Could the United States of America be heading toward a violent revolution like the French Revolution of 1789–1799?
What is the tipping point that would cause you to do whatever necessary to protect and feed yourself and your family?
How does it make you feel when you learn that billionaires such as Warren Buffet are taxed at much lower rates than their secretaries?
How much has our animosity toward the 1% grown since the (first and feckless) Occupy movement?
How many days without food, water, electricity and indoor plumbing would you and your family have to weather before you jumped your neighbor’s electrified white-picket fence and broke down the front door to steal supplies? What would you do if she tried to defend her property?
We have always been a nation of rebels. We have always rebelled against authority.
We are the only nation to call throwing 342 chests of tea into the ocean a “party.”
Today I believe that the reason most Americans despise government is that we primarily consciously interact with it in seemingly punitive manners: parking tickets and taxes.
Subconsciously we all know that the government is responsible for schools, libraries (remember them?), roads, police, fire departments, armed forces, the FDA protecting us from poison food, the EPA protecting us from poison water, and those ghastly entitlement programs such as Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Social Security, not to mention the governmental direct and indirect subsidies supporting the Affordable Care Act as well as the United States Post Office, etc.
Yet consciously since Ronald Reagan, we mistrust government. We believe it to be corrupt. Too big. Wasteful. That Washington is a swamp. That we must starve the beast.
Today I received an unsolicited email from Google offering 6 months of something called “ Google One” for free.
“Great,” I thought, “I would LOVE to try a new product from such an iconic industry leader that I’m sure will vastly improve the quality of my life.”
Then I clicked on the link to check out what Google One did.
Then I clicked on another link to find out how much it would cost after the initial free 6 months.
But nowhere could I find this information in any of the links.
I actually had to go to google.com and google “How much does Google One cost” to find out the price of Google One!!!
Google’s parent company Alphabet had revenue of $136.8 billion last year so I’m sure they will not be heartbroken if I don’t sign up for their $1.99 monthly subscription service.
That’s not the point.
The point is transparency. The point is trust.
A million years ago when I was at university, Rolling Stone and other magazines would send students 6 months of magazines for free because they knew that one foible of human consciousness was laziness. They knew that a sufficient percentage of students would not find it to be worth their precious time to cancel their subscriptions at the end of the free trial periods. And by ‘sufficient,’ I mean gazillions.
Gyms work the same way.
And now apparently almost every website on the Internet including Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, the New York Times, and now Apple and Google as well as myriad Life Coaches and other hucksters want to get us hooked on subscriptions that ‘sufficient’ numbers of consumers will be too lazy to ever cancel.
Can you guess what the average monthly (almost imperceptible, subconscious for most people) automatic outflow from consumers’ linked credit cards and checking accounts is including health insurance, car insurance, cable or satellite television, and mobile telephone plans?
According to venturebeat.com it is $857 per month.
You don’t feel a thing. It’s painless. Until it isn’t.
What about the average monthly American Dream mortgage payment? In Los Angeles, where I live, in 2018 the average monthly mortgage payment according to qualifiedmortgage.org was $4045 per month.
What about the average monthly credit card payment?
What about the average monthly student loan repayment-payment — especially for millennials Gen Z-ers?
Social inequality was one of the main causes of the French Revolution. As real income continues to decline and rich corporations hand out 6-month free trial subscriptions like crack cocaine on Bronx street corners two years before AOC was born, when will the average American household go underwater and be forced deeper and deeper into higher and higher interest debt they can never repay? Thank your gods there are no more debtor’s prisons!
As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer could the United States of America be on a similar trajectory to that of France 1789?
What would be your tipping point? We all have one.
What perfect storm of underemployment, debt, tsunami/hurricane/earthquake/fire, 9/11, stock market crash, disappearing retirement fund, price-gouging, food shortage, fuel shortage, facist insurrection would cause you to ride your bicycle to the nearest Sporting Goods store and smash the window rifling for kerosene, batteries, fish hooks, hunting knives, seeds and ammunition?
Hunger games always seem to put the sport back into survival.
Or before that storm washes ashore will we freely elect some enthusiastic young economic savior such as Adolph Hitler who promises to rescue us from collapse?
Never! It couldn’t happen here!
We’ll just let them eat cake and wash it down with 64 ounce high-fructose grape-flavored Slurpees from 7–Eleven.
Previously Published on Medium