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Member since: Wed Jun 2, 2010, 10:04 AM
Number of posts: 81

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The Rigged Game of US Economics Viewed Through the Eyes of My Generation.

My name is Tommy, I'm 25 years old, live in a small city in Georgia and I have lost all hope on finding a job to provide for myself, my wife, and my children. My diabetic father is barely making enough to support himself, much less us as well. He's healthy, even compared to most people my age, but I know that it won't be long before he has to put down the wrench and pumice hand-cleaner and that ASE Certified Master Mechanic coat he's so proud of.

Seven years ago, with a head full of ideas and the love of computers, I started my own PC repair and consultation business. I knew everything I needed to know and had my certifications so I knew I could do a good job, and I did. I won several awards from local newspapers, small business organizations, and so-on. Things were going great. I was recently married, had a child on the way, and was living the American dream. I was able to rent a decent home and furnish it how I wanted, I had plenty of food, and I was genuinely happy. I was going to college online at what I thought was a reputable school (my uncle graduated from the place back in the 80s but apparently they had become a for-profit joint). Things were absolutely great. That is, until the economy fell flat on its face. Business became slower and slower. On top of that, a multi-national group bought the strip mall my shop was in and doubled the rent. The die-cast factory, beef processing plant, and uniform manufacturing plant in my town closed down, putting thousands out of work. Most of my clients worked there. Some were older and living off of retirement or Social Security, but the majority were 30-60 year-olds that were still working. In 2011, after trying to fight through it for a few months, I gave in and shut my doors. I was forced to move my family in with my father, my son was two, and I had another child on the way.

Three years of building something great from the ground up was destroyed in a matter of five months. I kept working as much as I could on a call-by-call basis, but it was nowhere near the same. Before, I was bringing in around 800 a week after putting money back for the business and paying my apprentice. My apprentice brought home about 450-500 a week depending on workflow, which is a very livable wage where I live. Now, I was lucky to make 200-300 a week, if I made anything at all, and had to get on Food Stamps. I was forced to quit school since I was simply too stressed to be able to clearly focus. It was also at this point where my heart began to act odd. Medicaid wouldn't cover me so I still have no idea what's wrong with me, but I've learned to manage.

I received a call about a year or so after I moved in with my father from Great Lakes Lending saying that I was about to default on my $22,000 student loan. I, having no knowledge of taking out a loan, was absolutely dumbfounded. After calling the school, the lending institution, and various other entities for several days, I finally determined what had happened. The school that I attended falsified various documents in order to take out loans against students, even if they had scholarships which covered their tuition. I reported this to the Department of Education, but action has yet to be taken and I'm still sitting on a pile of debt that I have no hope of paying back.

Every day since I closed the shop, I've scanned the classifieds, visited employment websites, went to the local GA Department of Labor office, and placed applications at various locations, even places far outside of my comfort zone. The few interviews I received went well but I'd never get a call back, and if I did they would all say, "You're too skilled for this position," which I have learned means, "You'd do a great job, maybe too great, and we'd end up having keep you on and pay you more than the pittance that we can pay someone else that we can fire before the 90 day period is up."

For someone with trained skills, twelve IT certifications, hundreds of people lining up to give wonderful references, and a proven record of self-leadership, you would think that they'd be the perfect candidate for a position doing almost anything clerical, support, or IT related. But apparently not. The few companies that swooped in to pick at the corpse of our local economy require no formal education, pay minimum wage, and refuse to hire those with professional experience.

The far right have been pining for this since the Emancipation Proclamation. They no longer could have the slaves that they had, so they had to begin manufacturing new ones. As labor unions and laws are struck down, and laws protecting moneyed corporate interests are ratified, my generation is dying. We're fighting for an education that is being stolen from us by those who wish to make a profit. We're fighting for a living wage which we can't possibly obtain because the multi-billionaire owners of these companies absolutely must have five yachts this year instead of four. We're fighting for medical care that we can't receive because hospitals have shareholders that they must appease and insurance companies are only looking out for their bottom-line. We're sitting here, realizing that the people of the US are nothing but slaves to their corporate masters.

We once had hope that the Democratic party would fight for us, but they sit there and let the likes of Captain Turtle and The Orange Avenger order them around. The few decent liberal politicians are shoved down and shouted out by the far right in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Those of us in my generation, like myself, who wants to get into local politics can't due to if you don't have a R next to your name and scream "JESUS LIKES GUNS AND SHOOTING BROWN PEOPLE!" you can't get elected.

Now I sit here as my son plays on the floor and watches PBS, my daughter bundled up in her bed while she gets over a stomach bug, and my wife curled up in our bed sleeping off a long night with our daughter. I type this out, hoping that people understand that we want to work. We want an education. We want to have the chances our grandparents had. But that was stolen away in favor of massive profits and outsourcing. And my children won't have much of a chance if something doesn't change, and fast.

A little bit of inspiration for you all

Who do you think you are? Are you an individual with your own mind, your own will, your own beliefs, or are you a mindless drone being ordered around by your masters? Do you determine the true best solution or do you let those who proclaim power tell you what you will think.

A man who blindly follows is a man who will surely be cast aside. Society, even when stamped down and told to conform, can not suffer the foolish. Those who believe that the youth are doomed because they stand up for their rights are blindly led into that belief. For every man, woman, and child is born to this earth with the rights to true freedom. To wake up every day and proclaim "Today, I am my own king." That no man should ever have dominion over another. With that right comes a responsibility, the responsibility to stamp out tyranny where-so-ever it stands.

I say to those that proclaim power over us, soon we shall stand upon your thrones of concrete and steel and proclaim "Vae victis!" Woe to the vanquished ones! For the time of the oligarch is short, and the age of the free man has come.
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