You got nothin’ comin‘.” This poignant negative expression is commonly heard on prison yards, in courts, in corporate offices and in colleges and universities across America. This new age is the age of ‘you got nothin’ comin.’

In 1975 college professors were paid the same that they are now. Yes, that’s 1975. I was an adjunct college professor in Hawaii for two years. I was paid seven dollars an hour. I worked on the weekends as a Harley Davidson mechanic for twenty-five dollars an hour. Later, I got a third job as a counter sales/clerk at Barnes and Noble in Kahala. I was paid eleven dollars an hour to start. I was really good and well-liked as a college professor and I loved that job, but I could not afford to be a college professor in Hawaii at that time. Who can afford it now? A study just came out that ably demonstrates exactly what I’m writing about. It’s the devastating effect that republican conservative thinking and action has had on higher education in America. There are more administrators than professors today! And they make a ton more money than the people teaching. What happened? The sixties happened. John and Bobby got waxed by the same cretins, as did MLK. you can see the results of what happened today. The Military Industrial Complex happened. And they took all the money and they wanted no more complaining about it. Sociology is a forgotten discipline in schools today. Anthropology is headed the same way and every other study that used to fall under the heading of liberal arts. No more complaining, or even learning about why you should be complaining. We have our “1984 Forever War”. We also have a “defense” budget so huge that it will overcome all other spending sources and tax revenue repositories in the years ahead. In order to get here we had to be made afraid. We had to be put in our place, where the position of authority obeys no rules, lies all the time and can basically do whatever it wants. If you are not in one of those inherited authority positions then you got nothin’ comin’ and that’s a fact, jack.

America and its current business model, along with its educational system of supposed ‘higher’ education, is broken.  What’s happened is called service diminishment. It’s not called that by all these businesses that have pulled cost-saving tricks on the public, some coldly deliberate like call centers replacing employees on the other end of the phone, and others even the businesses are unaware of like having double door entrances but only ever opening one of the doors.  The onus of service has been laid off on the customer, which means the cost has been transferred to the customer. Voicemail is a subtle but perfect example of this. Voicemail means that the business does not have to have an employee greet customers and then channel where they need to be directed to get assistance. The customer waits through the mess of jargon and jumbled instructions and uses his or her own time, and not that of company or business employees, in trying to resolve any issue.

Online, there is this trend to force customers to use recurring credit card withdrawals to provide service. Trying to cancel a recurring credit card or bank withdrawal, however, proves to be almost impossible. The credit score services providers are big offenders, with lineage service information sites and even white pages for telephone number lookups. Oh, and if you do establish a recurring charge to your bank or credit card company the bank and credit card company will not take the charge off. You must somehow get the business benefiting by your being trapped there to get it off.  America has returned to a time that was there early on, when capitalism without rules made life hard for everyone, and now the country is rushing back.  Theft is not theft if it is money “stolen” by large companies.

Charging fees for luggage by airlines is theft. Charging outrageous overdraft fees by banks is theft. It’s monopoly theft. They get the businesses together and violate every bit of what used to be rules and regulations to keep just that kind of thieving behavior from happening. Charging huge percentages for credit card balances is theft. But not in the real world we live in, because that is companies and businesses stealing from the individual.  What a shame, and we wonder about the depression or ennui the nation is suffering? Feeling a bit left out when you talk to call centers with proto-humans answering to say they are sorry?

Feeling a bit stressed when your bank charges you fifty bucks, or so, to transmit a wire that costs them nothing? How about the new charges coming on the five airlines left flying in the USA, wherein you will be charged extra to sit in anything but a middle seat in economy? The only system of checks and balances left is at the ballot box, but with the last presidential election that place has been called into question, too.

Most of America still gets its water through some part of a complex involving lead pipes. Lead poisoning causes lower intellectual capacity over time. Do you want to stop drinking that water and go to bottled…or, now that you know, drink it anyway?

~James Strauss


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