ColGlobe At The Spoof

Monday, January 19, 2009

American Economic Crisis

You know what surprises me the most about the current U.S. economic crisis? It's not the sheer size of the bailout that is required. It's not that without the bailout, the economy can only slip lower. No, those things could be predicted, and anyone of the 3 or 4 people out there who have been reading my useless posts for the past 20 years knows that I've been expecting it. The thing that is a surprise is that no one else realized this was inevitable from the very beginning. And we haven't yet gotten to the exciting part of the ride. Wait until the whole planet finds out that there just isn't enough money to pay the debt, or enough resources to build the products, or enough fuel to power the machines. Cycles do not go forever in one direction, they go high only to fall low and roll around again and again, losing a little more momentum with ever smaller rotations. Until they reach a dead stop.

In the U.S., multi level marketing is illegal. Why is a valid and profitable marketing plan disallowed by law? It was that consideration that first drove home, in my mind, the flaw of the U.S. economic system. You see, MLM cannot be allowed to exist, because it is a model of the U.S. economy in miniature. A company produces a product, and that product is passed through the hands of the company managers to the next lower level of product distributors. The distributors in turn arrange for another level of product distribution below them, and another level below that. And another. And another. The only problem is that the only people who are actually buying the product are the ones at the very bottom of the pyramid, the ones who made the product to begin with, for the people sitting comfortably at the top. Those people live to make a product to earn the money that buys the product that they created. Is there logic in doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting the result to be any different?

Why has no one ever realized the that capitalism never had a hope of working smoothly forever? It cannot be sustained indefinitely by pouring more and more resources into the top tiers of the system. In the end, the people at the bottom simply can't continue to feed the top, produce the product, AND buy the product. This is not a difficult train of logic to follow. It's taught in middle school in the U.S. And yet I have never heard anyone point out the futility that is inherent in the system. Ever.

So here we are, and the people at the top, who own the mortgages on our nation's homes and collect on the balances on our people's credit cards, they are standing in front of us in their $1000 suits and telling us that as American citizens it is our duty to give them enough money to sustain themselves. Giving them the money will not eliminate our mortgages, or ameliorate our debts. We still have to pay the monthly bills, or they'll take everything we have, but we must give them an amount of money that exceeds that very debt as well. Excuse me? Those men in their fancy suits make more money in a single day than I earn in most of a year, and yet it is MY responsibility to bail them out? I think they are going to have to draw me a picture, because I surely don't understand the logic.

Right on, and pigs will fly.

I am a poor person. I rent a room. I pay for my rent, my food, and everything else I must buy with cash. I've always done so. I have done so with a dogged deliberateness that flew in the face of insurance companies who wouldn't insure me because I had no credit. I did it despite automobile dealerships who refused to sell me a car for CASH because I had no established credit. I did it because when the collapse comes, as I've always known it must, I will not be as badly affected by the calamity. I'll still be poor, but guess what? Having lived my life that way, I'll be better able to survive the crash than those whose lives have been dedicated to mounting sums of nonexistent money. I am poor by choice, not by force.

I resent that someone who makes more in a year than I will earn my lifetime needs me to bail them out. I find it laughable and ludicrous that the financial moguls are scrambling for some safe haven in which to continue their inflated egos. I say let them fall. Let them learn to wonder how to pay for next week's groceries, or have to repair a rip in last year's fashions. Let them sell their luxury cars which guzzle the last dregs of fossil fuels and walk to their jobs, or ride the public transportation they've always told me was good enough for such as myself. Let them discover that equality isn't just for the lower class, but it means we are all in the same boat, and that boat has a leak and must be constantly tended to avoid being left adrift without a life raft. Let them wash their dinner dishes with their own hands, and hang their laundry on lines to dry in the sun. After all, it's good enough for me, and they've told me so all my life.

Let the auto insurance companies go, they who have charged me more than the value of all the vehicles I have ever owned regardless that I have rarely sped and never caused an accident; let them fold up and fade away. I've supported them long enough, only to find out that even with the legally required support of an entire population they they have managed to put themselves into a stranglehold of debt. I've paid my share. I've missed my meals so that they could wear their suits, and worked straight through the day and night to give them money I have never seen a return on. I've lived on dried beans and dry rice, stale bread and tap water. Let them find out what it is like to do without, to wear a sweater indoors in the dead of winter, and to rummage through the sofa cushions for a lousy handful of pennies and nickels. Why should I care that they become just like me and my neighbors and their relatives and their friends and a majority of the people that make up and have made this brave nation? What have they ever, even once, done for me in exchange for all they've taken from me?

I haven't eaten at a restaurant in months, not even from the McDonald's dollar menu; I live on simple foods bought at bargain grocers. But I am far from starving, and I am not naked, and I do not get wet when it rains in the night. I do not ask for a hand out on street corners, nor blame my contemporaries for my failures or fallacies. And I am not alone. I am one of hundreds of millions of people scattered all around the globe. In fact, I am in better financial shape than a majority of the world. I am of sound mind and body, and I laugh at jokes and cry out in pain. I do not fear muggers coming out of the fog, because they can see that I've nothing to give them. I do not fear creditors taking my old computer, because it is mine, bought with money earned through hard work and hot sweat. For all the bits of nothing much that I have, my investment is paid and the deal is done. And it has been a fair and honest deal, which allows me peaceful sleep.

I don't envy those businessmen in fancy suits the fall that they must face. It will be hard for them to adjust, and the harsh reality is that many won't adapt at all. But life has always been hard and the idea that it wasn't difficult is not something that the poor people of this country or any other have ever had. They and I cannot afford such convenient lies filled with glitzsy gloss and glamour. For that reason, I cannot summon a false sympathy, or offer any compelling compassion. Let them reap the fruit of what they have sown, and deal with the harvest which they have for so long nurtured, feeding it on the refuse of so many other broken dreams. It isn't my problem, and will have little effect on my way of life. I learned in middle school that capitalism depends on taking from the poor, and lived my life to avoid a collapse that has been building since this country was founded, knowing all the while that it may never come in my lifetime, but prepared for the possibility that it could happen at any time.

When all the money has been channeled to the top of the pyramid, it collapses. MLM plans are illegal for that reason, and to prevent the blatant truth of capitalism from being recognized by the sheeplike masses. I have no sympathy for those who lose the money they've taken in bad deals and fruitless plans. Nor should you. To bail them out will not solve the problem, only postpone it. The only solution is to let the collapse happen, and step aside when the dust billows up from the wreckage of their wasteful expenditures. Whether it happens this year, or next, or twenty years from now, there is no other possible outcome, and we can only begin to rebuild when the rubble lies in a heap that we can pull apart and start with once again.


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