T Nation

What Happened to America?


What has happened to America? This used to be a country where if you worked hard and put your time in you could make a decent living and have a family. Not anymore. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Pretty soon there will be no more middle class. Nothing but peasants doing work for their wealthy business overlords.

This is a bit of a rant on my part due to my own situation. I am 26 years old, a Marine Iraq combat veteran, a college graduate who graduated Magna Cum Laude, I paid off my college tuition with the money saved from going to war...and yet the best job that I can get is still a heavy labor job that pays little and has few benefits. I can't afford to live on my own, and can barely afford health insurance. I am trying, believe me I am trying to get a decent job, but there is little out there. I can't even afford a girlfriend, much less a family. What happened?

Are you rich people on top so greedy and sociopathic that you must suck every little penny out of the working man's pocket just to have continued growth? Is it necessary to outsource every single American job so that there is nothing left? Does the government exist to serve the people, or does it exist for the people to serve?

I am not a Democrat or a Republican. Both parties make me sick. Politicians make me sick. Big businessmen make me sick. Special interest groups make me sick. The media makes me sick. You know what else? This country is beginning to make me sick.


I don't know what to say to you regarding your job worries - it's rough out there, but you're bright and if you work hard your aspirations aren't out of your reach. Much respect for being a soldier.


I don't know what happened, but all things being held constant, you're better off in America than in most other places. I say move around. Go where the jobs are. As for the "American Dream", I'm afraid you bought too much into it and never bothered listening to the many that don't make it for every one who does.

Cheer up!


Do you have electricity? Air conditioning? A vehilce? TV? Is this your personal computer? What kind of internet access do you have?

And, out of my own curiousity, what type of degree do you have?


Move to Canada.


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What did you get your degree in? Whatever it is, I'm staying far away from it.


Too many people seem to think the world owes them something. Nobody owes anybody a job. If you can't find someone who is willing to employ you, then find someone of a like mind and establish a partnership. If you cannot find someone for this purpose, create your own endeavor. There are always, always opportunities, in up or down markets, and especially in America, for those who are positively searching for them, and who are willing to do whatever it takes to find and exploit those opportunities.

There are people right now who are moving out of the lower class and into the upper. Most of them are not complaining that they haven't been given a fair shake. They're too busy thinking about all of the opportunities that are out there waiting to be exploited.


1)Factory Jobs got outsourced to places with sweatshop labor like China, Indonesia, etc.

The Right wing thermidorians on the list are going to blame the Unions. The truth is unions were built because laissez-faire capitalism treated workers like shit. In any case, no way an American worker compete against the shit wages of the Chinese worker.

2) Small Mom and Pop stores usually can't compete against big chains. Try opening a book store and competing against Borders or Amazon. Mom and Pop will just have to sell the store and go work as a cashier at one of the chain stores in the mall.

What's left? Managerial jobs to manage the outsourced work force and service jobs, to make the managerial class feel good.

I am exaggerating some, but this is pretty much the scenario.

Trickle down, basically pummeled down a whole lot of people.


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Your attitude will ALWAYS determine where you end up. Also remember that there is significant lag time between a current positive (or negative) attitude and its eventual result.

I also second the Zig Ziglar. If you don't like reading there are a ton of his CDs available for downloading. You can even do it for free.


While I don't disagree with this post, who among us would really like to go back to living in the times when mom and pop stores were the norm?


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Yeah, but unions have mostly outserved their usefulness. At their inception, they were critical in establishing decent working conditions and treatment. But today they are mostly place a stranglehold on management and prevent things from getting done


This post stuck a sore spot for me and I had to sit back for a few hours to roll it over in my head before responding.

For starters, the fact that you're a Marine means jack. This country has blown the military to the point where many military feel that their shit doesn't stink. You make us Marines look like babies. I wonder what your MOS was. My money says that it doesn't start with an 03. I'm not trying to be an asshole, but you owe the Corps to consider what you do to its reputation by complaining like this.

I'm an OIF and OEF infantry Marine with a degree too. Yet I'm working construction. Hell, I'm having issues with losing work and I'm getting paid less than some knuckleheads with GED's. But look, I was a grunt and I got a degree in history. How does that make me marketable? It was great when I was planning on going back in, but now I'm not. So my options are to be a cop or use my degree, hit up law school and be a lawyer. I hate cops, so guess how I'm going to make my money?

I recognize you busting your ass for the last 8 years. That said, how bad is your life? Being an Iraq vet, you should know what real poverty is. The point I'm making is that your 20's are supposed to be tough man. You've got to earn your way in this world.

Don't blame this on the rich getting richer. That's silly. The rich guy down the street is rich for a reason. I'm happy for him. What does he owe me? What have I done for him? Nothing. I'll get where I want to go, but it'll likely be a damn hard climb.

Do you have direction? Do you have a plan? What would you do with yourself if you had no constraints? Let's come up with a plan devil. I want to see you rich too.



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My 20's started out easy and ended up damn tough. Like you and hundreds of thousands of others, I was a Marine. But so what. That's not a free ticket to anything.

You don't like your life? Fix it. If your not making enough money, work a second job or get new job or get another degree. If you're just a single guy -- it sounds like you are -- you can afford to take chances and figure out your life. That's what your 20's are for.

The American Dream is still there. But it's not just a bunch of sunshine and roses. It takes some of that "hard work" you mentioned. And, the truth is, sometimes it takes even harder work.


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Dude, I'm sorry. As a soldier who just finished his second trip to the sandbox I have respect for you. On the other hand I find it hard to believe that you are having trouble finding suitable work with a college degree. I'm also sure you have leadership and management experience. It sounds to me like the job market where you live just plain sucks and you need to move.


I don't find it hard to believe at all. A college degree (depending on major) in many fields is meaningless. An advanced degree is essential in many disciplines.

In these tough times, the job market is even more competitive. That said, there are jobs to be had. It can just takes a lot of effort depend on your skills and qualifications and the demand where you are located.

Despite the incompetence and greed of many in the financial sector and its contribution to the current financial situation, nor is this some conspiracy by 'the rich' to fuck everyone over. Incompetence and greed are nothing new. And we've faced similarly difficult recessions and tough times before.