Monday, May 18, 2009

Who's got the power?

Greetings good citizen,

Weekends are tough because even the papers take refuge in the banal (see last nights post, which made today’s headlines.) The blogs often review the past week, usually focused on their favorite ‘crime of the week.’

Bizarrely, this week has exposed enough crime to keep a consensus from forming in the blogosphere.

There has been so much dissection of the minutiae in the blogosphere that it is easy to lose focus on the bigger picture.

Thankfully, Frank Rich helps us to focus on what’s important.

Yes, good citizen, this week we learned the ‘green shoots’ are nothing more than weeds, that unemployment is still in ‘free fall’ and retail sales are plummeting with no bottom in sight.

Naturally, we are looking for (and debating) the right combination of ‘policies’ to put our economy back on track

When the real debate belongs a few steps before this stage.

Is it sensible to look for change when nothing has materially changed from the policies of last hopeless administration?

Worse is the fact that our president is already back-peddling on earlier promises. It’s bad enough that his mandate to end the conflict in the Middle East ‘Now’ has morphed into the identical 18-month window the last administration negotiated before it departed.

Perhaps more disturbing is the total disregard this administration has displayed when it comes to prosecuting their predecessors for what can only be described as ‘criminal behavior’.

They are perfectly willing to ‘ignore’ the criminal acts of the previous administration, which, by itself, turns the new administration into criminals.

What is the point of electing a new chief executive, the principal law enforcement officer of the land if his first act is to ignore his primary function?

We didn’t elect Barrack Obama to restore the financial system; we elected him to restore justice this nation!

If he can’t handle the justice part of the job, how can we expect him to handle the financial crisis properly? If he is unwilling to prosecute criminal acts, it will ultimately result in more criminality.

In case you haven’t noticed good citizen, not only are we not seeing the necessary investigations into criminal wrongdoing but the new administration has squandered trillions without materially altering our financial morass at all!

We will soon arrive at the ‘finger pointing’ stage where the president, who has already expressed his ‘total confidence’ in his financial team, will find himself in a position where he will have to eat those words to avoid being crucified for their blunders.

The pending collapse of the auto industry will send the stock market below the 5,000 mark along with sending unemployment well over the 10% level. (A figure that is already well over 10% if you look at the U-6.)

Are you gonna run out and buy a new car good citizen? No you’re not, and neither are a vast majority of us. If your household income is below six figures, you have likely already purchased the last ‘new car’ you’ll ever own.

Again, if your household income is under six figures, it’s unlikely you will even ‘lease’ a new car as most folks have ‘wised up’ to the downside of leasing. (Exhaust your ‘mileage allotment’ before your lease expires and you’re screwed. You’re making a ‘new car’ payment on a set of wheels you can’t use without paying a horrendous penalty.) It’s a risk most of us are unwilling to take.

And if nobody (actually ‘too few’) can afford new cars, what do you suppose the chances are that the auto industry will ‘recover’?

Simply put, it won’t…and that’s a pretty harrowing indictment of our commerce system when an economic factor as basic as transportation becomes a ‘luxury’ for those performing society’s ‘heavy lifting’.

Here in the shadow of ‘peak oil’ this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s bound to play hell with getting what you need where it needs to be when it needs to be there.

Flipping that rock over, globalization is likely to become unworkable because people that live in ‘economic deserts’ are unable to travel to where the work is.

Worse, commerce located in ‘financially challenged’ areas are likely to shut down their operations when there isn’t sufficient business to support those locations.

Even these dire outcomes are a reflection of a government that has failed to protect the interests of society over the interests of the ‘self-interested’.

Simply put, a government that fails to deliver justice has itself, failed.

Why can’t you afford a new car? Because your employer isn’t compelled to pay you a living wage, if you can’t live on what they pay you, it’s not their problem; it’s yours!

Should the government tell employers how much workers should be paid? If the government doesn’t, who will? Understand the reason you make what you make is because the government publishes the ‘prevailing wage’ for your specialty in your area…so much for ‘invisible hands’ and ‘market forces’!

Which is to say there is very little danger of an employer overpaying you. They have the scoop on what other employers in the area are paying, courtesy of the US government.

Conversely, your ignorance can cost you dearly. If you don’t know what the prevailing wage for your specialty is and your last employer underpaid you, it is unlikely the person interviewing you is going to offer you what you should be getting.

Worse, the ‘prevailing wage’ information has no relationship to the cost of living, it is IRS data that is shared with employers.

No irony should be lost on the fact that prevailing wage data is often used when a company decides to relocate…for reasons that should be obvious.

Um, logically, poverty doesn’t ‘help’ the government…unless you want to factor in the government agencies that ‘fight’ poverty. As you can see, the government has the power to wipe out poverty but heading up one of these agencies is a rather lucrative position.

If the ‘war on drugs’ ever succeeds, there are going to be a ton of government employees hitting the streets. Ditto for ‘abandoning’ this lost cause…

So I ask you again good citizen, is our government broken?

You know what I think but what I think doesn’t matter, it’s what you think that counts!

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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