On course for a bleak ending

Editor:

As we watch the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine from afar, I can’t help but predict a bleak outlook for our future. We live in a world where democracy is under attack not only at home but abroad. 

There is a renewed fascination with authoritarian leadership not only with the GOP but with other nations. This growing trend can be seen across the globe, in countries such as China, Hungary, Russia, Belarus and North Korea. These nations all have something in common — an authoritarian leader who preaches right-wing nationalism and populist rhetoric to entrance the people.

As this trend grows, we will also see a continuation of massive income inequality. In the United States, we see the grift of neoliberalism and trickle-down economics will keep on giving. 

Here is a statistic worth noting: Half of the world’s net wealth belongs to the top 1%, top 10% of adults hold 85%, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15% of the world’s total wealth.

Basically, this means a few rich people own the world. These people live lifestyles that an average upper-middle-class person can’t even imagine. 

Want to know what the current trend is for these super rich people? Escape and survival bunkers. These people are building massive underground palaces with everything from swimming pools to bowling alleys. These facilities are nuke proof. 

They have food for survival of six months to a year or more. This is the new thing. It’s not yachts. It’s underground worlds to ride out a catastrophic event — whether it’s climate change, nuclear war, another deadly germ or basic civil revolt. One thing worth noting is that civil revolt is at the top of the concern list for the rich. They know eventually the pitchforks will come out, and they are preparing for it.

They see this future, and it’s going to get more challenging for the average American to earn a living.

As we continue to make advances in technology, more jobs will be eliminated through automation and AI. In the 1980s, Reaganomics converted the United States from a manufacturing-dominated economy to a service/financial economy. 

Most of these service jobs involve some form of sales or customer service. The rest of the economy is made up of highly educated technology workers, engineers and people in the health care field. With the technology boom and ever-rapid acceleration, AI is replacing sales and customer service jobs.

In a few decades or less, we will live in a world dominated by bots. I work in an industry that manufactures this software, and the goal is to automate as much as possible and only have a few very skilled human beings to take the most complex interactions. 

This is going to put a lot of people out of a job that pays a living wage. Capitalism has no concern about whether or not people have a job. Job creation is not a goal or a priority unless demand makes it unavoidable. Capitalism in its purest form is survival of the fittest, and making a dollar is the only goal.

When you have a small group of people who can protect themselves from any threat and these same people own most of the resources while controlling government policy and legislation, you have a real problem.  

When you have unfettered capitalism with no guardrails to curb man’s selfish corrupt tendencies, you have a recipe for a catastrophic event. It will take time, but eventually it will come to pass. I worry for our children’s future.

Seems to me to turn this around you have to re-establish democracy. So, what is democracy in its purest form? It’s when a majority of the people have a say in what their government does. 

Minority rule is not democracy. Minority rule defined by a few wealthy people who have bought the government or by a few people who have been conned to vote for that minority-ruled government.

A democratic republic is a republic where the people’s representatives are elected democratically (by a majority of votes for you, righties). Saying we live in a republic doesn’t negate that fact. 

Traditionally, a strong middle class has always resulted in a strong democracy. When you shrink the middle class, democracy suffers. This is why the GOP has pursued policies to increase income inequality: the desire is to shrink democracy.

So how do we grow our middle class again? How do we increase democracy? To do that you need to put all the rules back in place that were removed through 40 years of neoliberal policies. How do you get rid of a bunch of representatives that have been bought? Is it even possible at this point? How do you remove Supreme Court justices who are married to and likely influenced by right-wing activists or are right-wing activists themselves? How do you pass legislation that curbs corrupt business practices? How do you repeal laws that say corporations are people and money is speech? How do you enforce antitrust laws and prosecute criminals for trying to overturn a free and fair election? At this point I am not sure we can. How do you put back the fairness doctrine and restore journalistic integrity? How do you restore all of the guardrails and programs put in place prior to Ronald Reagan’s presidency, including the progressive tax policies? I don’t think we can. Every single thing in the above paragraph would be blocked by the GOP.

I guess the best thing to do at this point is to save up for a good bunker your kids can live in. You can google companies that make them online. Maybe you can afford a simple one-bedroom, one-bathroom basic model.

Robert Lukacs, Goodyear

No more free school lunches

Editor:

Some of the letter by Robert Lukacs on March 16 made me laugh. He said, “Mitch McConnell is attempting to cancel the free lunch program for kids.”

Good for Mitch! Most of the kids today are obese and carry junk food in their backpacks to school. By graduation, they are morbidly obese. They need more gym time to lose weight, and you think they need free lunches? I grew up poor, and nobody gave me even a potato chip for free at school, and I survived on peanut butter sandwiches that I brown-bagged. On special occasions, we got to add jelly for a treat. We knew it was payday for my dad when we actually got to take a baloney sandwich for lunch.

I watch kids walking home from school, and most of them from grade school are staring at $800 smartphones. If their parents can afford to buy them smartphones, why can’t they afford to feed their kids? Something is wrong with this picture. Many of the kids walking home are carrying big drinks from fast-food joints, like they are in a quest to wear the largest graduation gown they can fit in. Their parents don’t worry about them becoming diabetic.

Mr. Lukacs stated, “Republicans consistently vote against everything that helps the American people. From health care to affordable education.”

I’d say they care about the kids becoming diabetic, so that seems reason enough to vote against unneeded free school lunches when obesity is running rampant. Time to put many of these kids on a diet. Put down the smartphones and ride a bike or jog. 

James Logan, Buckeye