Ryan’s a young guy who went to buy a car Friday. He took slightly more than $2,000 to a dealership to buy a car that costs about $10,000. After test driving the car and agreeing to a price, he filled out all the paperwork — only to be told at the end that he didn’t make enough money, even though he works full time and has a good record.
He was hurt and angry. It wasn’t just that he needed a car. He felt that he had done everything he’s been told he’s supposed to do as a young adult in this society, but he’s not finding the opportunities he expected — and he’s hearing “no” often enough that he’s getting frustrated. And his frustration is turning to anger.
How much anger has to build up in a reasonably peaceful society before violence starts? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m talking to more and more people who are angry. And it worries me.
I have no idea whether Ryan should have gotten a car loan today. A few years ago, I suspect he would have driven the car off the lot with that kind of down payment, but that’s not really the point. The point is that there are a lot of people right now who feel the way Ryan feels.
They’re angry. They’re frustrated. And they feel as though they’ve been cheated in some way by a system that doesn’t meet their needs. I’m not arguing that they’re right. I’m just suggesting that we’re going to reach a certain point at which the Ryans of the country — people who had a stake in the system in the past — are going to get angry enough to do something. What will that be? I have no idea. Riots? Turning to lives of crime? Demanding more from governments?
All I know is that if the anger keeps building, we’re not going to like the results. A free market works for everyone. A rigged market manipulated for the benefit of certain people — with no concern for the angry people it creates at the bottom — can’t last forever. The clock is ticking.