrown into the harbor—you know the kind of labor, big business wants because of just that vulnerability). Disaster Capitalism, as they say. Gotta make lemonade from lemons (with the use of low paid labor who lack an ability to complain about abuse due to the lemonade lobby power in DC). Those workers also have a convenient habit of just disappearing when injured and their presence helps keep the working class of America angry at someone besides the corporate overlords. Win-Win.

I’m sure this is a downtrend seen globally, but those traveling outside of the US often come back with a sense of wonder as far as the pure trash state of this nation compared with the places they’ve been. Most Americans just don’t have the ability to travel much to see the realities of other nations. I’ve traveled very little outside of the US, but did get to make a trip to Iceland a couple years ago. I came back with a sense of the surreal, the differences were so profound. The lack of gun violence was of course marked and amazing, but the simple air of decency was palpable. Coming back to the US felt like coming to a place governed by wolves in sheep’s clothing, a sense of no collective concern for the well being of others. It’s more of a “thank god, I’m not on the street without a home, instead of …..what on earth is wrong and what can we do to fix this mess?” It’s very much a nation of traumatized and unmoored individuals. Without a sense of community or the notion that your fellow citizens care if you live or die—it’s a hard thing to begin to feel empathy for others yourself. I think this describes the horrifying lack of concern in regard to the ongoing genocide in Gaza. It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy. Most in the US aren’t even beginning to get their mental and emotional needs met and have little emotional space left to care about others. That and the fact that they are also woefully ignorant about who is suffering the casualties in that genocide. It’s shocking to find out about half the people don’t even know who is actually dying over there in massive numbers. They seem to think there’s some kind of parity between Israel and Palestine. Again, if you are in survival mode, you don’t generally seek out information such as this. You just believe what you are fed and move on to your next personal trauma.

The politicians act as if nothing can be done, so it’s understandable most people feel that way too—no improvements can be had and that those of us questioning this state of affairs are the ones who are considered crazy. Yet funds are found in heaping mounds for international slaughters of all kinds. I’ve seen our Congress referred to as nothing more than an arms dealer at this point. I think there’s validity to that point.

I’d also say the clearest indication of a nation falling apart would be the rise in individuals with no safe shelter. This is an undeniable reality check and instead of using funds or technology to help (like providing some basic shelter) the impetus seems to be using state of the art, expensive drones to “see into” campers and tents to monitor for souls to harass. Saying it is dystopian is an understatement.

And what choices are lining up for the presidential election? An old genocider and an old grifter rapist? Both manned the helm and plunged the nation into a long-covid stupor. Biden helped give us the laws assisting perma-indebtedness over his career, helped us get that sucky Supreme Court by treating Anita Hill in the most reprehensible manner– he’s just a run of the mill plagiaristic, violence-peddling dick, really. And Trump. How the hell did this guy ever get anywhere beyond selling cars he ran the odometer backwards on? I know he never was in the used car business, but in my mind that’s his true calling. A nasty little lot in some rural hellscape–he takes advantage of people who can’t afford their payments, but will hold off on repossession for the young women who desperately make “deals” with him. You can see it, right? You just know that’s him in a parallel reality. You can get one of his cars cheaper if he accidently got orange paint stains all over the backseat from one of his dalliances. But anyway, this  RFK sounds nice with his list of women he had affairs with and rated 1-10 in terms of sex acts (prior to his ex-wife being found…. hung herself, they say). What stellar individuals. How could it get worse? How can anyone find this to be anything but the end of Empire? Nero could at least play the violin. I don’t think any of these guys can even play an instrument,

And the gall of many older Americans bemoaning a lowered birth rate is beyond comical. A nation that eats its own, provides no safety net, diverts what funds it has to fund genocide. Oh wow. Sign me up generationally, I want some great grandchildren to get a taste of that! Never mind the baby registry on Amazon, I’m going to try to get my baby into the most prestigious meat grinder faction of the armed forces even before they are born. .

So my fervent hope at this time is that those of us of like mind will continue to hold out and survive and something new will arise out of these ashes. I’m certain that other times in history felt even more oppressive and impossible. How did the slave in 1700s Louisiana feel, the native populations watching the vast majority of citizens succumb to illness and/or slavery? Since large scale society with clear hierarchy reared its ugly head, humans have gone out of their way to make each other miserable. The worst types flourish in such social arrangements, so what we are coming across is nothing new. The looming collapse of systems such as ocean currents that provide cooling for South America and warmth for Europe are the new wild cards, however. How this all plays out is unclear, but one thing is certain. Things cannot continue as they are—the math is simply not mathing.

Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest. Her writing is collected on her Substack page.