So one thing that has always pissed me off about this town is the mindset.
WAAAY back in the day (first quarter of the 20th century) this town got a reputation as a corrupt union town (little Chicago.) Basically the whole us-vs-them business-vs-the-workers way of thinking. It still persists to this day.
A good example of this is the way some of the business leaders around here operate. There are many “pillars of the community” who go out and spew all the right words about community service and being kind and white picket fences apple pie garbage. In private, however, these people are vipers. They like to “button up” business deals, treat their employees like indentured servants, and strut around town doing things like screaming “Don’t You Know Who I Am!!!!” when they don’t receive preferential treatment.
One person in particular really had some markers on him. This guys exemplifies all the things that the left wing political groups here in the United States find wrong with modern society.
– He is the CEO of a bank. (No crime there. That takes a lot of hard work.)
– He is the source of the “don’t you know who I am” example. (I presently work with the woman he screamed at in the middle of a crowded store at rush hour)
– He has a lot invested in local real estate. (Again, no crime there and good on him for thinking ahead)
– He, and one of his employees, are on the board of the local Chamber of Commerce and Development Corporation, so he has a lot of pull on where city project contracts go and such (kinda shady, but a private organization) .
– One of his employees was one of the prime movers and shakers in the commercial lending department at his bank, which provides multi-million dollar financing for those contracts. (It’s just a job. Someone has to do it. No problems)
– The same employee was on the county zoning board at the time, so he had influence on which projects were approved by the local government. (If you compete against Mr. CEO’s interests, I can GUARANTEE you are gonna have government inspectors at your property every day looking for ways to put a stop order on your development. It has happened before.)
– During that time period where all these Bank and Auto CEO’s were getting crucified for flying uber expensive private jets, he decided that the bank needed a jet. Which was a good idea on the face of it. The bank didn’t take any government bailout money.
– During a period of record profits at the bank, some employees expressed private dissatisfaction to each other about the fact that the bank didn’t give any of the lower status workers raises that year. Unfortunately, it is unofficial bank policy to monitor communications between employees for dissent.
His solution? He called an employee meeting where he and his personal ax-woman from HR reminded all the employees that in this state he can fire them at any time for any reason and they should shut their mouths if they want to keep their jobs. Raises are for IMPORTANT people who make money, like loan officers. Everyone else is just a red line on the balance sheet. The officers of the bank (who are mostly related or close personal friends of the CEO) all got massive 5 and 6 digit bonuses.
The reality of the situation from working with certain of these people is that stereotypes exist for a reason. And it isn’t just the banking/commerce sector that has been infested. One of the two other major players, the medical industry, is just as bad.
Nationwide, the cost for a molar root canal (which is, by the way, more expensive that a front root canal) sits between $250 and $1200, average without insurance. At Phelps Family Dentistry my wife got an estimate for an unnecessary root canal that was almost $3000 AFTER insurance. I say unnecessary because it was one, count them ONE non abcessed/infected cavity on the lingual side of one molar. Easily fillable.
The cost of living in North Platte has almost doubled the last 10 years, where the average wage has gone up roughly 10%. But this small town of 23,000 people now has over 25 banks and credit unions. The hospital reps claim the ACA has been making their business unprofitable, but they just did a $100,000,000 upgrade to the local hospital so wealthy patients could rent private luxury suites.
Bah, all this ranting has made me cranky. I might continue this later when I have more time.