Signs of a Dying Society
By Paul Buchheit
November 24, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - While Edward Snowden and
Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are
vilified for revealing vital information about spying and
bombing and torture, a man who
conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the
planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by
New York University for his “Outstanding Contributions to
This is one example of the
distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American
society. There are other signs of decay:
1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as
Wealthy conservatives are
pushing a bill that would excuse corporate leaders from
financial fraud, environmental pollution, and other crimes that
America’s greatest criminals deem simply reckless or negligent. The
Heritage Foundation attempts to rationalize, saying “someone who
simply has an accident by being slightly careless can hardly be said
to have acted with a ‘guilty mind.'”
One must wonder, then, what extremes of evil, in
the minds of conservatives, led to criminal charges against people
apparently aware of their actions: the Ohio woman who took
coins from a fountain to buy food; the California man who broke
church kitchen to find something to eat; and the 90-year-old
Florida activist who boldly tried to
feed the homeless.
Of course, even without the explicit protection of
Congress, CEOs are rarely charged for their crimes. Not a single
Wall Street executive faced prosecution for the fraud-ridden 2008
2. Unpaid Taxes of 500 Companies Could Pay for
a Job for Every Unemployed American
For two years. At the nation’s
median salary of $36,000, for all
8 million unemployed.
Citizens for Tax Justice
reports that Fortune 500 companies are holding over $2 trillion in
profits offshore to avoid taxes that would amount to over $600
billion. Our society desperately needs infrastructure repair, but 8
million potential jobs are being held hostage beyond our borders.
3. Almost 2/3 of American Families Couldn’t
Afford a Single Pill of a Life-Saving Drug
62 percent of polled
Americans said they couldn’t cover a $500 repair bill. If any of
these Americans need a hepatitis pill from
Gilead Sciences, or an anti-infection pill from
Martin Shkreli’s company, they will have to do without.
An AARP study of 115 specialty drugs found that
average cost of a year’s worth of prescriptions was over
$50,000, three times more than the average Social Security benefit.
Although it’s true that most people don’t pay the full retail cost
of medicine, the portion paid by insurance companies is ultimately
passed on to consumers through higher premiums.
pay competitors to keep generic drugs out of the market, and
they have successfully
lobbied Congress to keep Medicare from bargaining for lower drug
prices. The companies claim they need the high prices to pay for
better medicines. But for every $1 they spend on basic research,
$19 in promotion and marketing.
4. Violent Crime Down, Prison Population
confirm a dramatic decline in violent crimes since 1991, yet the
number of prisoners has
doubled over approximately the same period.
Meanwhile, white-collar prosecutions have been
reduced by over a third, and, as noted above, corporate leaders
are steadily working toward 100% tolerance for their crimes.
5. One in Four Americans Suffer Mental Illness,
Mental Health Facilities Cut by 90%
According to the
National Alliance on Mental Illness, 25 percent of adults
experience mental illness in a given year, with almost half of the
homeless population so inflicted. Yet from 1970 to 2002, the per
capita number of public mental health hospital beds
plummeted from over 200 per 100,000 to 20 per 100,000, and after
state cutbacks continued.
That leaves prison as the only option for many
There exists a common theme
amidst these signs of societal decay: The super-rich keep
taking from the middle class as the middle class becomes a
massive lower class. Yet the myth persists that we
should all look up with admiration at the “self-made” takers who are
ripping our society apart.
Copyright © 2015 by NationofChange