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Your “New” Normal Has Been My Normal For Years

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Our Campaigner in Chief has once again hit the town hall circuit, criss-crossing the country for a barbecue here and a backyard there. My opinion doesn’t count for much, but if he were so concerned about greenhouse gasses, he might consider abandoning Air Force One (does it really cost a million dollars a trip to take him for a spin?) and hunker down for the duration to work on real problems, like a faltering economy, massive debt and high unemployment.

But no, I understand the President’s compulsion to get out there and rally the vote. All politicians, not just Democrats, are suffering from the malaise of the masses finally having it up to here with career politicians. I might be the ultimate cynic, but I’m not the only one who thinks we’ve been had, if not royally screwed.

President Obama is in his element when he’s in campaign mode. Such junkets are usually a love fest between the adoring crowd and the leader of the free world. The participants are vetted and chosen, sometimes positioned in the crowd so that they will make the most impact visually. Remember, TV is important. Most of the time these events are invitation only, meaning anything other than a Democrat would have a snowball’s chance in hell of gaining entrée.

So I yawn, ho-hum. Yes, he is my president too, but so far I have been overloaded with information. The rhetoric is the same-old, same-old. To be honest, unless spectacularity isn’t screaming in the headlines, I’d rather dig in my garden.

But wait a minute. Just when I think the supply of softballs is unending, along comes a regular person like Velma Hart. This Democrat, who yes, believes in, and voted for Obama, had the unmitigated gall (or courage) to ask him perhaps the toughest set of questions he has been lobbed since taking the oath of office. More than a few media personalities and talking heads should take note.

As I watched the video, I was struck by Ms. Hart’s sincerity, her tenacity and her level-headed thinking. Here was someone, just like me, who harbored the same worries about her life and the lives of her family. She worries about going back to the days of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, just as I do. She posed the question “Is this the new normal?”

Well, Ms. Hart (and the rest of the country), welcome to my world. Your “new” normal has been my normal since 2001.

A strong comparison can be made between the state of Michigan and the rest of the country as a whole. We have here a state that has been bleeding jobs, and thus population. Michigan’s expenses far exceed what it makes in taxes, what with social services, bloated government, high prison population and legacy costs of benefits and retirement for state workers. Personal income tax and small business tax do nothing to lure business to make a home here. Cut spending? Ha, ha — the idea! It’s more exciting to teeter on the edge of insolvency. Besides, we can make do on stimulus money or hope for a bailout. The corruption in Detroit is not only embarrassing, but we’ve also seen, as the layers are peeled away little by little, that it also costs all of us untold millions.

The fun ride for the rest of the cash-strapped country is just beginning; here, it’s been in full swing for almost a decade. Had Velma beenliving here, she would have left years ago.

Business is declining, yet we work longer hours. We are petrified of a future with no Social Security or Medicare, so we save more. The unknown has us cutting down on improvements to home and business, freezing salaries, buying used cars instead of new. There are no more vacations on a whim like we could when we were younger and had money to burn. I use my time and airfare to visit family, and instead of renting a car, I mooch one from a relative. I grow my own food, do my own yard work, clean my own house, cut and color my own hair. I buy more of my groceries in bulk. If an item isn’t at least 50% off, I won’t buy it at all. We don’t eat out as often as we used to, and splurge on really good dinners on weekends only.

We can’t sell our house, because it’s worth about half what we paid for it. We’ve been thinking of renting out the extra bedrooms, but we may need them for when the kids might have to boomerang back to the nest. It took eight months for my son to find a part-time job after graduating from college, and who knows if the daughter can find employment in two years when she has her degree.

The Obama road show brought another pressing question in yesterday’s backyard barbecue in Iowa. David Greenspon wanted to know why the president was in favor of a tax increase for those making $250,000 or more. The answer? More double-speak about tax breaks and supposed incentives only a few are eligible for and a quick soft-shoe away from the issue.

Although we own our own business, we don’t make Mr. Greenspon’s kind of money, but I feel his pain. Our income doesn’t afford us the privilege of kicking back and relaxing. There are constant worries: increased state and federal taxes and health care costs. Any misstep and we are one shoe away from disaster. On the other end, we are not directly related to the auto industry, but if local unemployment remains high, our customer base dries up. Another industry has yet to move in and take the place of the Big Three.

Our “normal” is not one I had envisioned. Years of hard work and perseverance, of high ethics and a desire to do a good job have little chance of being rewarded these days. We have no guaranteed pension, just what we have saved, and it’s not enough to retire on. It’s not a joke when I state plainly that we will work until we drop dead.

The new normal is a roller-coaster ride of uncertainty.

Get used to it.

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.
  • Ruvy

    Having lived on the street for a year, and with no hope at all for several after that, I really feel for you and for your husband.

    I hate to say this, but Australia beckons. Too bad you’re not Jewish. We need level headed and intelligent people here like you.

    Michigan needs you too. So, does America. But increasingly, neither appears to be able to make it worth your while to stay.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Joanne –

    In the short term – the next decade or two – America is in danger of becoming a right-wing oligarchy. Indeed, in many ways we are one already. If America can make it through the next twenty years, then the youth and younger adults of today will comprise the majority of the electorate…and as a whole they are FAR more liberal than what passes for a ‘normal conservative’ today (which would’ve been seen as a far-right extremist loony a generation earlier).

    Nothing I can say will help your situation right now, but here’s a little something to give you some hope that this far-right lunacy will not stand the test of time.

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes that’s it Glenn. We’re not “progressive” enough.

    You’re right that youth tend to be more liberal. The only problem with your little pipe dream is that they will eventually grow up, see the world as it reallly is and abandon the bullshit left wing rhetoric of their heady impetuous youth.

  • zingzing

    archie, do you think the world has steadily become more conservative?

  • John Wilson

    Whistling past the graveyard, Arch?

  • Arch Conservative

    There is no doubt that in term of global politics the USA is a slightly right of center nation.

    WE’re also seeing conservative trends in Europe and Canada while the libs in this country claim Shang gri la lies to our left, our far left.

    This country didn’t get to be number one in terms of economic , social and military might by being just another european style socialist state now did it.

    Capitalism encourages greed, socialism encourages laziness and dependency. No pure “ism” can work but rather a combination of different “isms” is what the dr ordered for a stable, productive society.

    One of my favorite people, Mark Steyn, pointed out in one his books that if one were to compare the relative safety and peace that America has enjoyed as a nation over the past two hundred years to the rest of human history one would see it as an anomoly. Most of human history and civiliaztion has been dominated by war, upheaval and general misery. So maybe the good times will be over for us too soon and we can join in the rest of the world in the suffering and misery.

    In the meantime I guess I’ll do what I have to do to make life as pleasant as possible for myself and my loved ones without delibrately trying to make it worse for others.

  • zingzing

    “No pure “ism” can work but rather a combination of different “isms” is what the dr ordered for a stable, productive society.”

    there, i will agree with you.

    “WE’re also seeing conservative trends in Europe and Canada”

    i don’t pay that much attention to economic politics, but the right wing trending i’ve seen in europe has been troubling. france and the gypsies, france and the burqas, switzerland and the minarets, etc, etc.

    “maybe the good times will be over for us too soon and we can join in the rest of the world in the suffering and misery.”

    ron paul, of all people, made the point that it was war and the conquest of new lands that has lead to the end of all great nations. with our multiple fronts and our intractable position in the middle east, we may be headed that way.

    “In the meantime I guess I’ll do what I have to do to make life as pleasant as possible for myself and my loved ones without delibrately trying to make it worse for others.”

    a reasonable position, and the law of laws: do what you will, but harm no other. what’s wrong with you tonight? being all reasonable and shit.

  • Arch Conservative

    Well if you know me then you will know that Ron Paul is the only Washington politician that I don’t believe will be going to hell when he passes zing. The rest of them aren’t even worth the dirt on his shoes.

  • zingzing

    ron paul has his problems. he’s right about some things. he’s dead wrong about others. a bit of a conundrum, he is. i don’t think anyone likes everything about him. but at least he’s consistently baffling.

  • Doug Hunter

    #6

    Europe is just a different animal. Check out this publicly funded UK video featuring schoolchildren who question global warming being graphically blown up and the gore spattered on their classmates. Funny huh!

    This is what I don’t want in America, the government indoctrinating conformity (I’m thankful my tax dollars aren’t going to fund garbage like this yet… directly.. that I know of), but it soon will be. We’re running as fast as we can to be just like them.

  • Arch Conservative

    Ron Paul is not perfect. He’s just a man. But what sets him apart from everyone else in Washington is that he is honest. Agree with him or not, you know that when he answers your question he’s telling you what he truly believs and not what his handlers told him to say based on the latest polls.

    He may not have evrything right (although I think he gets most of it right on the domestic issues) but he’s sincere and he’s genuine. He has no equal in terms of character and integrity in Washington.

  • zingzing

    doug, i saw a psa the other day that equated fast food with heroin. “you wouldn’t shoot your child up… would you?”

    it must be noted that 10:10 (the environmental group behind the psa that you link) seems to be funded mostly by the guardian newspaper. maybe i’m wrong, but i can’t find any reason to believe it’s “publicly funded” or “government indoctrinating conformity,” as you say. did the british gov’t have something to do with this?

    it’s pretty funny, although the message is incredibly muddled. someone fucked up.

  • Doug Hunter

    #12

    I don’t see the humor in blowing up kids. I don’t think you would either if the message was something you disagreed with. I’m trying not to invoke Godwin’s law here, but children are very sensitive to stuff like this. Germany was showing “funny” caricatures of Jews in their films in the 1930’s too. What starts as a joke can turn ugly very quickly as it desensitizes the mind to the idea.

  • zingzing

    “I don’t see the humor in blowing up kids.”

    sorry. sick humor gets me.

    “I don’t think you would either if the message was something you disagreed with.”

    i’m not sure what the message is in the end. are they going to kill people if they don’t agree? doubt it. are those kids killing themselves? i dunno. just what exactly i’m supposed to get out of it is rather vague. but on a purely comedic level, it was absurd and strange. i’m alright.

    “I’m trying not to invoke Godwin’s law here, but children are very sensitive to stuff like this.”

    well then don’t. and oh no! the children! come on.

  • Doug Hunter

    Ok, we agree to disagree. I do enjoy gore and am a huge horror flick fanatic. I watch every stupid zombie movie and love it no matter how bad it is. I do see the humor in blowing up kids, just not with a political message attached.

    I would be embarassed if the state of Texas funded a video in which spanish looking schoolkids who ‘didn’t have their citizenship papers’ were blown to smithereens. I suspect you might find a way to dislike that campaign or empathize with the immigrant groups that denounced it… or maybe I’m wrong and you’d think it funny as well.

  • zingzing

    you’re probably right about that second paragraph. although i might laugh at the balls on display.

  • Jordan Richardson

    WE’re also seeing conservative trends in Europe and Canada

    News to me.

  • STM

    Arch: “This country didn’t get to be number one in terms of economic , social and military might by being just another european style socialist state now did it.”

    No, it got to be that way because at the turn of the 20th century, it had become the most populous of the capitalist, industrial western democracies – and with a little shove 40 years later, was on its way to superpower status thanks to industrial output and post-war consumerism that couldn’t be matched.

    That’s it, pure and simple. Industrialisation made America a power; population, industrial output and canny sales of its military hardware made it a superpower. Nothing to do with politics … or at least nothing to do with any kind of politics that were really any different to the other western democracies of the time.

    Its leap from just another world power with half a dozen others to superpower with one other during WWII, also came at a time when the European social democracies could hardly have been described as socialist states (and that includes conservative-thinking Britain, which was still holding on to most of its colonies at the time).

    So that kind of thinking has nothing to do with anything.

    Of course, we know what the extreme right did in the lead-up to WWII.

    You know, those nice folks ruling the roost in Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and militarist Japan.

    More right thinking from Arch, but this time without some of the thinking.

  • STM

    Or, he said, sounding like a broken record, another example of Americans buying in to the delusion of the myth of American exceptionalism without bothering to look at the facts beyond what some like-minded fella told them during a long-winded jibber session at the pub.

  • zingzing

    we go to bars, not pubs. but i agree.

  • STM

    Lol. Sorry zing. You do have pubs though … I’ve been to a few in New York :)

    Irish ones … mostly I don’t remember much about it, but I know I was there because the bit I CAN remember is actually entering through the front door. Beyond that it’s all a bit of a blur.

    Those bloody Irish joints operate like a temporary mind vortex. It must have something to do with the obligatory downing of 15 pints of Guinness.

  • STM

    It just happens by osmosis.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “This country didn’t get to be number one in terms of economic, social and military might by being just another european style socialist state now did it.”

    That’s right. Look at all the U.S. accomplished last century. I mean, can you name a European style socialist state that conducted secret STD experiments on mentally ill Guatemalans. I doubt it.

  • STM

    Hadn’t thought of it like that EB.

    Although it does depend on what type of “socialist” you mean.

    Among its many other horrific crimes, National Socialist Germany also conducted a barrage of medical experiments on the mentally ill.

    I daresay the good folks of the US wouldn’t have condoned the Guatemala experiments though had they known about it.

    I guess that’s also what’s worrying about it.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “I daresay the good folks of the US wouldn’t have condoned the Guatemala experiments though had they known about it.”

    No, the vast majority certainly would not have, and yet some Americans did.

  • Doug Hunter

    I wouldn’t expect foreigners or people who look to Europe as a political model to buy American exceptionalism in any form. Certainly we’re just humans, nothing magic or ordained here. I do think our defense spending and superpower status has deterred additional major wars, especially with the Soviets.

    Also, I think there’s a nugget of truth in the stay away from socialism canard. While Europe and most of the world has been very good at embracing things like universal healthcare, the US has excelled much more at things like medical technology, research, and the breakthroughs that come with it that really have benefitted everyone. I did the research not too long ago that indicated the US spends more on medical research than all of Europe combined (for recent periods we’ve gotten about half of the Nobel prizes in medicine with what 5% of the population) In addition to that, we have been instrumental in the green revolution that has developed the food strains, techniques and technologies that have allowed the world to feed itself far beyond what people thought it’s carrying capacity was. We also worked hard on things like the PC, the internet, and this website you’re reading.

    Now, maybe we could have had it all, the early retirement, free healthcare, an expanded safety net that most of the rest of the world chooses and still had the drive and resources left over to lead in the many areas we have that frankly have benefitted everyone, including you…. or maybe not. That’s the fun thing about the world, there’s no control group and you can never answer the question what might have been. Maybe we tried too hard. Perhaps history is a marathon where we’re the young kid who takes off at a sprint while the Chinas and Europes (yeah, I know it consists of more than one country) take a more reasonable pace. Sorta looks like we’re a bit winded now, standing on the sideline with our hands on our hips about to take a break to me.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Well this is a study in hypocrisy:

    hunker down for the duration to work on real problems, like a faltering economy, massive debt and high unemployment.

    Not only is this a lie, but if you replaced Obama with George W. then it would be absolutely true.

    President Obama is in his element when he’s in campaign mode. Such junkets are usually a love fest between the adoring crowd and the leader of the free world. The participants are vetted and chosen, sometimes positioned in the crowd so that they will make the most impact visually. Remember, TV is important. Most of the time these events are invitation only, meaning anything other than a Democrat would have a snowball’s chance in hell of gaining entrance. BS,there are hecklers and republicans are welcome to any event.

    ????
    welcome to my world. Your “new” normal has been my normal since 2001.???

    You told us in your thread once that your husband and you owned a business and could afford your own health care. I doubt, hot dogs are your nutritional staple.

    We have here a state that has been bleeding jobs?

    We have a country! that has been bleeding jobs since NAFTA! Where have you been?

    I grow my own food, do my own yard work, clean my own house, Did you before Obama?

    We can’t sell our house, because it’s worth about half what we paid for it.

    Go up to the next banker or Wall Street thug you see and slap their face for me!

    Two kids with college degrees?
    It took eight months for my son to find a part-time job after graduating from college, and who knows if the daughter can find employment in two years when she has her degree.

    Do you have any idea how many kids wont ever get the opportunity you are crying about right now?

    See?
    Although we own our own business, we don’t make Mr. Greenspon’s kind of money, but I feel his pain. Our income does’t afford us the privilege of kicking back and relaxing. There are constant worries: increased state and federal taxes and health care costs. Any misstep and we are one shoe away from disaster

    Joan, you are doing better than most and if it weren’t for Obama, we would be in the second great depression and then you would have something to cry about, instead of having to clean house, and shop at Sam’s club…

    JD Buck-up!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    PS- George Bush, took more vacation-time than any other president in our history!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Glenn, #2

    That would only happen if no more children were bore by these people…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    One of my favorite people, Mark Steyn, pointed out in one his books

    What was the name of the book? I’m shocked to be asking, You, this question!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    zing-ron paul, of all people, made the point that it was war and the conquest of new lands that has lead to the end of all great nations. with our multiple fronts and our intractable position in the middle east, we may be headed that way.

    The best words Ron ever uttered in public.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Doug-This is what I don’t want in America, the government indoctrinating conformity

    But it’s perfectly fine for the corporate-propaganda-machine to dictate to all of us, what to wear, buy, eat, and now believe, politically?

    Bull Shit!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Doug,

    I would be embarrassed if the state of Texas funded a video in which spanish looking schoolkids who ‘didn’t have their citizenship papers’ were blown to smithereens.

    Were you also offended by the bigoted advertisement on this site, this morning?

    It went like this:

    For a chance to win a free green card to the United states, pick the correct president.. or something like this, I blocked it as soon as my eyes were offended.

    I really wonder if anyone is home…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I don’t think our defense spending and superpower status has deterred additional major wars, especially with the Soviets.

    This is why we are in such sorry shape today.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I agree with Doug[we could have had it all, the early retirement, free healthcare, an expanded safety net that most of the rest of the world chooses and still had the drive and resources left over to lead in the many areas we have that frankly have benefitted everyone]

    JD Have a nice day! and I really mean this.

  • Doug Hunter

    #33

    That’s fairly apples and oranges. You don’t have the moral clarity to condemn a video showing young children being blown up and their guts splattered on their classmates because they gave the ‘wrong’ answer to the green agenda question being put to them, yet your ‘eyes get offended’ by a pick the president, win a green card advertisemnt (for what I wonder?).

    If you can’t find a distinction there, then we truly live in two different worlds.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I didn’t see or comment on a video. And who are you to judge my morals?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    That’s what’s wrong with this *freedom loving philosophy*, it only pertains to your freedom.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    and yes, doug, it would offend me if I watched it.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    If this is the only comment from you, then I’m leaving for awhile…bye

  • Arch Conservative

    “That’s right. Look at all the U.S. accomplished last century. I mean, can you name a European style socialist state that conducted secret STD experiments on mentally ill Guatemalans. I doubt it.”

    No but I can name a European socialist state that spawned the Holocaust as STM just pointed out.

    We’re not perfect but there’s a reason more people have desired to emigrate to the USA than any other nation on earth in the last hundred years El.

    As I said in my earlier post. I do not believe in a society based on any single pure “ism.” Even I recognize the need for social welfare in this nation (for those who truly deserve)

    Maybe you can meet me half way and own up to the fact that too often social welfare is abused by those able bodied individuals who’ve learned to game the system.

  • Doug Hunter

    Miscommunication is a terrible thing, been doing it alot lately. I posted a video as described early in the thread (#10 I believe) as an example of where I don’t want our politics to go. Zing said he found it funny while I used to Texas example to try and show himn how it might not be funny if it was something he disagreed with. I thought you were agreeing with him and had seen the video and were just not prepared to condemn it. My bad.

    You could be right about the Soviets, although I think most experts would agree that our conventional and nuclear forces were a deterrent without which they would have expanded across the rest of Germany and into Europe. That’s the thing though, you only get one shot at life/history and one choice, who knows what would have happened had things been different? No one.

  • Arch Conservative

    “I don’t think our defense spending and superpower status has deterred additional major wars”

    You don’t?

    I’m sorry but you’re wrong.

    When you’re the biggest badass on the block who could literally wipe the floor with everyone else if you had to, others tend not to mess with you. Unless of course they’re deranged jihadists who view their own deaths in pursuit of theier warped agenda as some great honor.

    Case in point.

    The Russians never really messed with us during the cold war because they knew we were their equal. However they thought they could just waltz right into Afghanistan one fine morning, take care of the mujahideen and be back in Moscow in time for lunch. It didn’t exactly happen that way much to the contrary of Russia’s overconfidence and their perception of the rebel opponents.

  • Doug Hunter

    Speaking of experiments. I wish I could go dig through the bins at my old military training facility. They had this cool video we watched during biological weapons training where some crazy Aussie soldiers (volunteers I assume, probably in the 50’s or so) were given Smallpox and went through military field exercises over the course of days/weeks to see how their fighting ability would be effected. Crazy stuff.

    I remember reading about alot of the effects of radiation, biological, and chemical weapons on the human body. The information was a bit detailed for my liking, more like experimental data than scientific estimates.

  • STM

    Doug: “I do think our defense spending and superpower status has deterred additional major wars, especially with the Soviets.”

    Of course it has. Proxy wars have been going on since the year dot in my own political tradition, so yes, I do believe that the US as a superpower has stopped the kind of major wars we saw last century.

    It is very similar to the position occupied by Britain between 1820 and WWI, and if two western democracies that (almost) speak the same language can do that and achieve that end over 200 years with some much-needed standing up to hateful ideologies in the meantime, then all the better.

    In our case in Oz, with most of our military off fighting for the British against the Germans and Italians in WWII and before they could get home, having American help from the outset of our own war with Japan meant the Japanese never got a foothold on this continent.

    I don’t think we’d have ever been speaking Japanese, but it’s good we never had to die wondering. We like Americans in this country, because we haven’t forgotten (and not just for that reason), but liking and always agreeing are two different things.

    However, I do think Americans attach too much importance to their idea of their political exceptionalism when it’s nothing of the sort. It’s only ever been a radical kind of flow westward from Europe of the best ideas of modern social democracy, which is why it is what it is. No one can dispute that that’s where it came from, because nothing was plucked from thin air by the founding fathers. Only the 9th amendment in the Bill of Rights had no precedent in common law prior to the revolution, although many would argue that it had its place in, say, the traditions of parliamentary democracy … so really there’s isn’t much.

    It’s Amerca’s 19th century population leap that has made the difference. By about 1880, it had overtaken Britain as the world’s biggest industrial power, but was still not in the same league as a military power for another 60 years (by choice).

    For anyone who’s done their homework, they’ll know that actually didn’t happen until the mid-1940s, despite the US having the capacity to take over that position in the wake of Britain’s near-bankrupt status at the end of WWI.

    The US’s population and the natural invetiveness of its people gave it an ace up the sleeve when it came to its industrial rise.

    I suppose one could argue that people went to the US because of the political system and the hope of a better life, and there’s some truth to that.

    But other nations with corrupt and heavy-handed “experimental” political systems have been able to wield massive industrial and military power too … the Soviets and the Germans being classic examples.

    Anyone who thinks that the rise of the US to superpower status was built solely on its political ideology of free trade and rights has it wrong. Free-market capitalism coupled with modern democracy has been around for a long time, and IMO is the most successful of any political system.

    The ability to successfully cater to its own domestic consumers and to snare others around the world with quality US-made goods and US-grown products made the US wealthy.

    Which is also why it’s now in strife, because shysters running the economy thought they could make money more easily by virtually shuffling bits of paper around and selling things that upon closer inspection were found to be near-worthless when the ice-cream hit the fan a couple of years back.

    The US needs to get back to what it does best: making, growing, and breeding stuff – and selling it at reasonable rates (or borderline reasonable with a promise of quality).

    That’s why “king dollar”, artificially boosted by traders using it to make a buck, has been bad for the US in its hunt for export markets.

    Even many of the folks at home, now going through a tough time, will choose to buy a T-shirt made in China (with an American label) rather than pay an extra five bucks for one made in the US. Good profit for the corporations in that mark-up but no good for American workers and consumers in the long run.

    Sadly, unless it’s addressed in the near future, America will continue to be on the slide. I for one hope that won’t happen, as the consequences are too awful to contemplate.

    It’s nothing to do with shifts to “socialism”. You need a strong leader over there right now to the steer the US back on its rightful track, and not neccessarily a leader heavily to the right, and I’m not sure you’ve got one now, or even had one in the last president.

    Because what’s to come if the US slips off the scale and becomes post-industrial America??

    A: China’s century.

    Heaven forbid.

    So cut out all that namby-pamby navel gazing and start making decent stuff again over there and selling it – or we’re all fu.king doomed.

  • Anarcissie

    In regard to the original issue, as opposed to excursions among the Guatemalans: If you spend more than you make, as a person or a country, you go broke. In the U.S., the process of going broke has been exacerbated for many by the shift of income and net worth away from poorer people towards richer people, and it has been hastened by serious exports of capital and expensive imperial adventures. I think that much is common sense.

    The established political system is apparently unable to provide a solution; the people voted for ‘hope and change’ and got more of the same.

  • STM

    The only way people get hope and change is with manufacturing, rural industry, jobs and education, proper affordable healthcare and a decent standard of living in a country that is doing well for itself.

    That much is obvious too.

    Which is not what’s going on in the US for a lot of people right now.

    America has given itself away … to all the wrong people.

  • Anarcissie

    Well, obviously they’re not going to get any of that from the present government or ruling class, or they would have gotten it already. So….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/realist Realist

    The claim that the US is “center-right” goes along with the attempts by minority governments in France and Canada to emulate the corporatist trends of the US. India, Korea and Japan – the list grows daily of nations faced with serious economic issues militarizing against their own populations to protect the elites and their wealth.

    This is the kind of nation Archie wants to see happen just to demonstrate that we are “center-right” of which he claims there is “no doubt”. The only problem is that the American people don’t seem to have gotten the memo defining the thought of the day. According to a new study 92% of Americans -Democrats, Republicans, and Others- would choose to live somewhere that isn’t so economically polarized [PDF]. This alone goes against the “center-right” canard. Add in that all those who believe that Obama’s health plans didn’t go far enough to be taken seriously out number those opposed completely and another knife plunges into the back of that falsehood.

    So when all those youth who Archie thinks will grow up being just like him don’t, I hope he isn’t too disillusioned with life under the reborn liberalism of America.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Maybe you can meet me half way and own up to the fact that too often social welfare is abused by those able bodied individuals who’ve learned to game the system.”

    Every system is abused. Seems like human nature unfortunately. Don’t see why I need to own up to that since I’ve never said anything to the contrary. If you have a fix for the abuses, let’s hear them and I will likely be on board.

  • Ruvy

    Well, out of all the 50 comments up to this one (other than mine) ONLY ONE has really addressed what Joanne has talked about. I see why she hasn’t bothered to answer anybody here.

  • zingzing

    strike up the band! a well-deserved round of applause for ruvy! his valiant, utterly doomed fight against the wandering thread should not go unnoticed! but who is the mysterious “one” that he refers to? do they wish to remain anonymous? come forward, oh brave soul! this is your moment! oh, the anticipation is killing me!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Doug,

    Sorry. I snapped on everyone this morning and now I realize what you meant. I was just trying to tie that disgusting ad into it, somehow. I’d watch the video in #10, but I’d probably snap-out! so I’ll refrain.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    zing,

    I’m the one.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Arch,

    That was a decent response considering how snarky mine was…

    You’re right, I was wrong about deterring major war, but that was years ago. Now, we just run around waging our own wars, while the people left here at home can all go to hell.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    his valiant, utterly doomed fight against the wandering thread should not go unnoticed!

    This ain’t my article, zing. I could care less how relevant the dumb remarks here are. But I can see where you will drive yet another good writer away from here. I’m glad to see Sekhar keeps a steady stream of articles about the world coming – even though none of you seems to appreciate that….

  • zingzing

    the hell are you talking about ruvy? sekhar? what’s he (she?) got to do with anything? and how on earth do you “see where [i, or is it a more collective “you?”] will drive yet another good writer away from here?” as if i’ve driven any away to begin with, and as if joanne and her 168 articles would only now be driven off by a wandering thread. you’ve caused countless threads to wander off to israel, and you’ve proven yourself quite capable of playing the troll, so don’t act all high and mighty, sir.

    (and a round of applause for jeannie.)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, zing, but I don’t hang out here much. The place has just gone too far downhill, and the nature of the comments on this thread is an example of how. As to Sekhar, he writes about things you belly-button sniffing Americans don’t bother thinking about. A shame.

  • zingzing

    “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, zing, but I don’t hang out here much.”

    you’re here a good lot still.

    “The place has just gone too far downhill, and the nature of the comments on this thread is an example of how.”

    what exactly is so awful about them? seems like a pretty good thread to me actually. very little descent into name-calling and knee-jerk reactions…

    “As to Sekhar, he writes about things you belly-button sniffing Americans don’t bother thinking about.”

    but how exactly does that have anything to do with what we’re talking about? if you’re just repping a guy just to rep a guy, fine, but there really seemed to be no connection that i could find… i thought you were mistaken about who wrote the article at first.

    as for belly-button sniffing… well, you’re just as guilty of that as the rest of us. and really, the indian subcontinent’s troubles and the chinese economy are talked about quite frequently in america… hardly a day goes by without both of those in the headlines.

  • Anarcissie

    So I guess no one wants to discuss the subject actually raised by the article.

  • zingzing

    bienvenue à l’internet! ont un poney, conduire votre voiture.

  • Anarcissie

    Formidable idée! Eh bien, au revoir.

  • Arch Conservative

    “If you have a fix for the abuses, let’s hear them and I will likely be on board.”

    Well El, as a matter of fact I do have a few ideas. First of all if you are over the age of 18 and cannot prove you’re a citizen of this country or here on a specific, legitimate visit you get not one red cent of aid from any social welfare program at any level of government in this nation. If you’re in the hospital and about to die, we’ll stabilize your situation. Short of that………”you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.” How’s that for starters?

    Second…….private insurance companies hire people to investigate claims to prevent fraud so why shouldn’t the government agencies that provide welfare benefits. I suspect this practice may already be in place but it is of course woefully inadequte.

    Third…………unless you’ve had some type of lifelong mental or phyical handicap that has prevented you from seeking and obtaining gainful employment any benefits that you are to receive should be proportionate to what you have paid into the system in the form of taxes.

    Fourth, common sense dictates that the more social welfare programs and benfits that are available, the more people will want to use them rather than attempt to provide for themselves. If we had less of those benefits with much tighter scrutiny on who they were allotted to, those who’ve gamed the system would have no choice but to fend for themselves.

    “You’re right, I was wrong about deterring major war, but that was years ago. Now, we just run around waging our own wars, while the people left here at home can all go to hell.”

    While I agree Jeannie that the Afghanistan and Iraq are pointless costly wars I would remind you that we currently spend much more on enitlement and welfare programs than we do on defense. You probably think that if the fed government just spent enough money, the could solve all of society’s ills or maybe some of them. I don’t buy that at all and would love to spending cut across the board.

  • John Wilson

    Arch seems to shoot from the hip without any reference to reality:

    “Second…….private insurance companies hire people to investigate claims to prevent fraud so why shouldn’t the government agencies that provide welfare benefits. I suspect this practice may already be in place but it is of course woefully inadequte.”

    Really? Do you know of any firms that do such fraud prevention for private insurers? I don’t, although I can guess at some companies, but they keep low profile (no websites, for example) to avoid hackers.

    And it’s public knowledge that all 50 states are required to have fraud agencies employing certified software and sub-contractors for fraud detection and prosecution. Plus, there’s an active FBI task force for pursuing big scams.

    “Third…………unless you’ve had some type of lifelong mental or phyical handicap that has prevented you from seeking and obtaining gainful employment any benefits that you are to receive should be proportionate to what you have paid into the system in the form of taxes.”

    How could you have paid any taxes if your illness is lifelong? What about a child who contracted polio? Etc.

    “… we currently spend much more on enitlement and welfare programs than we do on defense.”

    I think that’s factually unsupportable. We spend $660billion per year on Defense, and that’s 55% of the federal budget. How could we possibly spend more on Welfare?

    And no fair trying to lump in “entitlements” because they are prepaid by the people who use them, mainly retired people on SS, which is fully funded.

    It’s a rotten trick by rightists to try to lump in “entitlements” with “welfare” to taint them by association, an old rightist trick.

    IMO, anyone who believes anything Arch says is laying themselves open to deception and fraud.

    His posts should simply be ignored: They are of no value.

  • John Wilson

    Anarcissie, I’ll address the subject of JoAnnes article:

    what this economy needs is DEMAND! There’s no secret about this in the financial press: US demand for goods is way down and is the cause of our lassitude.

    What we need is spendable money to the unemployed and poor in order to stoke up the furnaces of our markets. Direct money, that is. Not “trickle down” money. We need direct payments to the least people in our society.

    That is the payoff for the deal we made 60 years ago when we switched our economy from a producer economy to a consumer economy. Our economic fortunes are not dictated by producers but by consumers.

    So get with it. Connect the dots.

  • Arch Conservative

    Some people use Sunday to go Church.

    John uses the day to make up asinine claims like 55% of our national budget goes to military spending.

    More is spent on social security alone then defense spending or anything else in the budget.

    In 2009 the top budget items were

    Social Security 644 billion
    Defense spending 515.4 billion
    medicare 408 billion
    unemployment/welfare 360 billion
    medicaid/schip 224 billion

    the 2010 budget

    Social Security 677.95 billion
    Defense spending 663.7 billion
    medicare 453 billion
    medicaid/schip 290 billion

    It’s you that should be ignored John, what with your penchant for pulling stats out of your ass and trying to pass them off as fact.

    You obviously have a reading comprehension problem too as what I wrote in an earlier post implied that a lifelong illness that prevented you from working should entitle you to welfare benefits.

    Are you on the dole John? I only ask because it seems I struck a nerve.

  • Clavos

    And it’s public knowledge that all 50 states are required to have fraud agencies employing certified software and sub-contractors for fraud detection and prosecution. Plus, there’s an active FBI task force for pursuing big scams.

    All of which are monumentally ineffective; Medicare alone is ripped off to the tune of $2 billion just here in Miami, $60 billion nationwide. And wilson, unless you have proof (witrh legitimate links) that those figures are not real (they are widely disseminated by both government and media sources, to which I have linked numerous times before), I’ll tell you before you say it that I don’t believe your story that those numbers are fictional — prove it.

  • Clavos

    And no fair trying to lump in “entitlements” because they are prepaid by the people who use them, mainly retired people on SS, which is fully funded.

    Most people currently on SS paid so little into it over their working lives (For many years the annual limit was only $300), that after drawing SS for just a few years, they are de facto on the dole, supported by current workers’ “contributions” (if you can call money taken by force contributions).

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Arch,

    We spend $660billion per year on Defense, and that’s 55% of the federal budget. How could we possibly spend more on Welfare?

    Thank You John, for cleaning that up.

    private insurance companies hire people to investigate claims to prevent fraud so why shouldn’t the government agencies that provide welfare benefits.

    You moan and groan now because IYO government is too big.Of course, this isn’t true because You would love to grow an out of control GOP/Tea government!

    Yuk!