By s.i. wells
I have written about gravity before. I used lemmings as my messengers in an editorial entitled The Hegemony of Lemmings to deliver a prediction about the outcome of certain immutable economic laws now at work. Defying the forces of deflation and depression, governments around the globe have flooded their economies with trillions in cash and piled up trillions in debt. In a valiant and momentarily successful endeavor, the great economists and central bankers have proved that they can make water run up hill. If you are a true believer, drink the Kool-Aid and enjoy yourself with abandon as the music plays on and the lazy days of summer unfold.
Such is not my nature nor my inclination when faced with a speeding freight train bearing down on me while tied to the proverbial trestle by my government’s actions. Wriggle as I might, the ropes of power have bound my economic fate to trying to keep afloat while wearing a cement life preserver.
Too grumpy, too pessimistic you say? Willing to lay down the deed to your house in support of a bet? How about your job? Or your retirement fund?
Clearly, I must be wrong because everything “we” hear tells the collective “us” that prosperity is just around the corner. A chicken in every pot or just pot for everyone? If you think a joint is a delivery system for a brief buzz, think again. In reality, it is just a delivery system for a whole new category of taxes. Nothing like addicting people to something – tobacco, alcohol, gasoline – and then taxing the hell out of it. The United States government or maybe just California, Rhode Island, and New Mexico will soon be starring in a new prime time cable series entitled: “Intaxication.”
So stop for a second and consider: Is your personal wealth more or less than it was three years ago? Is your job, if you have one, secure enough for you to ask for a raise? Are you prepared to support your parents if Social Security and Medicare are cut back? Are your twentysomething children living in your basement until they can find jobs worthy of their expensive educations? Are you going to buy a second or third vacation condominium in the near future? Are you dining at restaurants as frequently as you did three years ago? Has your perception of the future economic climate become more jaded?
And that’s my point. Things have changed even though the government has eased the transition from boom to just making ends meet. You may not realize it, but your internal attitude does matter. If you are more concerned about your future, if you have less cash to throw around, if your children cannot seem to find “real” jobs, and if the value of your home is at, approaching, or below the value of your mortgage, then wake up and make some noise. Allowing Washington to do business as usual by endlessly printing money while the underlying attitudes of Americans have changed will not produce a happy ending. I feel we are all walking through a film noir, chased by an elusive, faceless assailant determined to send us to the soup kitchen.
I hope I am wrong. Make my day. Show me up because I think we have just ordered a double dip of recession from our waitress. Hail Mary and pass the Alka Seltzer – sprinkles will be extra.