The Great American Catch -22

I found this when I was digging around in some old assignments from school. I had to chuckle a bit at it. Things haven’t changed much in a decade. Except for maybe adding in Obamacare and the near requirement of having a smartphone which costs more than some cars I’ve owned.

The Great American Catch -22


“I’m sorry we can’t hire you. You just don’t have enough experience.”  I’m sure you’ve heard those words before, we all have. It is the old problem: you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job.  America is full of these frustrating “Damned if you do Damned if you don’t” loops called catch- 22’s.

The United States is often hailed and the land of opportunity and freedom. However, it is actually the land of stalemates and restrictions. We box ourselves in with these ironic restrictions in order to regulate our lives and make the country fair.

Car insurance is one of those areas.  The government requires drivers to carry auto insurance for the protection of other drivers. The government doesn’t subsidize car insurance. If a driver can’t afford to carry insurance, they are under the constant fear of being fined or having their license is revoked. If the driver can’t afford the insurance then how are they going to afford the fines?  If the driver’s license is revoked, how will the driver get to work, to make the money to pay the fines or to afford the insurance?

Health insurance companies are great at snaring Americans in catch-22s. Most doctors’ offices require you to have health insurance before you are treated. Health insurance companies require you to be in perfect health before you can be insured. So unless you buy full coverage insurance, including dental and vision, when you are born it is unlikely that you will ever be in perfect health. For some, even birth is too late.

America was once the land where a person could “go out and seek their fortune” by working and being creative. Fortune seekers are now hampered by the need for governmental regulation.  For example, if a person wanted to make a product and sell it they would first have to get a license to sell the product. To get the license the person has to know how much they are going to sell, but in order to do that they would have to sell some. It is easy enough to make a guess, but if the product is a new invention then the guessing is not so easy a task.

Financial institutions are masters of the catch- 22.  Trying to get a loan to buy a house is impossible unless the buyer has enough money in their pocket that they don’t really need the loan in the first place. Bankruptcy is the same way; the filer must have at least $500 to file the papers. But if the filer has $500 then why file bankruptcy why not pay off the bills. It is also impossible to build credit without a credit card; however you can’t get a credit card without credit.

Our personal lives are filled with these little ironic annoyances. If you have children you need more money to live. To get more money, you have to get a job. To get a job you have to put the children in daycare, which costs money. So in order to make money you have to pay out money. In many cases it is almost more money going out than coming in.

Or how about the adult who is returning to school to get a degree and a career? They must first find a job that pays enough money in order to afford college. However, the only way to get that kind of job is to have a degree and a career.

The American culture is self-destructive by nature. Americans demand the constitutional right to carry fire arms. They don’t stop to think why this is so necessary. We want to carry guns to protect ourselves from other people with guns. If there weren’t any guns we would not have to protect ourselves from people with guns.

America no longer has the ability to stop the catch-22. The American motto of “freedom for all”, means that anyone can have anything, anywhere. This creates the problem of trying to please everyone. But in trying to please everyone, it starts a catch-22.

Some of these catch-22s will make a person laugh and are apparent only if you think about them. Such as someone who buys a sports utility vehicle (SUV) that is loaded with all of the extra suspension and off-road perks and then only uses it to run to the grocery store. The Phone Company announces triumphantly that you can now report telephone outages over the Internet. But don’t you need a working telephone line to use the Internet?

Once, withholding education from the masses was the most effective way to control them now you simply turn them loose in America and watch them spin their wheels. They are too busy trying to make it somewhere to realize they will never get anywhere. Welcome to America.



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