As I sit here for my fourth day in the hospital, I’m realizing just how much damage has been done to our country in the last 20-30 years.
It’s not the terrorist attacks, the wars that our “leaders” have gotten us into or a bad economy that’s killing us. It’s the way we do business. President Calvin Coolidge once said “The business of America is business.” People suggest that his statement was overconfidence after the depression. I don’t know, but I can’t help but think he wasn’t talking about the way we do business NOW.
Because, you see, business in American used to be about BUILDING something. About making something that worked, something that people want to buy and use. No longer. Thanks to people like Jack Welsh from GE — along with many, many others — business is about one thing and one thing only: Making money and funneling it to the top.
I use to think that it was the insurance companies that had ruined our health care system. They weren’t the only reason Healthcare in American was failing (can you say lawyers and greedy patients?), but they were at least 90% of the problem. Now I see that’s not completely true — they are only the logical result of the actual problem.
I look around the floor here, and I see overworked nurses doing their best to see to the patients. I see doctors always in motion, handling one problem after another. What do I also see? Paperwork. Tons and tons of paperwork. These people have to fill out a form to fill out a form. I KNOW most of that is driven by the insurance companies. But it appears that the same idiots that foisted CMMI and “Process” and all that bullshit on the software industry — absolutely gutting our ability to actually get something done — have done the same thing our health care system. All in the name of “Affordability” and “Process”. And of course, protecting their collective asses from the carrion eaters we call lawyers.
I wish America would wake up. CMMI, Process, bureaucracy and FUCKING BEAN COUNTING are KILLING our industries the way they’ve destroyed what little working ability our government had left after politics got finished with it. And all of that process is for one reason and one reason only: Profit.
Profit for the top “earners”. You’ll note I put that in quotes because the majority of these people don’t earn anything — the new system just GIVES them the fruits of other people’s labors. Without meaningful regulation, the stockmarket and financial rules have been manipulated into a system that funnels vast sums of unearned wealth into the pockets of people who have the means to make the system work for them; and the means to rewrite the rules.
People who don’t have the means are frozen out while at the same time being told that they have to play. Companies get rid of pension plans and replace them with 401ks. You want to retire someday? Stop working when you’re too old to work? Fine. Put your money into the market, because social security and pensions aren’t gonna do it for you. But “We the People” don’t have the money to play that game in any meaningful way — our money is essentially stolen and give to someone else.
In America, earning wealth used to mean WORKING for it. PRODUCING something for it. At least for the middle and lower classes. I suspect, judging from our own very short history, that the rich — the old money rich — just live off someone else’s abilities. In American, we don’t have a huge number of examples of people actually EARNING their wealth. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are people who come immediately to mind — love ‘em or hate ‘em, they still produced something that changed our country, and the world. And that’s the way it used to be. Cars, airplanes, electricity and many other things were invented in America. Not anymore though. It costs too much.
This is the New America. The country where everyone wants to be rich, but no one wants to work for it. Worse, nowadays it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to work for it because the system is gamed. It’s owned by the top dogs, who have obeyed the golden rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules. They don’t want to build — to innovate or create. Not in any concrete way, although they DO get to be creative when they find new ways of skirting laws meant to keep them from out and out stealing from everyone else. The effort big money puts into finding ways around rules that are already weak is astounding.
It’s so sad when my boss comes to me and says “The company wants you to be affordable, creative and innovative in your work.” Last time he said that to me, I just looked at him and said, “The end result of most creativity and innovation is failure. Please show me a time in our process driven and created schedule where I’m allowed to fail, and I’ll be happy to try new things.”
As you can imagine, I received silence as an answer.
American used to have a Golden Goose. It was the working class, be it middle, lower or upper. That goose was Producing Something Concrete. Not a derivative or a stock option, but REAL object that held WORTH. The Golden Goose, however, is starving from cut backs and constantly being fed paperwork while being ordered to make more eggs.
Just a warning: If the New America and its class of profit driven overlords don’t get it through their thick skulls that that golden goose they’ve been living off of is about to die because they aren’t letting it get enough food, this country will go the way of Rome. Just a lot faster. Maybe even in their lifetimes — which would be a fitting end.
By the way, this youtube clip sums up very nicely so much of what is going wrong: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h__uutzcQXc