by Joe Kirkpatrick
Unemployment in our country is 12%, our national debt is over one trillion dollars, and home foreclosures are at an all time high. We are in a recession, the foreclosure rate is the highest since the great depression, and our dropout rate is still 1 out of every 3 students. Just how bad do we have it?
A few years ago, I was having trouble with my computer. I called the company's technical support number, and the man who answered the phone obviously was in India. My computer problem was fairly severe, so we were on the phone together for over an hour. After he had helped me get my computer woes solved, he asked, "Is there anything else I can help you with?" Having a degree in Sociology, I have a natural curiosity about people, so I replied, "Yes, I would like to talk to you about your life."
Seems like I did not have just a run of the mill phone worker on the phone. Hachi was a supervisor of five phone technicians, and due to heavy call volume, was answering calls to help out. As we talked, I found out he was 24 years old, and came from a family with three children. They, along with their father and mother, were raised in a one room shack that had electricity, but no indoor plumbing. Hachi spoke with much pride in his voice about working his way up to a supervisor position with the computer company. Instead of living in a one room shack with no plumbing, he now has a one room efficiency apartment with indoor plumbing he lives in by himself. For his efforts to better himself and climb up the company ladder to the rank of supervisor, he makes $16,000 (US) per year. I asked about health insurance, and he said the company he works for doesn't offer it. He then bragged, "But I even have my own scooter."
Now, let's go back ten years to when Hachi was 14. Let's take a huge helicopter over to India and pick up Hachi's one room shack and drop it virtually anywhere in America. Human Services would soon show up and condemn their shack and move them into government assisted housing. Food would be no problem because the children would get free breakfast and lunch at school, and food stamps would be available for food at home. Then let's suppose Hachi finished school and went to work for a major computer company here, and rose to that supervisor position. Forget that one room efficiency apartment! Instead, Hachi would have a high end townhouse, a sports car, and company provided health insurance to boot.
The average worker in India earns 24 cents an hour. The average worker in China earns 48 cents per hour. There is no social security, or unemployment benefits. If you cut your arm off in a machine while working, you are fired. If you don't have much money for housing, you live in a shack with no indoor plumbing. If you don't have food to put on your table, you don't eat. If you get deathly ill, you die. In Indonesia, 80% of the people have a parasite living in their body. In the Congo, women and children are raped and murdered randomly at will.
Just how bad do we have it? Think about it - Not that bad at all!