05 October 2011

We Lazy Americans

There is a point where you have to say that there is someone, some people, mostly from the top 4% of earners here in America are waging a class warfare battle with the other 96% of us. And they are counting on our laziness to do nothing about it. 

I got a letter the other day from Citibank, notifying me that they are going to start charging a monthly fee for checking. I having a checking account, and even paying by a check is old fashion. And there was a time, perhaps, when I was younger when I thought everything my mother stuck to in the world was old fashion as well. I mean, as I’ve gotten older, a lot of things became convenient, like buying books, music and movies. Why stand in line at the movie theater? You can buy your tickets online, print them up and walk in 5 minutes before the show began (but still bitch about the long concession line, though) now.

And sure, there were “extra” charges for those conveniences; surcharges when buying those concert tickets. We grumbled about paying them, yet it was more convenient than going down to record stores and waiting overnight for them. And now since music stores, like Tower Records, have been shuttled into the past (due to the convenience downloading music), brushed away like leaves on a fall afternoon, where else do you get concert tickets?

Online, of course. Where you pay a premium for the convenience of not going to the box office and risk getting crappy seats, or finding the show sold out. 

The point is, fees have are going up as lazy Americans continue to think anything mundane, like going grocery shopping, going to the bank, the post office, the book store or what not interferes with their watching Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, and every damn show on Bravo. And then texting about it to their friends –cause talking the phone or seeing people face to face is becoming inconvenient as well.
Anyways, back to the point. 

We are being coddled, herded like cows to the slewing machines due to our inability to see the forest for the trees.   

The rich get rich, the poor get poorer. 

It’s a phrase we heard all our lives. And it’s a true phrase, though, no matter how the rich try to spin it. Since the dawn of man, we’ve learned one thing: it’s easy to exploit the will of the people, especially the weakest. Of course, like in the animal world, the weakest are killed off, only the strongest survives. And we humans have adapted that one philosophy of the animal world into ours. But we are not animals, insects or plants. We are human beings, with brains that are so expansive, we’ve hardly tapped into those capabilities.
And why not? Well, because it’s convenient not too, because it’s easier to devour the weakest, instead of helping them. And while there is always going to be ones who exploit the help we are given, there percentage is small. But we punish everyone because of it.

With our current government in the thrall of corporate America, where do we as Americans draw the line in the sand? How many more people will be exploited, surcharged, beaten down like a rabid dog before we realize that rabid dog is a human being?

Are the rich the only ones entitled to free things? 

Well they worked hard for what they got, some would say, so why should they have to pay for things like, for Christ sake, a checking account?

See, starting in December, “customers who hold its mid-level Citibank Account will be charged $20 a month if they fail to maintain a minimum balance of $15,000 in their combined accounts. Previously, account holders had to carry a minimum balance of $6,000.” Now, the laws of averages dictate that not all of Citibank’s customers can do this, especially working class people of modest means, mostly people making less than $30,000 a year. What percentages of those people will get stuck paying this fee, while the huge wage earners, say anyone making $75,000 or more a year, will pay nothing? 

The way I see it, a lot. So yes, the rich will get richer because they will pay no fees, while the lower middle class gets closer to being the poor. 

It’s basic math folks; you’re being ripped off. But you let it go, because banks know your lazy and won’t move to a credit union because it will be inconvenient to trudge down to said bank, pull your money out, drive someplace else, fill out all the new paperwork, wait for a new debit card to come via the mail (of all things).  

Corporate America, who has used mutated math to explain how ripping you off is actually good for you, will continue to exploit the middle class and, especially the poor, until someone, large groups of people, stand up for themselves. We are not David’s against a Goliath that is Corporate America; we are human beings who should treat other human beings with dignity.

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