- Posted April 23, 2012 by
San Leandro, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
iReport Debate: What’s your top issue?
The State of Our Economy
What matters to the American people, today, right now, is that despite all of the spin doctoring, propaganda, and partisan attacks, the economy is suffering on a much greater level than the American people are being led to believe. While we as a society are so conveniently distracted by our iphones, texting,social media, and "reality" shows, our so-called representatives in the House and Senate are playing very dangerous games with our futures and the futures of generations to come.
As Leon Panetta stated recently in a media interview, "The United States is always within an inch of war." Domestically, we already are at war. I live in California. The stated unemployment figures distributed by the government are supposedly somewhere around 10.3 percent, give or take a couple of tenths of a percentage. The real, *actual* unemployment rate? I'd guess somewhere around 20 percent or higher. Older people cannot afford to retire because it is so ridiculously expensive to live here, and their retirement savings have been decimated. College graduates have scarce opportunity to find jobs here because there is no natural turnover occurring in the labor market.
I raised a three year-old while finishing graduate school with a Master's in Human Resource Management, with highest honors. I have distributed hundreds of resumes, and received three phone calls, and one interview for an unpaid internship. I would have gotten the unpaid job but I didn't qualify as an intern having already graduated from school.
That anecdote is written to illustrate how ridiculous things have gotten. A person with a Master's degree cannot even find an unpaid job.
I live in a "middle-class" neighborhood, and we have people coming from adjoining cities to rob our neighborhood weekly. Walk down the street, and you see suspicious people looking in neighbor's cars.
You see people, once employed in good paying jobs in line at local food banks, trying to keep their kids from going hungry. Beat up pickups drive through neighborhoods, scrounging for scrap metal to recycle for whatever price they can get.
I volunteer at my daughter's elementary school, and every time I am there, a child tells me that he or she did not get breakfast, or asks me for lunch money because their parents have no money. One child told me that his father had to shoot the rats in their living room with a pistol because they were overrunning the house. Ah, California, the land of milk and honey.
The milk has soured, the honey gone, and we are left with something eerily akin to the great John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath." The only reason why we don't see the outward suffering like this country did in the first Great Depression is because of tenuous safety nets like Social Security and Medicare. Jettison these programs, and this country would see the real face of the state of the economy, the real hunger, the real suffering. Republican, Democrat, whatever one's political affiliation, can anyone really understand the gravity of that situation? Can one really stomach the thought of standing by and watching one's fellow man and neighbor suffer?
The government doesn't want that. Because when collective suffering reaches its critical mass, and enough people become desperate, angry and hungry, well.....we've seen what happens as played out in the recent Arab uprisings. It could very well happen here unless our paid, elective representatives put aside their partisan, election year posturing, do some soul-searching and actually do what they are paid to do-to create solutions for this country and not leave us to believe that everything is ok. It's not. If left to our own defenses, the people will suffer for only so long before we collectively take matters into our own hands.