Jul 2, 2007
Good luck this summer trying to fly somewhere for a vacation or to visit family and friends. A lousy plane ticket is more expensive than ever. What it buys is a seat so tiny, you actually risk a blood clot. That is, if you actually get on a plane. There are so many flight delays and cancellations, people are camping out in airports. Worse still for passengers, planes are often stuck on the runway for hours at a time, with no food or water, and the stale air perfumed by overflowing toilets.
Don’t blame bad weather. When the understaffed and antiquated air traffic control system isn’t breaking down, the poorly maintained planes are. Often, flights are cancelled because there are no crews available. The airlines didn’t bother to hire enough people to deal with the increase in traffic. Northwest Airlines was forced to admit this after it cancelled nearly 20% of its flights at its Detroit hub one day.
The problems go well beyond airlines. The cost of medical care has gone through the roof. Yet, every time someone checks into the hospital, they take their life in their hands. Over 100,000 people are killed by hospitals every year. The hospitals are dirtier, causing more infections. The frazzled and understaffed employees are making more mistakes.
There is a worsening crisis in housing, pushing decent affordable housing beyond the reach of ever bigger parts of the working population. There is a worsening crisis in public education, with most city schools plagued by overcrowding, leaving the teachers and staff overwhelmed and the students lacking even the basics. Near record energy prices make a simple commute or just keeping the lights on a growing burden.
You name it, it’s in crisis. And we’re living in the middle of it.
As consumers, we are bombarded by rising prices combined with degrading and unsafe living conditions. As workers, we are pressured to do more with less. And more and more of us are working as severely underpaid part-timers and temps.
So a handful of wealthy people can grow unimaginably rich. Year in, year out, corporate profits are breaking records. Profits are twice as big a proportion of the economy as they were just 25 years ago. Companies that cry bankruptcy to justify the latest round of attacks then sell themselves for obscene amounts of money. Meanwhile, some of these executive morons are actually making over a billion dollars... every year.
The bosses’ arrogance knows no bounds. They want more – and they don’t give a damn what it costs the rest of society.