The title kind of says it all. I remember those times. Perhaps I’m part of the last generation which will remember such times. I know prior generations held firmly to the belief. No matter where they came from, any able bodied person who found themselves in the ghetto hated being there and worked any job they could find to get out of the ghetto. Today this isn’t the case. Sadly many people think being a person who games the welfare system, a gang banger, and/or a drug dealer is something to which they should aspire.
During the 1980s there was a TV mini series (or movie broadcast over several nights) whose name I cannot remember. It featured some well known actors of the day, but, the brain cells containing those names have long since expired in my mind. I still remember the most influential scenes. A lady of the rather wealthy class was walking around the docks of New York (not considered a lady like thing then or now) looking for people out of work. She belonged to an organization of women who believed the way to end crime in the city was to put everybody to work. (An organization we truly need today!) These women didn’t just spout campaign rhetoric, they walked the docks, found able bodied people who were out of work and marched them over to dock bosses. They got them hired through sheer force of will and their connections in society. There were scenes throughout the film which let you know that this particular dock boss owed this particular lady big time for his position and even though he had no work for the workers he hired them anyway.
These men, the dock boss included, all had one thing in common. They hated the ghetto and were willing to work unbelievably hard to get out of it. One pivotal scene in the movie came when the Statue of Liberty arrived in crates only to have one crate dropped and a section of the statue damaged. The creator of the statue starts into an oratory about how he could never find the skills needed to repair it in this country only to see those same two men and several others that same lady had forced on the dock boss set down their bundles and begin forming a plaster mold, the same type of mold we had seen the creator of the statue using earlier in the film. The dock boss slid in next to the statue’s creator/care taker (whose jaw was hanging wide open) to inform him that those men had been copper and silver smiths in the old country and they did not often get a chance to ply those skills here.
Of course, the story ends with the dock bosses dressed up for Independence Day, smoking cigars, and talking about their children. They even comment on all of the good work they had gotten from those men and how one day those men would be running the docks. The movie was a simple tale of the American Dream. It spoke of a time when people would work any job they could find to chase that dream and would dress up on the holidays of the country out of respect for those holidays.
I believe we can blame it on the greed of MBAs who run hedge funds and corporations. Here’s why.
I remember a time in my youth when many cities around the country were like Aurora, IL. A high school graduate could wake up at 5 a.m. the Monday morning after graduation and head down to the nearest factory to apply for a job. In most cases they could start on first shift that very day. After a few hours they could decide that place wasn’t for them and move on to the next factory starting on second shift that very same day, then repeat that for a third shift. They could repeat this process for several days until they were down to places which only had day time work. If they were neither physically or mentally challenged, there was no reason for them not to have a job which would better their life and make one of the many products considered necessary for a civilized life. During this same time frame, people traveling abroad would pack an extra suit case filled with American made blue jeans because they were better than Travelers Checks.
Some time during the 1980s there was a shift brought on by lobbyists. Instead of being the country which made everything and fed the world, we would be a country of thinkers and engineers. Instead of building quality, we would move the making of blue jeans, microwaves, hot water heaters, etc. off shore to bang them out fast and cheap, focusing only on the high margin stuff. More kids started going to college while the older middle class got moved into the ghetto.
Lobbyists and MBAs screwed the country again by opening the doors for vast quantities of low paid technology workers to increase the margins made by a few rather than the tax base of the country. Not satisfied with their own take, they moved into the banking and mortgage sectors. Here they proceeded to falsify loan applications so the laborer class could build more homes than the economy could afford. Of course, when the housing bubble burst, none of these lobbyists or MBAs went to prison. Instead they convinced the government to screw over a laborer population which had been getting screwed over for decades. This forced many otherwise upstanding citizens to resort to gaming the welfare system, become a drug dealer, and/or join a criminal gang. Today when you travel abroad, you need to bring cash. Those blue jeans are worthless low quality trinkets now.
It’s only a global market race to the cheapest piece of shit if you allow it to be. People who buy Ferrari don’t quibble about the price. Thanks to these lobbyists, MBAs, and Hedge Funds “Made in America” isn’t a label that sells a product. Thanks great greeders who should have been leaders. Thanks a bunch for truly screwing this nation once again. Didn’t you learn anything from NASA? “Faster, Cheaper, Splat” took NASA out of the space launch business and made it a world wide laughing stock with failure after failure. A Hubble Telescope that couldn’t see. A landing system built by two different suppliers (lowest bidders) where one used Metric and the other used SAE creating the first man made crater on Mars. Now we have big name blue jeans which used to last a life time and felt great that feel cheap and barely survive a few washes.