America: The United States of Neo-Conservatism
“America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens (see our briefing). One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of America’s level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan.”
We can only hope that the economic realities of the economy will lead to a sharp decrease, once states determine they have no money to incarcerate.
This is pretty messed up when you think about it—1 in 100? Isn’t that another way of saying 1% of America is in prison? That’s out of control, in my opinion. However, it puts unemployment in perspective—isn’t unemployment hovering somewhere around 10%? So, essentially, 11% of America is not contributing to society economically. That’s 11% of 300 million people. Roughly 3 million people are essentially useless in the eyes of the economy and the government.
But that doesn’t seem to bother the government at all. Check out this next bit also from underpaidgenius:
Paul Krugman, Defining Prosperity Down
I’m starting to have a sick feeling about prospects for American workers — but not, or not entirely, for the reasons you might think.
Yes, growth is slowing, and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That’s bad. But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care — that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new normal.
And I worry that those in power, rather than taking responsibility for job creation, will soon declare that high unemployment is “structural,” a permanent part of the economic landscape — and that by condemning large numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness, they’ll turn that excuse into dismal reality.
But isn’t that already what’s happened?
Seems to me the only thing that’s missing from seeing Krugman’s equation come true is honest leadership from politicians and business people willing to state the facts about what is really happening. This is the core of the Neo-Con belief system—lie to use about a threat to keep us afraid and in line. A healthy prison population, a couple wars and an economy built on sand are perfect tools to keep most of us quaking in our boots. Of course, if you’re rich, none of the bad stuff really touches you, so who cares if you tell a few lies?
In the end, whether they’re lying to us or not is irrelevant since the results are the same. Of course, in the second UnderpaidGenius.com post I quote from above, blogger, Stowe Boyd asks when the protests start.
I answer: they won’t ever start. That’s what the lies are for.
I’m going to have to write more on this…