Mad as Hell

Unemployment, Greed and Lack of Financial Education

In the movie, Network, Howard Beale, an aging news anchor, gives one of the most famous speeches in movie history, capped with the line, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Crazy-eyed and drenched in rain, he proceeds to encourage all of New York City to put their heads out the window and yell the same thing at the top of their lungs. Surprisingly, it happens and the whole city erupts in the yells of the residents' pent up frustrations. Beale's speech, set in 1975, is eerily relevant today as it deals with themes like inflation, unemployment, depression, and more.

I thought I’d share this speech with you:

I also thought I’d share some articles with you from the last couple weeks that will show you why, today in real life, many people are also as mad as hell:

  • Banks Extract Fees On Unemployment Benefits” - People who are broke and unemployed are now having to pay fees to the banks to get their unemployment money from the bank. It's ironic that the actions of the banks lead to the financial crisis and now they're punishing the very people they made poor.
  • BofA Retreats on Debit Fee, Citing Uproar” - Bank of America, greedy for more money, nearly put in place a plan to charge people $5 a month to access their own money via debit card before bowing to intense consumer pressure. The other greedy banks quickly abandoned their same plans.
  • The Net Worth of Congress Rose 23.6% Since 2008” - Rather than fix our economy, our politicians have instead, personally gotten richer. Further proof that financial crisis is good for the rich and bad for the poor and middle class, as explained in Conspiracy of the Rich.
  • Everyone on Wall Street Is Playing ‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’” - The rich and the powerful are using the system to get richer by playing by the new rules of money while everyone else loses money by playing by the old rules of money.
  • Why the Kids Are All Broke” - “A perfect storm of economic forces has caused the net worth of people under 35 to fall by 68 percent between 1984 and 2009 according to the Pew Research Center. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for the young and depraved given that the nation’s olds (people 65 or older) saw a net worth increase of 42 percent in the same period.”
  • The true picture of US unemployment” - While the government wants you to believe unemployment is around 9 percent, the true unemployment rate is around 16.5 percent. Many people have been out of work so long that they’ve simply quit looking.

As you can see, there’s plenty of reason to be mad as hell. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

In the movie, Network, people stick their heads out the window and yell. It’s a poignant yet pointless moment. It doesn't change a thing.

In the streets today, many people are doing the equivalent of sticking their heads out the window and yelling. They’re sitting in parks and unsure what will happen next. Others are complaining on blogs. Seems everyone shares the sentiment that they "aren’t going to take it anymore," but very few people are doing anything about it.

As I’ve written before, I don’t think yelling and protesting will fix our problems. They only make us feel better for a while, but at the end of the day, our situation is the same.

Instead, I believe that financial education is the only way to change our life and the lives of others.

After all, the reason why the rich and powerful can take advantage of us and game the system is because they have a financial education, and the average person knows nothing about money or how the rich use it to get richer off of them.

Instead of yelling, throw your energy into financial education and learn about money and investing. Instead of protesting, take action and beat the rich at their own game. Instead of complaining, be part of the solution.

As the few articles above show, there is plenty of legitimate reason to be angry. Most people have been dealt a bad hand. But life isn't fair, and those that win in life are those who make their own cards. We’re all mad as hell. Let’s do something about it that will create a better future for us and our families, not just an interesting footnote in the history books.

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