13 October, 2012

Obligatory Political Rant, or 'Tis the Season.

I am not a Democrat or a Republican. Like most Americans, I am somewhere in the middle- fiscally conservative, socially liberal. This post isn't going to be about how evil or amazing either candidate is. Rather, I have a few things to get off my chest about how we, as Americans, can improve the economy, our country, and ourselves.

*gets up on soap box*

First of all, the president, no matter who he is, is ONE MAN. He cannot create jobs, fix the economy, provide world-class healthcare to everyone, or walk on water. I don't care who you vote for, Obama or Romney- nothing is going to change unless we change who we are electing to represent us, both on a local and a national level. Until we take big money, big business, and special interests out of politics and demand our representatives look out for the people they are representing  nothing is going to change. Ever.We need people in Washington who are willing to work together, compromise  and come up with common-sense solutions to the problems in this country. And by "problems in this country," I mean getting our troops home, education, funding for science and technology research, our crumbling infrastructure, immigration, energy, and health care. I don't mean abortion and gay marriage. Abortion and the gay people aren't going away, you might as well just get over it. Don't just vote for someone because they are who you've always voted for or because the media has done your thinking for you. Be informed, do your research (and by research, read more than Fox News or the Huffington Post), and don't just re-post something on Facebook that your friend posted because you "like" it.

Want the economy to improve? Here are my suggestions:

  • Vote with your dollar. Support local businesses and quit buying cheap Chinese crap at Wal-Mart. Local businesses put three times more money into the local economy than big businesses do, they also keep more tax dollars in the community. Local businesses create local jobs. Go to farmer's markets and food co-ops, local restaurants, local coffee houses, and mom-and-pop stores when you can. I have found a few local places that I love to visit on a regular basis. I have become friends with the proprietors and I alway feel good knowing my money going to a company I like and support.  Sometimes you'll pay a little bit more, but I think it's worth it if the money stays in the local economy. Don't just order everything online because it's "cheaper." Demanding cheap things is part of the reason we got into this crisis because American jobs went overseas for cheap labor. 
  • Get an education. The unemployment rate for college graduates is less than that of people with just a high school diploma. Check out this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the jobs lost in the economic downturn were held by workers with only a high school education. We live in the future (though we still don't have hoverboards. Damn.) Science and technology are not going away, learn to love them and embrace them. In fact, science and technology are contributing to most of the fastest-growing fields, meaning, you guessed it- more jobs! College isn't for everyone, I get it. Learn a skill or a trade if a four year degree isn't something for you. Do something beyond getting a high school diploma. We have lost manufacturing jobs to people overseas who are willing to work for much less. Let's not lose science and tech jobs to our foreign counterparts because we are an uneducated populace. America needs to become competitive again.
What this all boils down to is personal responsibility and hard work. We need to suck it up and pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. We have turned into such a society of victims; everyone has an excuse for their circumstances, but excuses don't get you anywhere.The economy is not going to get better overnight, but by thinking a bit more about where you spend your money and working toward a little more education, things will get better. Don't have kids you can't afford. You wouldn't buy a house or a car if you were unemployed- kids are a huge financial commitment and your gametes aren't going to dry up while you work yourselves into a better financial situation. If you expect the government to help you, you are part of the problem. Welfare is there for people who fall on hard times; that doesn't mean it's ok to reproduce because you can get Medicaid and food stamps to take care of you. Take care of yourself. Eat healthfully and exercise a little. By doing this, you'll lower your medical costs and feel better; you'll have more energy to do that hard work I mentioned. The economic recovery and the future well-being of the country is up to us, not the president or our government.

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