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It's the great American mystery of our time: why times are getting harder instead of better.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Not in America.
Continuing advances in technology and industrial competitiveness, as well as free trade, were supposed to keep our living standards spiraling ever upwards. By creating more good paying new jobs than whatever might be lost in the changes themselves.
And virtually everything else was supposed to improve, too. Year after year, decade after decade. Faster, sleeker, but more affordable cars, and more accessible and comfortable homes. Miracles in medical care. Etc.
But it didn't. Instead of moving ahead-- or even holding our own-- we've lost ground. In virtually every measure imaginable.
How did it come to this? Isn't technology still advancing? And our worker productivity grew like gangbusters over the past couple generations! So how come our income didn't go up with it, like it did for our parents and grandparents?
And why are we getting hit with a second whammy of soaring prices on everything we buy? Which combines with our stagnant or shrinking income to make us ever poorer with each passing year?
What the hell is going on?
I have the answer. In both short and long forms, to satisfy everyone.
The short answer is that the "pursuit of happiness" is now legally reserved only for the richest Americans and top corporate executives: those who can afford to buy and sell all our top politicians in our overwhelmingly privately financed election campaigns.
Those thoroughly bought politicians then merely enact whatever new laws and regulations their owners tell them to. At our expense!
And we end up funneling ever more of our dwindling incomes to the politicans' masters, via mechanisms of corporate buy outs, lay offs, price inflation, wage cuts, stiff credit card interest rates, outrageous bank fees, and taxes which often end up subsidizing the same rich who buy our elections. Plus lots, lots more. Heck: quite a few of us are sickened, injured, or even killed daily to appease those bosses! Due to tainted food, drink, and drugs not being suitably regulated by government; lax enforcement of workplace and product safety; even fighting in entirely unjustifiable wars, merely to keep the owners' vast military-industrial complex humming (President Eisenhower warned us that was going to happen, way back ages ago).
But such wholesale auctioning off of our rights and freedoms and opportunities couldn't go so smoothly if our mainstream media were an independent entity from big business and government. So the same rich who bought out our politicians had them rewrite the laws so all our major news media outlets would be part of the same apparatus, too. And thereafter quash any stories revealing to us the who, what, whys, and hows of the crimes being perpetrated against us and our children. As well as ignore or ridicule events like public protests against these offenses, in order to better keep us divided and powerless against their 'new world order'.
That's not the whole story, of course. But it's certainly the gist.
Want a mountain load of details and supporting references for all this? Good! For those you can check out the long version of the answer, via the various links below.
While it's true that solving this mystery doesn't change anything, it's also true that identifying the culprits can lead to change. If enough of us want it badly enough.
Of course, there does remain another mystery: that of why so many of us continue to back the never-do-wells who cause these problems for the rest of us over and over again...(the political descendents of the same bunch responsible for the Great Depression and empowering Hitler to start WWII, are well on their way to bringing about similar catastrophes again today! Ugh!)