I should be deported

Creative Commons: zazor

I’m feeling un-American today because I don’t believe in unlimited and unchecked capitalism.

I fully expect the government will break down my door at any moment and deport me to Mexico, Canada or Australia, the latter being warmer and my first choice. Australia has a beautiful ocean to swim in, though it’s filled with American-eating sharks and Californian-hating jellyfish.

But every location has something that will kill you. We have gangs, wildfires, bad drivers and earthquakes here in L.A.

I don’t believe when banks and other financial institutions gamble their customers’ money on risky schemes – so complicated that their top executives can’t explain them – the government should bail them out – an action some might call temporary (and convenient) socialism.

I also don’t believe these executives should avoid jail time for shady investment and loan practices and for robbing us of our tax dollars.

Hold it, now I’m confused. Does that make me a capitalist and true American because I’ll let the free market play out? Businesses that go broke, like Bank of America, would fail?

Can I stay in the USA now?

Hold on, Unknown Idiot, here’s an even more confusing thought: How can anyone hate the government and love capitalism when they’re almost the same these days?

Democrats and Republicans continue to strip mine regulations to encourage capitalism at any cost – don’t forget what allowed banks to go to Vegas with your money. But the icing on the money cake is that many of the banking and Wall St. scoundrels are working in the Obama administration right now or are still in congress.

I feel like a man alone rowing his boat in the middle of an ocean full of dollar-worshipping hogs.

I don’t believe companies will do the right thing with zero regulation. Most of them will always choose profit at any cost over the welfare of their human capital and health of U.S citizens (fracking anyone?). And I understand that’s blasphemy to point out. (Fox says not to mention my respect for unions right now.)

But here’s the real reason I’ll be deported to a shark-infested beach in the South Pacific Ocean: I suck at getting rich.

Despite our income being in the top 5 percent of earners, I have failed at every attempt to get rich.

Creative Commons: AKphotos

You see, anyone can become a millionaire in this country, they say, especially millionaires who started with a million dollars.

And though I feel like I’ve worked hard and invested, and my wife and I have been frugal by not buying many new clothes, or living in a large house beyond our means, or freeing our kitchen of its shabby Home Depot cabinets and crumbling grout, I am a failure at getting rich.

And that’s not to be tolerated in this country where anyone can be part of the elite one percent of earners if they work hard. It bothers me every day of my life and I feel like a loser.

I should tattoo a big “$” and “L” on my forehead.

Or I could paint “I sold my Apple stock at $40” on my chest and ask Congress if they’d let me have a do-over. Something tells me that’s not going to happen.

Immigration Department, I’m ready. Come get me. Take me away. Feed me to the jellyfish down under. At least, they’re transparent.

******

[Here’s a great movie on the subject discussed: Inside Job, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inside_Job_(film)%5D

[A great essay on one percenters in NYC. Long but great. http://www.truth-out.org/reign-one-percenters/1317665855]

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9 thoughts on “I should be deported

  1. As well, written and provocative as this was – for me at least – you were preaching to the converted!

    I spent my formative years in Australia, moved to the UK for a year and then to the US for 10 years. I’m now back in Australia, as you know. But I feel if nothing else, it has given me enough credibility to comment with some knowledge on this subject.

    America, for all the positive things it has going got it (and it truly does, coming from an outsiders perspective), what is sad to me is that the ‘middle class’ (or upper middle class) will always (as you so eloquently described), feel like failures. For me, after living in 2 different states of the US what I noticed, was a real sense that everyone is trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses” (whoever they are).

    People bought new cars every few years – even though it meant a larger and often stressful car payment. They bought bigger homes, or renovated, they vacation in luxury resorts, they wear designer clothes – as do their kids. They buy the latest electronics, the furniture and decor in the homes are truly a sight to behold – it all coordinates perfectly – and looks like an (Australian) ‘Home Beautiful” magazine cover! There was a LOT of pressure to be seen as someone successful.

    I get that this probably isn’t the case everywhere, but in the circles we traveled it was universally the case. And when you got to know someone on an intimate level, more often than not, they were unhappy. They were in debt, feeling overwhelmed and like failures and the “Stuff” wasn’t making the life they hoped it would, and it wasn’t making them happy either.

    Here in Aus, and in the UK where I was living (though my time was brief), people drive 10 and 15 year old cars. If the car works, is in good condition and isn’t causing problems, they don’t replace it. “Why would you?” they ask. Why would you take on car payment when you own a car outright that works perfectly and is comfortable for all that need it? Why indeed.

    Homes are not as large, decor is not as elaborate and doesn’t coordinate as well… ‘kids clothes do the same job if they are purchased at Target’ I hear the mothers reason. My son attends the best private school in our area (I believe in good schooling). Few cars are new, even fewer would be considered “luxury”. Kids don’t have the latest ipod and ipad, (they need to get a job and save up for one themselves if they want one is a pretty universal response).

    The one difference i have noted where we Aussies DO spend more, is in vacations. Australia offers all full-time workers 4 weeks paid vacation a year – standard. If you are a government or corporation you get an EXTRA 17.5% “loading” on top of your regular salary amount when you take holidays…I have no idea why, but its an awesome rule!

    We know how to relax and do it well, and apparently, often. Most middle class families take overseas vacations every few years. Almost all go away on vacation for at least a few weeks domestically.

    But we cut corners on the smaller stuff. Its rare people pay for cable TV (we have about 12 free channels that include most popular US shows including those seen on cable like Weeds or Californication – we’re liberal like that!), men mow their own yards as a rule, and clean their own pools. Women iron the clothes and don’t often use the dry cleaner and clean their homes ( oh how I miss my American house cleaner!!)

    There isn’t a starbucks on every corner, so we’re not spending on daily coffee – we make it at home. When we do go out, cafes are for coffee AND cake (if you’re going out, dammit we may as well celebrate!) Beaches, rainforests, hiking, lakes are all free. There are a lot of community-type places that are free that I didn’t really see in the US.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I am a lover of the USA, and I myself miss many of these conveniences, but being ‘home’ now for just on a year I realize that without our car payment (we bought our cars for cash when we got here), and all those extras, we are a lot happier.

    We don’t care about the Joneses – and our friends here don’t either. People are judged much more on WHO they are, rather than WHAT they are. If you’re a rich asshole, no one will kiss your butt. I promise! If you are a genuinely nice and respectful person, we don’t care what you drive or where you live (as long as there is beer!).

    For me, this was a good choice. I am happy to raise my son with these stands and ethics, I hope that someday the corruption that seems so rife in the US ends and that a more reachable lifestyle becomes the norm and people can see how “stuff” and “impressions” are just that – nothing that will matter when you are 90 years old and have only your memories.

    As for the politicians and the banks…oh don’t get me started on those bailouts!!!

    As for all the killer animals here – we’ve been here a year, live on the coast in the country and haven’t seen anything that will kill you yet! As grandpa used to say all those years ago “he’s more scared of you than you are of him” – they would prefer to be away from you, just as you would prefer to be away from them!

    Come on over for a visit, Australia will welcome you, and the water is fine!

    (U.C. Please feel free to delete this rather long post! Just wanted to send it to you, for your own perusal given your subject of choice)

      • Well of course you may, though if I had known that I would have been a little more grammatically correct, and thrown a few titbits of wit and humor 🙂 My husband read it after I posted and said; “Damn, your long winded as a commenter too!” (Of course he revels in my verbal dissertations on what’s wrong with the world, really!)

  2. I like your thinking on this subject and fully endorse you moving from one British colony to another! Although I have a warm and cosy shed that you can stay in for a reasonable price (£1000 per week) ;-}
    Btw liking the blog a day and look forward to reading them everyday.

    • Sir Sean of EnglandShire,

      1000 pounds a week? Robbery, my friend. Do I think I’m a Wall Street banker and have a pocket full of shillings? Please build an addition on to your house and I’ll bring the family for a couple of years.

      UC of Brokesville

  3. Up the revolution. Heads on spikes. #OccupyWallStreet and my street if you like. I will undercut Sean and you can have my shed for £950, but you have to bring your own duvet.

    • Matt Hatter,

      We have a name for you and Sean in this country: Slum lords. At least you’ll feel like royalty with that title. Both of you are charging too much. What a rip off. I’d like the non-friend rate, please.

      I do in fact have my own duvet. It has three princesses on it and Sir Sean is quite jealous of it and would steal it if I left it out somewhere.

      UC

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