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Saturday, 22 July 2017

This is not America

On 14 July 2017, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase made an interesting comment: “We have become one of the most bureaucratic, confusing, litigious societies on the planet. It's almost an embarrassment being an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid shit we have to deal with in this country.” (eg, CBS, WPZerohedge)

This Jamie Dimon remark is in line with other reports: (1) Bloomberg's America is now a "Second Tier" country. Or (2) the 2016 announcement (PDF) by the Centers for Disease Control that the United States is in the midst of an unprecedented prescription opioid overdose epidemic (eg, pain killers). Or (3) the increasing mortality rate of middle-aged white Americans since the late 1990s, a.k.a. the "deaths of despair" (eg, BloombergBrookings, FTNPR).

The aforementioned paragraph does not include the deplorable situation for black Americans. Many people are already aware of the disproportional statistics related to crime, drugs, imprisonment and unemployment for black Americans. They might think it's better to be white in America. Perhaps it is but only if you are white and rich, else you are "white trash". 

Early February 2017, the FT featured an article written by an American citizen, living in the UK, born in South Africa, and being from Dutch descent. The author's bipartisan observations show how weird America has become when you are not living there (anymore).

One of the author's observations: "It’s true that inequality has risen across the west, but no country in the EU has a Gini coefficient of income inequality anywhere near as high as the US’s." Actually, just eight (8) men - of which 6 white men in the USA - own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity (eg, Oxfam, Fortune).

I should stress that at least 7 US billionaires claim to be worried about American income equality. There are also groups of patriotic millionaires and 50 NY millionaires advocating for higher taxes. This is however also self-interest as poor people cannot buy their goods.

The opening quote from Jamie Dimon is a reiteration of his April 2017 assessment: "It is clear that something is wrong [with the US] — and it’s holding us back." (ZeroHedge). WP: "The inability to make headway on significant legislation is “holding us back and it is hurting the average American. It isn’t a Republican issue; it is not a Democratic issue.”

I haven't lost my hope in America. I admit that Donald Trump makes a continued effort to crush it. Mid 2015, I genuinely thought Trump could make a difference. He does indeed but not in the way I hoped for. The only goal of the Trump-Bannon Revolution is disruption, chaos and destruction, and particularly the Obama legacy, in the continued absence of realistic Trump plans.

It's hard to believe that this is America going forward and going down the drain. I still like to think that this is not America.

This is not America (1985) by Pat Metheny Group featuring David Bowie