I fully understand why most Americans feel pessimistic about their futures and those of their children. If our elite continues to ignore these views, I have great fear that our citizens’ profound disappointment will turn into real anger and a serious social time-bomb.
Many citizens I have spoken with feel extreme frustrations as major political parties and Wall Street are oblivious to their pain and concerns. Professionals fortunate enough to find jobs paying more than $80,000 a year most likely work over 60 hours a week without overtime pay. Considering the high costs of childcare, healthcare, college tuition and housing, a household with 2 children making $160,000 a year is anything but affluent.
Yet most American workers are in far worse shape as the median household income in the U.S. is way below $55,000. Therefore, most families have had a hard time making ends meet. Regardless of the sizes of their paychecks, employees feel no job security, have little time for relaxation, and are often caught in daily traffic gridlock. Meanwhile, many long-time unemployed workers simply gave up looking for work. Unaddressed personal problems are likely to become family, social and fiscal problems.
Our social time bomb is ticking as sizable companies continue to announce lay-offs to increase profit. It is high time that Wall Street and employers worldwide realized that squeezing their overworked employees is not in their own self-interest: Chronic stress does impede one’s creativity and productivity. Laid-off employees probably will drastically reduce their purchases of goods and services. Workers angry enough will march: The “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations may be just the beginning.
Elected officials in Washington, D.C. cannot duck their responsibility, either. Americans see their quality of life rapidly deteriorating while our national debt skyrockets with no end in sight. Certainly, many public policies have contributed to most problems concerning us. However, Congress should be told that swelling population growth — 3 million people added to the U.S. each year and 70 million to the world– does put tremendous pressure on fiscal and natural resources.
I lost my Chinese parents, once very affluent in Saigon, in an unexpected and tragic manner. I have a plea to the elite here and abroad: You cannot take money or power with you when your journey on Earth ends. Why not use your power or wealth to help stabilize worldwide population, protect beautiful nature, encourage individual responsibility and give workers time and the means to enjoy life so that you will be fondly remembered for centuries to come?