What is it I don’t understand about American people?

March 15, 2016
Chas Smit

Chas Smit


I am born Dutch and have lived in California since 1987. As a child, I always looked up to America and someday I wished I would live there. From day one I learned this is not the best and greatest country on earth (a statement made by many of you who have never been abroad).

You probable say; why don’t you go back to where you came from? With my children born and raised here it’s easier said than done. I am kind of stuck here.

Things I just don’t understand:

Common sense

To stimulate a strong economy can only be accomplished by a strong circulating currency.

In other words; people have to earn moderate to high wages so they can consume goods and services. Without that in the equation the economy stagnates. The majority in this country makes less than $10 an hour giving them non to zero spending money resulting in a stagnating economy.

Minimum wage

Minimum wage in the private sector is about $8 or $10 an hour, while prevailing wage is $35 an hour or more. So by law, I can have a guy work all day for $100 while that same guy who works for the city/county/state makes $350 or more a day.

The guy in the private sector has almost non existing benefits and most likely has to work till he drops dead while that same guy working for the government riches himself with a lavish lifestyle and retires before he reached the age of 50. Everybody out there with common sense will admit something here is wrong.


Small businesses are required by law to have both liability and workman’s comp insurance. Some folks obey these laws but many don’t. The enforced law doesn’t check people who don’t obey these rules resulting in unfair competition, basically putting the legal guy out of business. Remarkably, most folks supporting these regulations hire the guys disobeying these laws (Being a small business owner I know this is true).

Large government

Trading commodities (buy and sell) is the foundation of a strong economy. It’s like a business; trading without a profit results into going out of business. Nobody can support anything without making a profit. It’s called revenue!

Revenue is the stronghold of a country. It pays for roads and bridges and all that other good stuff we need in daily life so what’s the problem?

High government wages and sweet benefits have made working for the private sector a joke.
Getting paid so much more and be able to retire before the age of 50 why would anybody wants to work for the private sector and make $10 bucks an hour or less with no benefits?

What most folks don’t realize; government doesn’t create revenue. It spends revenue created by the private sector. Buying x selling x profit = revenue. If revenue no longer exists where will government get its money? For now they borrow money, but since they are putting the private sector out of business, they have no resources to pay it back.

The problem can’t be fixed

Anybody elected into the White House will be hand tight and unable to make any changes. Whether its Hillary, Bernie or Donald. As long as they don’t get what they want through the House or Congress nothing will change. In the meanwhile, the country will fall even further in into disarray.

Most democratic supporters are either local, state or government employees. Certainly, they don’t want to lose their sweet jobs and benefits and therefore they prefer Bernie or Hillary into the white house. These folks simply don’t want to lose their sweet paid jobs and high profile benefits and not to forget their early full paid retirement.

On the other hand, if a Republican gets into the white house the majority of us will stay hungry and uneducated so how to get a happy medium?

Somebody who is able to bring both parties together and get some common sense into the equation and give up on:

1. Wasting money by government and equal pay for state, government and private sector employees. (Like all other industrial countries). No more prevailing wages. Equal pay and benefits for everybody. No exceptions!

2. Eliminate bureaucracy. It simply kills everything. We all want clean environment but we have created such a paper and time consuming mess in witch government is no longer working for us but we are working for the government. It simply doesn’t work!

3. Make economic education mandatory in elementary and high school levels so kids and young adults understand what I am writing here. It’s all common sense but with the low level of educations in this country most folks don’t know how to use their common sense. In all honesty I belief this country likes their stupid people. Donald said it the other night on TV lol.

4. Lobbying can no longer be legal.

Representatives can only be elected based on performance. It simply is ridicules, to be elected into the white house takes almost a billion dollars. No wonder this government is corrupt. I buy my U.S. made prescriptions online in Canada for less than half the price then what I pay here. This has to stop.

How can a stock broker be sentenced into prison for inside market information while at the same time a member of Congress/Senate pockets millions of dollars from lobbying large industries? It makes no sense.

5. A 25 percent flat tax for everybody is a strong alternative to bring this slagging economy back into motion. No more tax exemptions for the rich, no more tax deductibles, no more government subsidies for corporations wanting to move overseas. And if corporations move overseas they will be panelist with higher import tax.

6. Eliminate state and government funding’s (grants) so they no longer waste money by over paying law enforcement, firefighters, local government etc. They all get a spending budget and if they run out they no longer can hold up their hands and take the money from us, we the people.

Last week, I took my dog to Choro Creek Dog Park. Just before the campground I ran into three fire trucks, one ambulance, three cop cars, one sheriff car and two rangers. Between the fire guys and cops, I counted more than 15 people standing around a handcuffed woman. I never hear anybody complain about this sick and money wasting nonsense. It’s like everybody here is in denial. And for those guys in those firetrucks and cop cars; don’t they feel guilty knowing they are wasting so much money

That same morning at that dog park, I met this young lady. When I asked her what she does for a living she told me she works for a local general contractor and her main project is the new juvenile hall addition (for the folks who don’t know where this is. It’s that new construction on hwy 1 near the animal shelter).

She told me it’s a 22 bed addition and the cost of it is $15 million dollars. She also told me the current facilities are not 100 percent occupied and therefore the new addition is just an over capacity. I simply couldn’t belief it. $15 million for a 22 bed housing project or almost $700,000 per bed. It is so disturbing.

It’s your local government and local representatives who allow this waste to happen. In order for them to keep getting funded with grands and federal aid they have to throw money away or otherwise the flow stops. It literally makes me sick into my stomach.
And you folks let this happen because you simply don’t know or you are just in denial. At least most of you out there don’t know.

For all of you out there reading this I want you to know, I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I am a realist with lots of common sense. I simply don’t understand how you folks let this happen right in front of you. It’s like having somebody come into your home steeling your stuff and you’re just sitting there and tell him to go ahead and take what he wants.


I am a non-believer but respect all folks out there with a faith in the religion of your choice. It’s your business and your faith and again I respect that however what I miss out there is the passion and compassion for each other.

While these government folks are wasting millions and millions of dollars and all of you are worshiping on your Sunday morning in church, what are all of you doing for these poor homeless folks. Other than judging them into one category that all of the homeless are druggies and alcoholics what do all of you folks do to solve this growing intercity epidemic?

Have you ever asked yourself the question; what do you do if tomorrow morning on your way to work the ATM machine tells you your card is declining, you arrive at your job and you find out the company went belly up so you’re out of a job, you can’t pay your mortgage so you’re losing your house and eventually you end up in the street?

The same folks you sit next to in church are now looking at you in a different angle. Instead of helping you they now put you in the category of druggies, alcoholic, loser and more. The same folks drinking their  $5 Starbucks coffee may give you 50 cents as if that will help you to get back on your feet.

So again, what are you going to do if you lose everything and you have absolutely no place to go? All these church goers, government employees, the community has done nothing to 0 for the homeless. Instead to chase them away telling them to go to the next town and the next town does the same thing and on and on it goes.

So for all these compassionate money wasters out there, what about converting some of the Camp San Luis or Camp Roberts barracks into living facilities for the homeless?

Each barrack can be split up into small apartments with running water and a small kitchen and for the folks with pets there’s plenty room for dogs out there. The facility will be drug and alcohol free and everybody willing to sign up for a job training program can apply for housing. So now we convert the homeless guy into a clean and shaven participant of society. We implement a job market and within no time these folks are back on track.

How simple and inexpensive can we bring these folks back and make them feel strong and proud again?

So before you vote for Hillary, Bernie, Donald, Marco or Ted think twice. Maybe you should not vote at all. Get rid of your government and let us “we the people” run this country. We hire Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to be the CEO and we’ll be fine.

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I have said for the past 20 years that I will vote for president when there is someone worthy of receicving that vote. There have been none. Bush 1 – a weak career government man. Clinton – a con artist, bush 2- vastly inept and under qualified, Obama – a petulant child and a fiction novel.

We have fools running government at all levels who put self above party, party above country.

Frank underwood for president. At least with him we get to see the whole truth.

Another reason to vote for Trump! If this gentleman wants to live in a socialist country he can go home. We in America will choose to be great again…..not just taken care of by big brother.

“From day one I learned this is not the best and greatest country on earth”

This is a country built on domination, exploitation, and the strong crushing the weak. A people that is self governing but on the rule of speech. As the justice who died reminded us, the speech of today is money.

What’s wrong with the people is that they’ve been told they have a voice, when in fact they do not. There is an emerging school of though which has some evidence that the fall of a middle class is a warning sign of a coming autocratic governance. In that respect, what the American people are doing makes sense. They’re figuring out who they want to lead the end of the democracy as we’ve known it.

Thank you Chas! I don’t agree with all of your points, but I appreciate a perspective that is not bound to some inconsistent left or right ideology. I am not sure why people are criticizing your piece in the context that this is a capitalist country, because it seems to me that you are fully embracing the market and smaller bureaucracy.

But since you say you don’t understand Americans, let me explain. “Conservatives” ™ are people who claim to support small government, wellllll except when it comes to farm subsidies, public safety/law enforcement, the military, and domestic surveillance. “Progressives” ™ claim to be open minded and seeking opportunity and protection for all, welll except for anyone who doesn’t agree with them, and anyone who is put out of business or out of their home from their endless regulations and taxation.

So you see, you don’t get America, because Americans don’t seem to make a lot of sense, so really there isn’t anything to get… welll except for one thing.. Americans are self-interested and not in an enlightened self-interest kind of way.

Reading the majority of these comments, I am happy to be young (28). Unfortunately, the last couple of generations got our country here to a state of obedience and admiration to corruption, racism, and greed. But fortunately, young folk with ideals and energy will continue to have more influence on this earth that we will occupy for much longer than most. Please stop fucking it up permanently for us. Your children. Thank you. Also, thanks Chas.

Chas: While it does appear that you have figure a good many things, identified some of the symptoms and possible solutions, perhaps you could find it in yourself to accept that others may have better solutions and possibly a better definition of what has gone wrong?

Common Sense (Cents?): My favorite quote about a healthy economy is: “A rising tide floats all boats” – I think you and I are about the same age; back when I entered the work force, the US made most of the goods consumed by our citizens right here in the good old US of A. Most people with a high school diploma, an ability to learn and the desire to actually work, could find a job that would eventually allow a family to pay a mortgage payment, a car payment, buy the necessities of life (food, clothing and so on) and still, if fairly frugal, afford to take a vacation every single year. The job I went into had strong union representation and while we didn’t make as much as an electrician, plumber or other trade workers, we did pretty good through the sixties, seventies and most of the eighties.

What happened, you may ask? The election of Ronald Reagan and the mantra that “government was the problem” and that unions were too powerful, coupled with tax breaks for the wealthy, a drastic reduction in tariffs and tax incentives for companies to off-shore their production. An awful lot of jobs went to Mexico, Vietnam, China, India and other areas that allowed companies to make literal killings in profits never even imagined before. Do most of you realize that tariffs were the original revenue source for the operation of the United States government, accounting for more than 50% of the revenue before the Civil War. As more and more recognition was focused on helping businesses be more profitable, and as the income tax was put in place at the turn of the 20th century, more and more tariffs were reduced. Used to be that if a company produced an item here, say a pair of jeans, for $3 a pair, but could produce them overseas at a cost of $1, they would pay a tariff of $2 on the import of those jeans as a means of attempting to keep production here in the states. With the big wink and nod to big business by the Reagan Administration, tariffs were reduced significantly and has led to the current situation we have now. The minimum wage? If it had kept up with other wage increases and inflation since enacted, the actual minimum wage right now would be around $20 a hour. By attacking unions, conservatives have been able to keep wage growth artificially low over the past thirty to forty years. This wasn’t an accident, this wasn’t a by-product of some other factor, this was by design. The “class warfare” that so many conservatives clamor on about rich people having to pay a little more than they have was actually already won by the rich. The single largest transfer of wealth in the world’s history has happened in America over the last thirty or so years. The rich have won, period.

There is a lot more of your piece that I’d like to address, but I have already gone way over on word count just responding to how it is that we’ve gotten to where we are now. Let me just finish up for now with a quick response to your flat tax solution. While the wealthy do have several advantages of tax breaks and write offs going for them right now, a flat tax would hit the lowest income earners the hardest. You may think that a shared pain is equal for all, but putting more of a tax burden on those earning the least will actually stifle the economy to a degree. I do agree that a comprehensive overall of the tax code is long overdue, but a true, no-deductions flat tax will not be the best answer.

Look, if you are pulling down $8-10 it’s because you have no marketable skills. Just because you show up doesn’t mean your entitled to a prevailing wage. Improve yourself and your skill set and your income will improve with it, maybe not here in SLO county, but moving to a better paying job is not a bad idea.

We don’t want to be Europe, capitalism got us this far, why change. Democratic socialism is a road to mediocrity and stale production not to mention a dead end for innovation

And we won’t every be Denmark because America is quickly becoming like the dystopian society of the movie Idiocracy.

These left wingnuts are out of touch with reality. So many of them have lived behind their entitled walls and have never found out the truth. The truth of course is The Bell Curve. And bless those on the middle and left of it because being “super smart” has nothing to do with being a decent human being. However, those at the middle and left need jobs and a good life too. This is where the left wingnuts get lost. They want to subcribe to the idea that we’re all the same. Durh….let’s do Common Core and we’ll all be rocket scientists.


What you don’t get is that the things you speak of are way beyond your pay grade. That’s why you don’t understand and are so frustrated. You’re the rough framer of one house trying to tell the developer what’s up with his 1000 unit project.

When you get to the top and are the “developer” come on back and give your opinion again. Then it’ll be worth the computer screen it was written on.

America was founded on Capitalism…