Internet providers in America (companies that already charge the consumer almost triple what similar services cost overseas) are throttling service to anyone who downloads pirated software or films or music. Any concert or show you buy tickets for includes a "convenience fee" of $5 - $17. Credit cards charge upwards towards 40% interest making that late night $70.00 pizza and beer purchase actually cost you $98.00. To park your car in the city of Chicago, you pay $0.25 per five minutes. Stoplight cameras in one local jurisdiction were removed because they were too effective at retarding crime and the city needed the fine fees to survive financially.
This is how it goes when the dogs start eating the other dogs.
This is how it goes when the robust Obama economy seems headed in the toilet.
This is how it goes.
When the financial penalties for getting sick and not paying your ridiculously price-gouged bill is higher than the personal cost for armed robbery (even with the ACA this is still true), the coin has been flipped. I'm pretty certain that routinely stealing cars and just leaving them parked is going to be cheaper than actually paying for parking. Why buy flowers for your lady when you can just go to the neighbor's yard and rip off some of those petunias?
This is the price (figuratively) that we pay as a Consumer Culture. When the CEOs and Political Power Players start to feel a pinch, they don't cut back on what they consume. They charge the rest of us more so they can continue on, pain or sacrifice free. A CEO who makes $250 million a year—in bonuses—just isn't going to give back a million bucks to save the 25,000 $40K per-year jobs on the chopping block. He's gonna chop 'em.
We will all do one of two things when this starts to get lunatic. We will either bitch really vocally about how much things cost and how unfair it is or we will consume less. Less food, less petroleum, less buying "new" furniture made from pressed sawdust and glue, less cable TV, less pairs of fashionable shoes, less of everything unnecessary. Look around and feel the ball-peen hammer of reality smack you in the soft feel-goods as you realize how much shit you buy that is all luxury. And yes, in spite of the neighborhood you live in or your economic circumstances, McDonald's, Cable TV, craft beer and Cocoa Puffs are luxury items. So, it is likely that doing with less will lose out to bitching about the $17 mark up on hair gel.
Those in control of the Machine prefer us to bitch about it. If we complain but do not change our habits of spending and consuming, they keep raising the prices. And we keep paying. If we want an even(er) playing field, we need to stop playing that game. Not yelling about the unfairness but choosing to deny our children and ourselves the stuff that is both sexy and completely unneeded.
Almost every conception of a God is a vengeful, hateful creature on some level. Our American Golden Calf is the Dollar Bill. And our God is merciless and ruthless and brings out the worst, most heinous parts of who we are all capable of being. Our God rewards crime. Our God rewards greed. Our God thinks the guy who sells bottled water for $25 a bottle in disaster zones is a prophet.
To paraphrase Adam Webster, money is like fire—it can keep you warm but if you get it in your hair, your head will explode.