So I went a little ranty on Facebook and then again later on Google Plus about how CBS and Time Warner are duking it out and the only people getting hurt are the subscribers of both.
Its a case of the little guy taking it in ass yet again and I really am sick of it.
Honestly "I" personally don't watch live tv, so it does not affect me at all, however it does bother me. This attitude of "as a long as we make more money than we did last year, fuck the little guy" really gets my goat.
But then you can't help but expand on this. Oil companies making record profits by raising prices well beyond what supply and demand would dictate. We export more oil than we import. So don't give me that "low reserves" shit. We use less oil now than we have since 1996 (with brief exception to 2009 thanks to the sudden price hike) thanks to hybrid cars. Prices are high because the oil companies know that we rely on our cars to get to work, to live. That plus the fact that people are using less gas (due to aforementioned hybrids), they raise the price on gas because they want to make more money this year than they did last. And next year they will do it again. And the next..
The worst part is that this is happening at the same time that some of the largest employers in the nation such as WalMart and McDonalds are refusing to pay even long time employees much more than minimum wage in a world where that won't get you a roach encrusted studio on the wrong side of the tracks. It will, and this is literal, will barely get you a room in a shared apartment in that same neighborhood. McDonalds put up a website teaching its employees how to survive on the wages they pay and it did not include clothes, food, utilities or educational expenses. Not only that, but it suggested that you never pay more than 600 dollars rent and 20 dollars a month for medical insurance.
I currently live in Southern California. 600 dollars will barely get you a room in a cheap apartment, let alone food, utilities, gas, etc. Don't believe me? Craigslist that shit. Mostly the only places under 600 (generally 500-550) are sober living houses (where you share a room with one or two other people) though there are sometimes rare exceptions. I have found that 90% of the time those exceptions are female roommate only though. =(
So what does McDonalds suggest you do after you are done with your 40 work week? Get another job. Seriously. Not go to school so you can get a better job.. Nope.. get another crappy job.
There will be some who argue "Oh, but I worked to get me through college, you can do both". Ask yourself.. were you making minimum wage? Because in 30 years from 1980 to 2010 college tuition has increased from an average of $7759 to $18133 a year. This does not include books or supplies, which average over a grand a year by themselves. The average minimum wage worker today makes 15,080 per year, making the average student working 40 hours at McDonalds 4 grand in debt a year. This obviously does NOT include such things as food and shelter.
If you cannot afford your own room on a single job (once you include food and utilities), and you cannot afford school on a single job, how can even two jobs pay for shelter and school?
Let me rephrase: IF YOU WORK 16 HOURS A DAY 5 DAYS A WEEK YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO BOTH LIVE INSIDE AND GO TO SCHOOL. Let alone have the time to actually attend school. Let alone eat. Let alone have a car. Let alone a lot of things you have to give up if you want to better your life these days. You have to choose one or the other.
"But there are student loans that you can get!". I am sorry, but if you are working 80 hours a week, somehow finding time to attend class, sleeping almost never, giving up any semblance of social.. anything, don't you think that after that 4 years of hell are over that you shouldn't have to pay for the privilege? You work 80 hours a freakin week and you still have to get loans? No one sees what is wrong with this scenario?
"But your parents can help!" Because of course everyones parents have money.. right.....
But what if you aren't in school. What if you have a good job and you are actually working 40 hours a week. If you have a family there are probably two of you working unless one of you has a REALLY good paying job.. But you get by.
Here are the essentials, ordered by importance, of folks in Southern California.
6. Air Conditioning
First off, no one gets air conditioning unless you are poor living in a hotel on a day to day basis or rich*, so we won't even go there.
People in So Cal love their cars. However with maintenance prices, gas prices and car prices themselves going up, people are relying more and more on public transportation, which, not surprisingly, is raising its prices as well. This is all while the people that do the actual maintaining, selling of cars and supply of oil make record profits.
People also love access to access to media and information. Prices of this are constantly on the rise despite an near unlimited supply. Cable companies fight over licensing rights when they know they are just going to buck the price on down to the subscriber anyways.. Time Warner for example lost 191,000 subscribers in the second quarter this year, and yet still raised revenue 29 million dollars during that time.
And that's the trend folks. RAISE PRICES, LOSE COSTUMERS, SO RAISE PRICES AGAIN TO COMPENSATE, LOSE MORE CUSTOMERS and the trend will go on until only the rich can afford gas and media.
So thats where we are at. Work your ass off, you don't get crap for it without help. If you are lucky and you work your ass off, you MIGHT get the essentials, but probably not all of them.
So whats a person to do? Lets face it. We can boycott, but we won't. We can write petitions and write letters to our Congressman but no one will read them. There is really nothing, as individuals, we can do. Not right now at least. Because we like our 1st world creature comforts. We are well trained Pavlovian pets. I include myself in this as well, I am just aware of it is all. Like the Romans, we are to busy being entertained to realize we are being oppressed.
One day however enough people will be on the already overcrowded buses, enough people will be arrested for torrenting shows off of public wifi, enough people will have little to lose, that a few brave ones will rise up and say something. More frightening, they will probably DO SOMETHING. The corporations are making this a world of us vs. them. One day the "us" will fight back. I honestly and realistically see a revolution happening in our future if things continue as they are. A real domestic terrorism type situation. People are going to be dumbfounded at the suddeness of it, as if it hadn't been brewing for a long time. I am NOT advocating it, merely predicting it.
Most of you that know me know I try and be an anti-alarmist. And really, I am.
I do not think that things can continue as they are for long. As a result I do not think there will actually ever be a revolution. If there is, I will probably be long dead and buried by that time.
I merely think that things are fucked up now and if they were to continue this way its not going to go well for the nation, or the world for that matter. We need to find a way to change.
*I use the term "rich" a lot in this. By this I generally mean upper-middle class or higher.
Time Warner stats: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/02/busin
Min. Wage over the years: http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/chart.ht
Yearly min. wage: http://poverty.ucdavis.edu/faq/what-a
Tuition costs over the years: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.as
Average price of college books: http://www.scholarships.com/resources/c
McDonalds budget plan: http://blog.ourfuture.org/20130719/mcdo
Oil Consumption: http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/01/31/wh