Canned Goods and Ammo

 Business, Congress, Featured, Politics, Presidency  Comments Off on Canned Goods and Ammo
Sep 292008

I’ve been joking with a co-worker this afternoon that, given what happened today with the economic bailout package, and Wall Street’s reaction, we need to get to the grocery store to buy canned goods and ammo. Unfortunately, that may not be too far from reality. Most of the Republicans, and enough Democrats voted against the bail out plan that it failed and the Dow Jones Industrial Average nose-dived over 777 points. That’s the largest one day drop ever.

So what will happen next? I’m not sure, but this can easily turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy resulting in a downward spiral. The Asian and European markets will most likely have huge drops over night, which could result in even more declines on Wall Street tomorrow when trading resumes. I’m sure the pundits and reporters, along with the analysts, are all wringing their hands and predicting the end of the world as we know it, and that could cause just that result as confidence tumbles.

I’ve been getting emails from some outfit called True Majority. They’ve been stirring the pot, along with other organizations, to get people to contact their representatives and oppose the bailout. They think this a good thing, and that now Congress can fix things by:

  • Putting real regulations back on runaway financial corporations, and taking an ownership stake in exchange for any taxpayer support
  • Providing mortgage relief so ordinary Americans stop losing their homes
  • Putting millions to work by investing in new green jobs and infrastructure
  • Investing in a health care plan to cover everyone

These are all certainly noble goals, and the whole Reaganomics idea that wealth trickles down has never worked. The wealthy get more wealthy only when the economy is producing jobs, and people have money to spend. This enriches those that own the means of production and the raw materials. Reaganomics shuts down the creation of additional wealth, and all the Bush Administration and the Republicans have done is enable a transfer of the existing wealth to a select few of their friends. Now it’s all been accumulated, and no additional wealth is being created.

The bullets above, published by this True Majority outfit, will result in the creation of new and additional wealth, and everyone can participate, so it’s a good thing, but these are long term fixes. If the economy completely crashes, none of the shit above means anything, as there won’t be the resources to accomplish it. Continue reading »

The Free Marketeers and Cardinal Richelieu

 Business, Election, Featured, Places, Politics, Society  Comments Off on The Free Marketeers and Cardinal Richelieu
Sep 192008

Today, while running an errand, I passed a sight which gave me some pause. I’m not sure why I noticed, and I’m not sure why I am drawing the assumptions I’m drawing, but I’ll tell the story anyway. Some years back, to make ends meet, I worked a part time job for a lot of years. For several of those years, I sold shoes at a Florsheim shoe store right in the main corner of the largest mall in Greensboro, NC. To pass the time when we were slow, I would often pick out someone walking by, and just based on what I could see, I’d make up the person’s current life situation. If that person came in the store, and any sort of chat developed, I was often astounded by how accurate my story had been, and so, from that perspective, I tell another story. I have no clue how accurate it is, but it illustrates a point about the recent economic downturn.

We were driving up Dale Mabry Highway, the main north-south road here in Tampa. Walking north (going south would eventually run you into the water of the bay) was two men. One of them was maybe near my age in his late 40s or early 50s. The other person was a bit younger, probably in his late 20s. (I don’t think they were related.) They both had backpacks and were carrying more bags by hand. They had the look of people moving on to somewhere else taking along just what they could carry. I didn’t get the idea from their appearance they had been homeless, more like people who had been displaced.

I had only a passing look, but was able to see the younger man’s face best, as he was on the side closest to the street. But in just that fleeting moment, I saw a sense of profound sadness and resignation. He carried a bit of the dazed look one often sees on people walking out of disaster areas. The story I took from these two was that they were possibly construction workers who had just run out of work, and had no or very little money left. Maybe they’d heard from a friend that there was work to be had somewhere else…in another town…and they were headed there in hopes of finding work.

walking.jpgIn my mind’s eye I saw the old black and white photos of the people loading all they had on a truck or in a car, and heading out of the dust bowls. Taking with them this idea of going elsewhere with the hope of just finding a way to survive. I was overcome with an almost overwhelming sense of sadness for these two guys, and for our country as a whole.

A friend I know through his blog and our email exchanges has coincidentally written about people trying to make it in the face of today’s economic downturn. I have written myself in just the past couple of days about all the businesses I’ve noticed closed here in South Tampa. Today’s errand took us to the northern part of town, and there I noticed a number of closed restaurants and other business along this main road. The government is bailing out failing company after failing company. There is a report today on which says that Florida’s unemployment rate hit 6.5% last month, the highest rate in 13 years. The Progress Report reports that, Homeless advocacy groups and city agencies across the country are “reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation.”     Continue reading »