10:04:2004 Entry: "Ann : Capitalism at Work to Improve Your Life (and small DREAM)"
Capitalism at Work to Improve Your Life (and small DREAM)
Last night I was at a message board I go to frequently and there were some people there extolling the virtues of capitalism. Now although one could see me as a capitalist because I am self-employed and all, I don't see myself as a Capitalist (capital C). Small business people (and even smaller business people such as myself) and Donald Trump/Rupert Murdock (sp?) et al. are completely different animals. So as I was responding to the post, telling of my own experience of how trying to better yourself by going to college and all that cliche capitalist-speak is not a formula for getting ahead, and that capitalism, like communism, in its pure idealistic form sounds great, but in reality is flawed. There are too many variables. As I was writing all this late last night, I was also watching the 10 pm local news. Suddenly, a news spot appears, and it's about my former employer! Seems like they layed off a bunch of people and they dropped ALL their benefits! No healthcare for you!
It was just one of those weird synchronistic things. Here I am writing about how capitalism is imperfect, and here is an example of the imperfections in action! Because we do not have universal health care in our country, all those people working for my former employer, people who have come to expect that working hard, being dedicated and loyal to a company will get you ahead. WRONG! Now all of them who were relying on "Depressions" (not the company's real name) to provide them with basic health care benefits will now have no benefits, or they'll have to come up with it out of pocket. They interviewed one woman (who must've started work there after I left 8 years ago because I didn't know her) who said it would cost her $1300/month...hell, that was more than I MADE in a month when I worked there!
Yeah, capitalism is real fine and dandy, isn't it? Not that communism is better, but let's be real, there is no perfect system, and to extoll one like it is the answer to the world's problems is just naive! People are not poor because they want to be. You can try your hardest to get an education, work hard, be dedicated, and things beyond your control happen ALL THE TIME to quash your ambitions and intentions. We need a safety net in this society. Even if some people take advantage of that net, I'd rather have that than not have one for those of us who need it when we fall on hard times.
OK, so I'm looking at the info on the news page now, and I will quote it here, names changed to protect the innocent and all:
"Depressions Widget Services" cuts 42 employees in two rounds of lay-offs.
the company, "Depressions Widget Services" tells "my news channel" it was the only option to keep the business alive.
"news reporter Mike" spoke to "Depressions Employee Brenda" who was part of the second round of lay-offs. "Brenda" found out thursday it would cost her thirteen-hundred dollars a month to stay insured. when "Depressions" laid-off the employees, no severance packages were offered and for some no notice was given either.
"Depressions" was a "widget-processing" service that has been in *this city* since 1925. the name remains, but the owners have changed. "Acme Company" bought the business. after the first round of layoffs "Brenda" and other employees were promised by the new owners there would be no more layoffs. "Brenda" says, 'as that turned out, it was lies too.' "Brenda" and about 25 others were then laid off.
"Kris Amundson" who owned "Depressions" said, 'those were terrific people that we had to let go. it was really a shame that we had to do that.'
42 people lost their job and healthcare immediately.
"Kris Amundson" said, 'i was just shocked at that. that was not something that was in our control, in fact we thought it would just be the opposite that everyone would be able to go on cobra.'
healthcare was the most important thing to "Brenda" because she was diagnosed with diabetes about two months ago. she has found a plan that cost her about five-hundred dollars a month. "Brenda" agrees the business had to cut corners to survive, but she believes they could of taken care of their employees better.
Damn. That's just awful. This is the ugly reality of capitalism. And there is no regard for the lives it ruins. It's economic Darwinism. Screw all who get in its way of success, gotta look out for #1.
I used to work there. I left because their air conditioning made me sick. I was fortunate enough to be able to become independent and not need them. Not everyone is so motivated, or has independent-marketable skills. Some people NEED the so-called security of a business to work for, they have kids and need the healthcare. I feel so bad for those people. Although I didn't know "Brenda" who was interviewed on TV, I know there are other people working there still who I knew when I was there. Just the other month, I saw "Ben" as I was walking by to mail a package. He ran out the building to say hi to me when he saw me. We chatted for a short while, and I joked that he was a "lifer" because he joked about the same thing about me when he started working there and found out I'd been working there for several years. I'm pretty sure he has kids and he's come to depend on the security of his job and benefits to support his family. Work hard and get ahead. Yeah, right.
I feel so bad for all those workers.
This hit me harder than I thought it did last night, because I recall my dream last night. I was looking out the south-west facing windows in our living room, except it was one big window instead of 2 small ones. It was dark outside, and the former president of "Depression" ("Kris") was sneaking up the steps to my neighbor's house...evidentially he lived there, and he was bringing home some sort of surprise to his kids. He saw me looking out the window, and he waved to me. I pretended not to see, but then realized I couldn't keep pretending, so I finally waved back to him. Then I was outside, looking in his house, and someone else was leading me around the Depressions building. It was much bigger than I remember it, and much more was added on to it. I hardly recognized it. I have no idea what this dream means, but I was obviously affected by what heard on the news last night.