Capitalism’s Future is Neigh

               Capitalism. There are diehard adherents to a system which has proven to be fundamentally flawed and only cares about the almighty dollar sign. Capitalism does have its benefits, it is a relatively free system when considered with other closed economy systems as communism practiced in the Soviet Union and one geared towards war under the National Socialists or Nazis in Germany. Capitalism alone did not defeat tyranny, because the governments of the “free world” controlled prices, rationed materials, food stuffs, other consumer goods, and unleashed the Arsenal of Democracy. Capitalism is a good system of government and the nearly unchecked capitalism of the United States is not prepared or will ever be ready to handle the future of humanity.

               Unregulated capitalism is a dream of many people, often the well-off, rich investor class because apparently, they need a second ten million dollars yacht, a new private jet, or their forth home! Oh, the humanity of being rich, sorry, the humanity of being a “job creator”. Spare me the faux outrage about the millionaires and billionaires complaining, most of them are not actually job creators. Small businesses still create the majority of jobs in today’s market, while most of the layoffs occur at mega corporations. There are only a few corporations which appear to have an employees’ wellbeing in mind and provide them with good health, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off, and sick leave. Even these corporations make mistakes, Netflix has appeared to let higher-level executive and soon-to-be-mom go because she was pregnant. And Netflix was supposed to be one of the good companies to work for. Not all mega corporations are bad, and not all small businesses are good, but most small businesses are more employee friendly.

               There is a fantasy among the diehards of unregulated capitalism that says the market will correct itself and care for people. This unhinged delusion has been proven wrong again and again, corporations only care about the bottom line and pleasing shareholders. The idea of trickledown economics of giving the mega rich more money, will trickle down to the lower people is bullshit to the highest degree. The idea of trickledown has been tried three times, during Reagan, George W. Bush, and Trump, and only thing it has done is create rack up the national debt and accelerated the income inequality between poor and rich.

               Do mega corporations care for their people? Yes, as long as they are able to make money for them, other than that, it is a resounding, hell no. Is there a blizzard headed your way, and is your work to slow to call off because they adamantly believe the storm will fizz out or not be as bad as the meteorologists say? Well, you better get to work! And if they do call off, they may let you take a vacation or paid time off time to make up for the pay – assuming they provide you the luxury of having that benefit. God forbid if you get sick, not every employer offers paid sick leave or even more deathly, paid bereavement leave. I am a firm believer that the government should mandate at a minimum, five vacation days, five paid time off days, five sick days, and five bereavement days – all at an employee’s full rate of pay.

               Why the government? Because corporations have shown themselves time again and again not to care about the best interest of their employees, and a lot of times about their own customers. Corporations tend to ask their employees to consider the interests of the corporation or business over their own, and yes there does need to be some leeway here between employer and employee. However, an employee should not be treated as a number, but rather a human being who deserves a work-life balance. An employee who feels appreciated, who gets time off to relax, time to take care of a sick child, family member, or themselves, to mourn the loss of a friend or loved one, these are the type of employees a business wants. But besides hollow words of valuing their employees (or in new age lingo, team members), do employees (corporate overlords) offer? Not much in times of time off, sick leave, or leeway with attendance issues. Oh, is it a blizzard outside and the state highways and interstate are closed? Well, take extra time but don’t be late because our bottom line comes before your safety! Though, we might cancel if the Apocalypse happens, but don’t hold your breath!

               Very few corporations or large businesses care about their employees besides the laws that have been enacted – and even then, they donate millions of dollars to lobbyists to persuade lawmakers to enact new laws which strip away at hard won benefits. From “right to work states”, lawsuits argued all the way to the Supreme Court to strip away union dues, labeling employees as “independent contractors”, wage theft by restaurant owners from the servers, the list goes on and on. A new movement has been born, one being waged by progressives to help reverse the dangerous course that has been paved by capitalism. Other countries, most predominantly in Europe, offer a milder form of government and capitalism, something that Bernie Sanders and AOC have called democratic socialism.

               There is a backlash against capitalism, one which has run amok for decades in the United States. There was little consequence towards the big banks in helping cause the Great Recession in 2008. There is little jail time or financial penalties to companies which regularly defraud, misled, or mistreat customers, investors, or the government agencies which are meant to regulate them. To me, capitalism has only one group of people to blame: themselves. A lot of politicians and upper management of businesses should act as if the lower classes should be benevolent about having a job, but in reality, a lot people need a full-time job and a part-time job just to survive.

               Businesses like to tout their “excellent” benefits package but upon closer examinations its usually just hogwash because most of the benefits have been mandated by legislation. Companies have mostly eliminated pensions because it costs them a great deal of money, instead employees are offered to create 401k plans, are lucky if their employer matches an employee’s contribution (some do up to a certain percentage). Burdened with low wages, high costs of living, healthcare, and sometimes not enough hours, very few millennials and a substantial portion of Generation X have been able to save up for retirement. My generation (I’m an older millennial) is forecasted to be less well off than our parents, a first since the Great Depression.

               America is at a crossroads, the future of a better society rests on the general election in 2020, otherwise by the time the next general election comes around, it may be too late.

The Youthful Inexperienced Fallacy

              There is nothing wrong with a person’s age. Whenever a younger person as an opinion, or takes a stance, there is criticism about the person’s age. Yes, young people make mistakes, they can be naïve, ambitious, foolhardy, and full of themselves, but so can everybody else. The consensus is the older one gets, the wiser one acts, this isn’t always the case as witnessed the numerous politicians, their elderly supporters, and those who constantly bash millennials and post-millennials as being lazy, entitled, naïve, full of themselves, and lacking experience in the real world.

                Some of the three youngest heroes of the American Revolutionary War are John Laurens, son of Henry Laurens, who was in the Continental Congress and later its President. Next is Alexander Hamilton, and then Layfette, all of them in their late teens until mid-twenties from the start to end of the war. Though the life expectancy of people was a lot lower then, and norms way different than today, it does not change the fact that three young people were very fundamental in serving General Washington as aides, advisers, and field commanders in winning the war. They were surrogate sons who made up the military family of the commander and chief, and their opinions were valued.

               Shortly after the Parkland school shooting, a common criticism lobed against those who spoke up is they were young teenagers who knew nothing about the world. Yes, it is a common complaint about younger generations, they are ignorant, they don’t have much experience in the world and how it works, and so forth. In their defense, we were all teenagers once, and our dreams reached for the stars. We do grow up and see our dreams tempered by setbacks, by whose who wish for us to fail, and because the economy and great game of life has been stacked in favor of the rich and those who are already in power.

               The young people of today have the most to lose from inaction taken by politicians and business leaders who currently control the halls of power. Climate change is the biggest challenge, one which a lot of older people seem to ignore. The world is certainly changing, and yes it has always gone through periods of change, but the rate of change is something we have never experienced before. Younger people are pushing businesses to be more aware of their environmental impacts, and businesses have responded by launching recycling initiatives, redesigns of products to use less plastic, and making products from alternative energy sources like wind and solar. The green revolution is still young, but AOC’s Green New Deal is promising because it will not only help Americans in trying to stave off the direst effects of climate change, it will create a lot of new jobs. Green energy employs more people than coal, which even without the expansion of alternative energy was losing jobs.

               The millennial and post-millennial generations are not only trying to save America (and humanity) from climate change, but from the massive income inequality. There will always be income inequality, the top echelon of management will always make more than the lowest worker, however it doesn’t need to be a massive 300 times more. The young people of today overwhelmingly support legislation which will help restore the top rates to closer to the times when the government invested money into policies which made life better for people. Higher tax rates in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s allowed for expansion of Medicaid and Medicare, the Interstate Highway System, the Space Program, and research and development of other technologies, leading to arguably one of the most important: The Internet.

               The youth of the nation is important and there is a dire need to make sure the current and future generations are well served by a government that cares for their wellbeing. Everybody deserves the chance to go to school and succeed, to progress to technical schools or universities free of cost. Everybody deserves affordable healthcare for themselves and their children, and should not have to worry about missing a day of work and pay for calling in to care for a child, and elderly parent, or themselves.

               I don’t think youth and the perceived lack of experience from youth is as bad as people make it out to be. I believe by being young, you aren’t exactly set in stone about how things operate, how things have always been done, you are willing to try new things. In America, the youngest president we have ever elected was JFK at 42, and before him, Teddy Roosevelt was 43 – though he wasn’t elected president until he was older (he became President on McKinley’s death). Currently Mayor Paul Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana is running for President in the 2020 cycle, he is 37. Sure, there have been other young contenders like William Jennings Bryan aged 36 in 1896, and Al Gore aged 39 in 1988. Age isn’t everything and the way the baby boomers have run America since acquiring power, really makes me believe we need the millennials in power to help save the country and the world.