From the Publisher: What’s Happening?

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Arnold G. York

Why are Americans so angry? 

– We’re at peace.

– The economy is growing.

– Unemployment is down.

– Job growth is up.

– Inflation rate is low and stable.

– Real estate values are high.

– We’ve come out of the recession.

– Our high-tech industry is the envy of the world.

– We’re doing better then most of the industrial world.

– There is no draft.

– Our children are not dying in foreign wars.

– We’re healthier.

– We’re living longer.

– Walk in to any restaurant or bar and they are all busy.

 

But across the board, Americans are unhappy.

So what’s going on?

What’s going on is that there are a lot of Americans who are not sharing in the world I just described and they are angry about it.

They feel betrayed; they feel sold out by leaders who only remember them at election time and then promptly forget them for the next four years.

They live in towns and cities where industry has fled, where stores are boarded up on Main Street, where the customers are gone and their children gone too because the kids have left for greener pastures. There are no buyers for their homes, and in many places, their cities and towns are dying. Go to the rust belt — the industrial cities of the Midwest, many areas of the agricultural south — and you see it.

All of this has a profound effect on our economy and our state of mind.

Young people are not getting married or they are delaying marriage. They’re having children later, having fewer children or not having children at all. They’re not buying that car, that first house or that baby furniture. They’re both working to make ends meet and they’re still not getting ahead. They’re paying off education debt and hesitant to take on new debt. Childcare costs them at least $1,000 per month. They don’t trust American industry to insure them a fair future. They don’t believe that hard work will be rewarded. That’s not paranoia — that’s reality. They’ve seen their friends get laid off when a company slashed an entire division. They’ve watched their employers get acquired by another company and suddenly there is a cutback in the workforce. They see factories and now white-collar work move to foreign, cheaper countries. They know people who have been out of work for a long time. Their future looks bleak, and they’re depressed and angry.

Those are the people you see at the Donald Trump rallies. Those are the people you see at the Bernie Sanders rallies. They may have totally different political philosophies, but they’re expressing the same emotion.

Trump says you’re a victim. You’ve been victimized by the elites, the establishment. They keep promising you a better tomorrow and that it’s not happening and it’s not going to happen if you keep reelecting the same people, so take a chance on something different. Take a chance, what have you got to lose? Go with The Donald — your life couldn’t be any worse.

Sanders basically says the same thing except this time, the bad guys are Wall Street, the big banks and big industry, but it’s the same populist tune. What’s scary is that both of them may be right.

Our world has changed, and today, it’s global. That means that American companies are selling to a world, and we Americans are just not as important to them as we used to be. They are not as dependent on us as a market when they have the world to sell to. They are not as dependent on us as a labor force when they can produce anywhere, wherever they can get the best deal. We may be the home to many of the world’s most successful corporations, but those dollars are not coming back to the United States and creating new jobs and new industry. They are not paying the taxes they did formerly, which means the rest of us have to pick up he slack.

Everywhere people look, they see enormous inequality, and they see it growing. They see the middle class shrinking, and fear for their futures and their children’s futures. I really don’t believe this is just a passing phase. I believe the social compact has been broken, and people are looking at the promise that was America and wondering what the future will look like. A lot of things caused this state of affairs: globalism, new technology, robots, the Internet and buyable government. The world is changing, and government and the laws have not caught up with the impacts. The American middle class has been stuck in a rut for the last 30 years, and our government hasn’t wanted to (or been able to) do a thing about it. Well, 30 years is long enough, and for those who feel we already have too much government, I’m not sure they’ll still feel that way when the villagers come calling with burning torches in their hands, because that seems to be where we are headed.