Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Obese, Anxious and Depressed

Headline on a Salon story today:  Why Americans are Obese, Anxious and Depressed.

I didn’t read the article.  I have my own theories about why Americans are fat, sad, and biting their nails clear down to their first knuckles.

It’s the economy, stupid!

And middle class Americans have realized they are an endangered species. 

Since the rise of the American middle class in the early 20th century, there has been an enduring belief among the rich and powerful that every dollar added to the coffers of the middle class was a dollar “stolen” out of the pockets of the rich.  And they have been hell-bent to get those dollars back, one way or another.  For over 100 years, Big Business has fought organized labor tooth and nail, grudgingly capitulating to demands when required by law, while consistently plotting to get “theirs” back.  And it looks like they have succeeded.

All the best things, all the finest things, from food to medical care to education to housing to entertainment, have increasingly become affordable only by the rich.

We’re fat because the cost of proteins like meat, seafood and even nuts, along with the prices of fresh, unprocessed foods, have risen so astronomically that we subsist more and more on cheap, carbohydrate-laden fast foods or processed meals from WalMart’s shelves and freezer cases.

Since a college education is increasingly outside the realm of affordability, we’re sad because we watch our children grow up to an aimless, jobless, hopeless adulthood.  Or we watch them toil in the only industry left to them—the service industry.  Where they are abused and disrespected on a daily basis not only by the “haves,” but by the “have-wannabes” that live next door.  Or we cry as they are forced to join our "all volunteer" military,  because there is literally no other respectable avenue open to them. The military will promise them many things, but first they will be sent off to grapple with death in corporate-backed wars-for-profit.

We’re anxious because we know there is state-of-the-art medical treatment out there,  but it is not for us.  Even if we have the best insurance our money can buy, we will not have access to the best that medical science has to offer. We  know that the term “catastrophic illness” was coined just for us.  Should we be unfortunate enough to develop one, we will go bankrupt or die.  Or both.

I imagine this might be how the dinosaurs felt as they stared into the face of whatever event wiped them off the face of the earth.


  1. Add in the total insanity on the far right in politics and religion. Finding out that at least twenty percent of my fellow Americans believe that the sun circles the earth is depressing enough. Finding out that some of them have PhD's is even more depressing especially when the degree is in astronomy. WTF! And that "if it wasn't for scripture..." Now I'm really in the WTF territory. The out and out lying by certain politicians is unbelievable. Especially when they also claim to be 'Christians." And so on. Selling water rights to fresh water in states with droughts so we can frack with it. Screwing our environment so we can sell the product overseas. Product like natural gas that so far hasn't blown up in the middle of say Portland or Vancouver. So far. It's enough to depress a hyena.

  2. You are only as happy as your least happy child. I read that somewhere and it has been my experience that it is true. And I think that a two year degree in some type of medical field would be a safe bet to endure. And of course, one could get a job with the rail road, which has it's own rail road retirement and 401-K...so all is not lost. BTW - food is out of this world! Even ALDI is much higher than a few weeks ago. I still believe the rich get richer no matter what.

  3. About those medical field" degrees... This is how the "for-profit" colleges prey on the disadvantaged. The cost is huge, but not as high as regular college. But you pay for the WHOLE PROGRAM, whether you finish or not. The course load is so heavy you cannot work and handle the classes--indeed, you are actively discouraged from doing so. I know half a dozen people who have gone through these things, half of them washed out early; and of the other half, and only one is still in the field after three years. And even SHE is making noises like she wants out. The fact of the matter is, the medical field is not for everyone, any more than the service industry is. And if you are forced to work in a field because "that's what there is," that is not a recipe for success, neither for the workers nor the industries in which they toil.