“This is an impressive crowd: the Have's and Have-more's. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base.”
- George W. Bush
Ok... I'm not anti-capitalist, I don't disagree with people amassing wealth. What I do disagree with is amassing wealth while others go hungry, cold and unsheltered. The recent bonus fiasco at AIG is a prime example. Personally I think Steven Colbert has the right idea... an angry mob with torches and pitchforks.
There is something very mockish about the state of our economy. Millions are unemployed and financial folks at AIG and Merrill-Lynch (right before it was sucked up by the B of A mothership) are getting bonuses larger than my total lifetime's gross earnings? Please... knowing how hard I've worked throughout my adult life it rankles just a tad that my tax money is going to reward failure. I mean it is certainly not unusual. After all we've been paying for a drug war that now costs around $70 billion a year and the only success that Prohibition II has created has been for the drug cartels and the drugwar-prison-industrial-complex.
Sure, sure... had I not dinked around in High School and ended up ith a decent grade point average and then gone on to college and studied business instead of liberal arts... I may have ended up receiving my own million dollar bonus for failure. Sigh...
But isn't it a tad disgusting that some folks own multiple homes (mansions to me), some *cough-John-McCain-cough* not even aware of how many homes they own? Is it narcissism that drives people to live lifestyles that are beyond extravagant? Or is it as normal for them to be super-rich as it is for me to be super poor? Are the labor and efforts of some people really thousands of times more valuable than the efforts of blue-collar employees? And what about the 30,000 people that die from starvation and malnutrition every day around the planet? Surely... surely there is something very unhealthy in our collective (un)consciousness that has gotten us to this point where we celebrate while innocents suffer and die? Perhaps when we spend as much feeding the hungry as we do waging war and creating weapons of mass destruction... perhaps then... sigh...
And don't dare call me a bleedingheart liberal. It is just who I am that makes me ask these questions... I have a strong sense of empathy (and fortunately an equally strong sense of humor) and ever since I was a kid and would get teary-eyed watching Lassie I've never been able to avoid that compassionate sorrow that feeling others' distress brings. And thats funny in a way.
When I was working for Western Building Maintenance in Boise I was one of the few who was willing to work cleaning up after suicides and homicides. It didn't affect me in a negative way seeing the gore, the blood and brains... but a movie or story intended to tug at heart-strings and I'm teary again.
These days I am more than a tad worried. Employment is hard to find, money is losing value, my kids eat more and just keep growing... and the government seems to be stuck on stupid.
What part of broke don't they understand? In providing these bailouts they are spending money we don't have. And where will the money be coming from? Hmmm... you and me maybe? Ya think? Government wants to tax everything they can get their grubby, greedy, overfed fingers on. What they aren't saying is where they plan to cut their own fat. Our government is hardly trim and fit. Neither are we rolling in dough. In fact we're beyond broke, we're in hock up to our ears. What? $10 trillion? Without work I can't dig out of the hole I'm in. And if I take a $9/hour job? The hole just gets deeper.
I know it'll work out. It always does. One way or another...
“Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality”
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy