America enters a new era of pain and destitution-Alexander Cockburn: Take your pick – join the Marines or queue for the soup kitchen
By Alexander Cockburn
AUGUST 12, 2010
I went to get my hair cut the other day and waited 10 minutes while the elderly barber finished buzz-cutting a young Mexican American. After the young man had exited under his thin skullcap of black stubble, Don the barber sighed and said, “That’s the third boy I’ve cut today who’s headed into the Marines.
“They all say the same thing. ‘There’s no work around here and I’ve got a family to support.’ When I tell them to hold off, they say: ‘Too late. I’ve signed up.’ ”
This is Humboldt county, northern California, where the marijuana boom is in its final paroxysms, with people flocking from around the world to get a piece of the action, just like they did in the Gold Rush.
One of the many places selling bags of good soil to marijuana growers ($10 a bag, eight bags to each marijuana plant, grown in a costly 100ft x 30ft plastic greenhouse) took $300,000 in a day recently. So there’s more money here than in most places across America, where the situation is truly desperate.
Profits are up 41 per cent since Obama’s election; yet half of American workers have suffered a job loss or a cut in hours or wages over the past 30 months. They’re saying around 28 million people either have no job or one that doesn’t yield them enough money to get through the week.