I’m going to start with the idea this whole post is here to talk about, and work backwards from that to provide the necessary context.
No one, outside of a few sociopaths, want to be rich.
The idea of the American Dream, with a trademark symbol at the end, is that being an American means being able to pursue your goals, ambitions, and dreams until they become reality (or you die trying). I’ve stated before that the American Dream, as an obtainable-ish fairy tale, is dead — and I believe that. For generations, wealth has become more and more concentrated, and as our country and world are further and further bent to capitalism’s will, the ability for the global underclass to accumulate enough capital to fulfill the promise of the American Dream has diminished. …
I learned of a thing implemented by the Dodd-Frank financial regulation that I hadn’t quite expected.
The disclosure of CEO pay ratios is now a thing.
Like many regulatory measures under the rule of two capitalist parties, it was half-baked and very easily navigable by a skilled accountant. You could exclude certain employee bases, determine the basis on which the compensation baseline is calculated (do you include benefits valuation in the equation?), and ultimately, it makes the number meaningless.
I work at a place where the CEO is held in fairly high regard — in fact, in something resembling a cultish manner. I’ve met him, and here’s the thing — I like him fine as a person, but of course, meeting random employees is a scheduled, planned activity, and so I imagine much of my opinion of him personally is formed and shaped by image consultant magic. And, that’s fine. He at least doesn’t innately seem like a shitty person, like he struggles to hide being a ghoulish wealth monster. …
So the last time I wrote here, politically, not counting the now gone posts of a bygone era, I wrote some ultimately compromised, hopeful piece about how people like me weren’t going to take Trump without a fight.
Without knowing it at the time, within a year, I would disagree with much of that position while also not shifting away that much.
See, I was stuck in the rut of liberalism. As I thought I knew it at the time, the American political spectrum was two destination points — Liberal on the left and Conservative on the right. …
“Just give him a chance, he’s your president too.”
This trope needs to stop.
Since the election, I’ve seen countless posts from my conservative friends, people I have some degree of respect for, claiming that the president deserves a “chance,” which, deriving from context, means he should not be so harshly criticized until he’s had said chance.
I won’t bog this down with the memetastic image of Republicans with racist and boneheaded signs about President Obama, but I will say this — Presidents do not get chances — they earn them by merit and behavior. Criticizing Donald Trump for doing poorly is not failing to give him a chance, but it is acknowledging that he is bungling the chance he has. …