The American dream is dead and rotting

New Economic Perspectives hits us with this:

The Washington Post recently reported that Day Care now costs more—in 31 U.S. states—than a college education. In a fit of logic rarely exhibited in today’s journalism, the article explains that since it takes the average family eighteen years to save enough for a child’s college education, that same child now needs to start saving for his or her own children’s Day Care beginning at age eight. The article didn’t mention—I suppose because they thought it was obvious—that this necessity is against America’s child labor laws.


and interprets it as well:

What’s great about America is that everyone has the chance to earn a good life for themselves. All that’s needed is to get a good job to earn the money to pay for the things that make a good life. Once you get that job you can start earning your good life. America’s Catch 22, however, is that you’ve got to earn that good job before you can start earning your good life. The education required to get a good job—beginning with the pre-school day care that prepares you to succeed in public school so you can then qualify to pay for college or culinary or auto-mechanic school—that education package is the first “commodity” your good life requires you to buy. As already noted, the American free-enterprise system gives this “education commodity” a price tag that takes the average family about eighteen years of earnings to set aside for.

If you’re lucky enough to have a functional family that can earn and save for you, by the time you’re eighteen you should have enough to meet college tuition payments. Except now we realize there’s a good chance you might not have graduated from high school because your mom couldn’t afford the pre-school day care that might have taught you the early reading and learning skills that would have gotten you off to a running start in second and third grade, but without which you struggled, fell behind, and finally decided that school itself was for the birds because you couldn’t learn anything no matter how hard you tried, and it was easier just to be cool, although that, in itself, was a challenge that seemed to require buying things, which you couldn’t do since you couldn’t earn because you had no hope, really, of getting a job—so you might have been forced to take up shoplifting or petty burglary or worse, just to be cool, because if you couldn’t get an education and therefore a job so you could earn money to buy things to create a good life, the only thing left to strive for was just to be cool. And meanwhile, the rest of us are having to pay good tax dollars to catch you, prosecute you, and incarcerate you, which simply transforms you irrevocably into an angry human being whose chance at earning a good life has been utterly destroyed and wasted.

Add to this a post on Naked Capitalism titled Planned Obsolescence Disguised as Innovation, Oligopoly Disguised as a Free Market, and the Enrichment of Oligarchs, which begins with

The article first discussed the brave new world of type 1 diabetes treatment. The introductory theme was:

Today, the routine care costs of many chronic illnesses eclipse that of acute care because new treatments that keep patients well have become a multibillion-dollar business opportunity for device and drug makers and medical providers.

Much of modern diabetes treatment seems to depend on medical devices and disposable medical supplies:

That captive audience of Type 1 diabetics has spawned lines of high-priced gadgets and disposable accouterments, borrowing business models from technology companies like Apple: Each pump and monitor requires the separate purchase of an array of items that are often brand and model specific.

A steady stream of new models and updates often offer dubious improvement: colored pumps; talking, bilingual meters; sensors reporting minute-by-minute sugar readouts. [Diabetes patient] Ms. Hayley’s new pump will cost $7,350 (she will pay $2,500 under the terms of her insurance). But she will also need to pay her part for supplies, including $100 monitor probes that must be replaced every week, disposable tubing that she must change every three days and 10 or so test strips every day.

and only gets worse from there, and I rest my case for not wanting to live and work in the US of A.

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This entry was posted in developed countries, health care, neo-liberalism, standards of living. Bookmark the permalink.

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