Why the economic meltdown was a case of food poisoning.

So you’re on vacation and you’re pigging out. No one is regulating you, no one is telling you to “slow down,” ‘cos, well hey, it’s a vacation!! That lunchtime you cannot resist that platter of shrimp served up in a tasty-looking, but unidentifiable sauce. By dinnertime, you are regretting that rash decision, but the damage is done. The poisonous juices in your stomach are threatening all manner of pain to come. It is not a happy night. All hell breaks loose. The vacation is suddenly a disaster, you have to cancel all the fun stuff you had planned, you are purging yourself of anything you’ve eaten for the last few days. You feel like you are going to die, BUT the one good thing about all this is….you’ve lost a lot of weight. Soon, the rest of the family are pitching in:breakfast in bed, giving you sole control of the remote –  hey, you’re Dad, you’re too important to the family to be sick in bed for long. Soon, you’re feeling a lot better. In fact you’re feeling better than before. You’re not carrying around so much weight!! In fact you’re going to try to keep that weight off! After all, you have more energy, you play tennis better, you like the way you look in those speedos. ” I can definitely live with this!” you think to yourself. So here you are, having the time of your life for the next few days of the vacation, feeling healthier than ever with no intention of eating like you used to.

That’s the disconnect between this “healthy” economy with record corporate profits and the entrenched and stagnant job market. These corporations are enjoying the trillions of dollars they have made in the last year or so. So what if everyone has had to take on the work of three people and the”fat” has had to be trimmed. Clearly it’s economically viable the way it is, so who wants to start hiring again and spending all that cash? With my new dynamic and streamlined physique I am going to Disneyland!!!

…so remember my friends, Only Connect!

Charles Shaughnessy

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62 thoughts on “Why the economic meltdown was a case of food poisoning.

  1. Here’s what’s wrong with part of the economy. Some clown chose to give millions of dollars to Charlie Sheen and now he’s too big for his pants. He’s on every entertainment magazine, invaded the internet, and If I had the chance to date someone like that, I’d dump him and never look back I don’t care how much money he has I couldn’t tolerate the attitude, man. Someone should shut him down, cancel his show, and bar him from anything better than an extra in a movie and even that is generous. I heard him on a radio show, and he was out right downing the creator of the television show that makes him a household name? Gag me with a pitchfork!! Just saying why give him all that money when he doesn’t deserve it…period, and there are people walking America without a home. There are special places for people like him. Nothing turns a woman off than a conceited man. Just something to think about…..

  2. Didn’t know quite where to go with this comment–so I’ll throw it out on this blog. Anybody have any thoughts about what happened in Wisconsin overnight? I don’t know if anyone on this blog is from Wisconsin, but as a Republican I am a bit miffed that they snuck a bill through the state house that is clearly designed to deprive people of their rights to bargain collectively. I don’t agree with some of the union members’ objections (for instance, I think that it is not entirely unreasonable for people to be expected to contribute to the cost of their benefits), but there are some “benefits”–such as working conditions–that should be negotiable and not mandated. That’s where collective bargaining comes into play. By the way–I’m also a union member, although I’m seriously reconsidering that as our contract comes up for renegotiation because I think some of the union’s demands are unreasonable given the current economic climate.

    • Karen, you took the words right out of my mouth. This happened to be our dinner-time conversation last night. I definitely believe that all unions under our present economic situation have to make some concessions, but to take away collective bargaining rights is on par with destroying unions in general. If my understanding is correct, the unions in Wisconsin made substantial concessions, but it was the collective bargaining issue that became the hot spot. There are plenty of anti-union people out there and I am certain that in some cases unions with their benefits have been very costly. But when you consider what they have done for labor conditions in this country as a whole, i.e. “working conditions” as you mentioned, I don’t believe we want to entirely go back to a pre-union state.

  3. “Trickle down economics”–didn’t work too well in the late 1920s/early 1930s when Herbert Hoover responded to the Great Depression, and it certainly isn’t working right now. In some ways, what we are seeing is just like the adaptation of Darwinian and Spenserian ideals (“survival of the fittest”) in corporate America in the late 19th century, when it was more or less acceptable for companies to buy out/gobble up their competitors who could not compete. Of course, back then the federal government either looked the other way or ineffectively enforced the regulations (such as the Sherman Antitrust Act being used more often to break up labor organizations than to dismantle organized trusts). And, to make themselves feel better about it, wealthy industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie donated money to various causes–for instance, Carnegie donated his wealth establish libraries and schools (but neglected to provide for continuous funding, resulting in some of the libraries being forced to close their doors because of a lack of financial resources). The reduction in the number of automobile brands, for instance (such as the elimination of Pontiac, Mercury, etc.), is a sign of streamlining as companies try to become more efficient–the less popular brands are being shut down, because they are not as “fit” to succeed.

    Tying in with another blog, if you haven’t seen the movie “Gung Ho” (the 1986 comedy about the automotive industry), it’s worth watching sometime. It really does capture some of the challenges organized labor faces today in its effort to keep up with global competition, especially in its depiction of the work ethic of the American labor force. It’s a bit dated (especially in the clothing), but the message still resonates.

    And one final thought about government involvement in the economy (at least for now): on the one side, you really don’t want the government to be too heavily involved in the economy, because it will inhibit the ability of small businesses to grow if there are too many regulations. On the other side, you do want more regulations, and you do want the corporations to pay their taxes and not find loopholes (in other words, you want the corporations to contribute back to the government that has created the favorable economic policies that enable them to grow). The real challenge is trying to find a balance between the two–and, in the case of Pennsylvania where I live, one key debate right now is how much to regulate and tax the natural gas industry, which is bringing jobs to the area but also becoming an expense because of the damage to the environment and destruction of roadways (and they will gladly pay the fines instead of following the law–but that’s another story).

  4. I think most of us agree that greed is the main cause of our economic problems. But, greed exists at so many levels. I was born and raised in Las Vegas and that is where I have raised my children. Contrary to what others might believe, it has been a great place to raise a family. However, we have suffered the most in this economic downturn. The last statistics which came out a few days ago show that 71% of people with mortgages in the county I live in are upside down. At one time 1 in 5 homes were empty. I watched houses in my neighborhood go from $200,000 to $600,000 within just a few months. Of course this was before the housing bubble burst. A house would go on the market and it would literally sell within hours of being listed and for more than the asking price. Others I knew refinanced their homes to take out their equity to use on a more lavish lifestyle; then came the burst. I have seen person after person walk away from their homes. Some were young people who just happened to buy at the wrong time and simply could not afford to stay in their homes. Others could still afford their payments but it wasn’t financially in their best interest to do so. The point I’m making is that during this time we heard about so many people losing their homes and for many I know it was due to no fault of their own. But, here is the problem. A lot of people who “lost” their homes really didn’t lose anything at all. They took their $400,000 they had gained in equity when they refinanced and walked away with it. In addition, we are now in the middle of an investigation of the firemen in Clark County, Nevada accused of defrauding the county for millions of dollars over several years by engineering sick leave and overtime with one another to maximize their income–firemen making $250,000 to $300,000 annually. Our state is in so much trouble it will take a true miracle to pull us out of it and I am sure many would wonder how Las Vegas could qualify for a miracle. Corporate greed is a huge problem in America, but the reality of it is that it probably is only a reflection of the greed that exists across the board in our country. It seems like if one can get away with greed, they will. I am speaking in generalities here because I know there are also many people with integrity. I can feel that many of you are people who possess such quality in character. It’s too bad that these are the one’s who often pay the biggest price for the greed of others. I wish all of you the best in these economic times and hope that your families will have the ability to provide for your needs.

    P.S. Charles, please look on your FB fan page to see the sacrifice I made so that I can go see you in “My Fair Lady”. Hopefully, my sacrifice will pay off.

  5. Boy, do I understand that one… I experienced it firsthand in corporate America, as our worldwide group went from over 80 people to just 15, and we were expected to do all the regular work and more. A forty-hour workweek was just a dream and reality was more like 60 and sometimes nearing 70 hours a week. Two people had a nervous breakdown, while others (myself included) were exhausted and frustrated. Service level agreements were not met, performance was very subpar (not because of the work itself, but because there was just no way that the remaining employees could possibly even begin to do it all in the timelines given), and it was just a mess. I finally ended up quitting because it just was not worth it. Not even in this economy. I would rather have my sanity and health and be unemployed than go through that. Two other people also walked out the same day.

    The last I heard, the company who took over the work lost the contract because the problems were “unacceptable” to the original company. Our group as it was does not even exist any more – the work was taken back in-house, to the company where we originally worked… and where those jobs should have stayed to begin with. Instead, people lost their jobs, their sense of identity, financial security, and so much more, all because of corporate greed and trying to save a dollar. And yes, that same company was one who received bailout money from the government.

    The amazing part of all this… the “brains” who came up with the consolidation/outsourcing idea in the first place still have *their* jobs. Of course.

    I agree with you about the “food poisoning.” Now that practically everyone knows about the rats in the kitchen, can we get a new chef now? 😉

    • A bottle of Pepto that the people BEGGED the politicians not to make us drink, but we just ‘didn’t understand now wonderful it would be’. And what do you know, we’re back to the wealthy elite running the show, benefiting their corporate buddies.

    • And this summer–the bottle of Pepto runs dry. The question is, will we be able to refill that bottle of Pepto, or will we have to try to find another solution to solve the problem? Maalox? Mylanta? What flavor do we want–and do we really want to swallow it again? The main problem with having a divided Congress (Republicans control the House, Democrats control the Senate) is that any solution will be compromised so much in order to get it passed, it will strongly resemble lukewarm water with chalk dipped in it (or be as effective as dropping a peppermint in the bottom of the glass and hope that it dissolves like Alka-Selzter).

      • We didn’t want to swallow it the first time…it was forced on us. And we don’t have food poisoning, we have a long term infection. Treating the symptoms to make us feel better ASAP isn’t going to deal with the underlying root cause. We need SURGERY, with no anesthesia, and it will hurt. And there will be painful rehab, and habits will have to change.
        It’s so convoluted…we have a corrupt government trying to “regulate” a corrupt corporate system that pays them bribes under the table(and sometimes right out in the open). What is the point of having regulations, if they’re not enforced or the consequence is a fine that is significantly cheaper than correcting the problem?
        I think the “right” wants to err on the side of corporations, thinking that they are basically honest…and the “left” wants to trust government to do the right thing. And they’re BOTH corrupt and in cahoots with each other. Boy, I wish David Vidal would chime in here !!!

        • I sent him a message for you Jo. Miss him too. But who knows if he’ll get online or listen to me. lol I know he has shows on the weekend and such.

        • Maybe we can borrow some Pepto from another country. Of course, then we’re talking about trillion euro bottles of Fernet Blanca or Brioche.

  6. I worry about finding a job soon when I graduate college in May. I’ll tell ya, I’m afraid of the world out there. I’m a single mommy, and I know the pressure is on to make it in this economy. Maybe eventually we youngens can get off the ground.

    • I worry about the same exact thing. There’s no guarantee that any of us will get a job right out of college. Although, I am not a mother. But I congratulate you on being a single mom and going to school. Good for you. 🙂

      • Thank you Kristen. You know, after my divorce 3 years ago I realized I better go back to college and finish. I worked in a Pharmacy, but they don’t pay much when you’re a technician. School has been like therapeutic to me though. I didn’t plan on being a single mom, I was married, but 3 months into my pregnancy my husband went crazy on me. And when I say crazy, I mean “Bipolar with Psychotic Features”. Anyway, he never told me, and I didn’t find out until he went manic. They can act completely normal. So for my son’s protection and mine I got away, and somehow blogging about it to strangers or “virtual” friends is better than talking to my family about it. Anyway, when or if you get married, always do a background check. I was so naive, but I have a precious little boy plus watching “The Nanny” at night sometimes is like a band-aid to my heart so I’ll get by.

        • I understand that blogging to strangers about what happened is better than talking to your family. It’s hard to explain, but I understand. You are very brave and I congratulate you.

        • Boy do i remember going through this kind of stuff very well. It takes a long time to recover from these kinds of things and although you will never be completely the same. Due to that you will almost always be affected by the hard stuff and may carry it on into the next relationship you get into. Life does go on and change. You will love and trust again. Just take it one day at a time and think only of you and your son first and everyone else second. But sounds as if you have already done that, so you are well on your way. My ex-husband was a cocaine addict that threatened to kill himself and finally left me for a drug dealer. He left me with our five year old and has never called since. 11 years ago now. It took me many years to get over and i am not the same person that i was before it happened. But you can heal in time. Anyway, i am through raving. Best of luck to you.

          • Do you ever get to see your child? My ex-husband gets supervised visits, and now my son is four. It wasn’t hard to choose between my husband and my child, because it would be my son any day. However, It was such a shocker what happened like your world is suddenly shifted upside down. I’m so sorry you had a drug addict for an ex-husband. I see how it can affect you. I don’t like to get too close to men, and I don’t think it’s fair to punish all men because all men are not like the psychopath I married. When I tried to get out the final time, I was locked in my bedroom with my keys hidden. You are never the same. I didn’t want to be a victim though, and you aren’t either. You are very strong to even survive it. Friends and Family are a big help. And hey, if you ever want to rave, you can rave to me anytime.
            Kindest Regards:)

            • Thanks you that is very sweet. It was a long time ago now. I am remarried and have two more kids now. My husband left me with our son. I have raised him and new husband. He has never came and saw him or called him in 12 years. My son has gone through alot. He has been in counseling 3 times and he has been to juvenile court for vandalism. I feel worse for him than myself. Sometimes blame myself for being so young and dumb. I am glad that you have supervised visits for him. And if possible keep in touch with his family. I think my son would have been better off emotionally with supervised visits because he feels completely abandoned. Divorces are always hardest on kids and they still love them no matter their faults. You are right, it is so hard to trust men again. But is true that you should not judge all men by the actions of some. Me and my bf got divorced at the same time and we used to talk awful of men and it made our boyfriends so mad when they overheard us talking. lol My husband knew i was hurt and he helped me by babysitting for me and waited patiently for a commitment from me. I put him through alot and so has my son. He deserves a medal. My ex, i am just so mad for not calling my son and ever checking on him. Or leaving me any number to contact him if emergency or anything. As long as you focus on you guys and do the very best you can. Then, your life should fall into place. Never rush things, my advice. The best things come to those who wait.

            • It is traumatic though. Sorry that you had to experience that while you were pregnant. My ex threatened to punch me and kill me as well as himself. I should have left him, not waited for him to leave me. I was afraid to be a single mom i guess or wanted my marriage to work. That part was really stupid. You were way smarter than me to leave. I just told him that he had better put his fist down or when he goes to sleep tonight, i will beat him with a bat. He said that i was crazy and i said “yeah, and you are about to find out exactly how crazy.” He told me that he would kill me about three different times. The first time i ignored him because i thought that he was just trying to scare me. The second time i told him that i am going to my dads to get a gun for myself to carry and would not hesitate to shoot him if i thought he was serious. The third time i was actually scared (takes quite alot to scare me) because i had followed him to see where he was living but luckily we were broken up. thank goodness. So i lied and told him that i had just him missed him and i was sorry. He also pushed me down once, so i punched him in the face. I have bipolar too. But, i realized that i never should have stayed so long. I had been abused as a kid and teen so i thought i was tough enough to handle everything. Was stupid and i feel guilty even today, wondering how much of that did my baby see and stuff. Long story short, if you would have stayed it probably would have just gotten worse. Especially if he did not go to counseling or take his medicine every day.

    • Heather,
      As someone who advises history majors who will enter the workforce when they graduate in May (probably a field that on its surface is one of the most unmarketable out there), I recommend that you highlight the skills you have learned in college when you start applying for jobs, and not necessarily focus on just employment in your major. After all, it’s not exactly like the job market is booming for historians–but the skills a history major learns, including research, criticial thinking, analytical thinking, and writing–serve him or her well as they seek employment. They might not be “historians” (although a few have found jobs as historical researchers by working for title companies doing deed searches), but they have found jobs.

      And, if it makes you feel any better, when I finally graduated college, it took me four years to get a permanent college teaching position. In the meantime, I used the skills I had learned to work in the private sector (while teaching part-time at several colleges to hone my teaching skills). I was the only liberal arts major in management at the amusement park where I worked, but because I could write I also was the person who revised the corporate training manuals to make them easier to use when training new employees (and to retrain returning ones who were going to change job assignments within the finance department). I also was hired/sub-contracted by the PR department to write a history of the amusement park where I worked, so I did get a chance to work in my field, but it was only because the park was celebrating an anniversary. The skills I learned while working at the amusement park have also helped me in my current job–so don’t you ever think that the learning ever stops. There is a reason why graduation is also called commencement, because it truly is the beginning of the rest of your life.

      And a final side note to Charlie–all of us (especially me) are glad that you survived a bout of what I guess could be called Atahualpa’s revenge during your vacation. Now I’m expecting some of you to look up who Atahaulpa was; then you will understand the reference.

        • Wow Karen, what you said gives me some hope reading about your experience. I never majored in History, but I did love the classes I took in history. We had before 1865, after 1865, and world civ. I’m a science major in Sociology, and marketing. Got in to graduate school to get the M.B.A. Want to start a record label, because while I’m in college my “part-time job” is singing in a band at events, weddings, coffee-houses, restaurants etc… but even the entertainment business suffers when people don’t have jobs, they can’t afford to see concerts, or plays, or movies, or buy the cd’s or t-shirts. Back to school subject, I did lots of social research, data analysis, social statistics..so I should put those classes on my resume?
          Commencement is exciting, but at the same time scary you know. What if the economy collapses?

          • You wouldn’t necessarily put the classes on your resume–even an academic resume like mine (they’re called curriculum vitae for college professors) doesn’t list all of the classes I have taken, although it does list all of the classes I have taught at various ranks and colleges (plus, the c.v. is expected to be longer than one to two pages; I won’t disclose how long mine is, but it’s longer than that). But you do want to highlight the skills that have prepared you for a future career–in other words, not necessarily list the classes, but what you learned in those classes, if that makes any sense. So, for instance, when you list your background, be sure to mention that you are familiar with the different types of software or programs (for instance, as a sociology major you probably are familiar with SPSS or one of the other statistics programs). That’s the kind of stuff that employers look for–how much are they going to have to train you, because every job will require some training.

            I hope that this makes some sense–and congratulations on getting admitted into a MBA program. Grad school is a lot different from undergraduate; in some ways it’s more difficult because the expectations are higher, but in others it’s a lot more fun because you are generally taking classes that you want to take, although there are still classes that you have to take. And if the economy crashes–school is always a safe option. Finally, keep an open mind about your career opportunities. Never lose sight of what you want to do, even if it takes you a while to get there. Life is a journey…and there are some wonderful side trips along the way (unfortunately, there are also some potholes, as you are well aware).

    • I worry also about the young people. Starting out is hard enough but, in this tough economy plus with the high prices of everything just makes striking out all the harder. Being a single mother is hard enough in itself, makes it even more difficult to start out as well as maintain without help. I am afraid all this is adding to alot of stress on everyone parents included. All the prediction of the world ending in 2012 etc is putting stress on the children and young too. Anxiety and or snapping is running rampet, i am afraid. My own son has decided to live in the yard in a camper so he can afford to attend junior college, yet still have his own privacy. This economy is affecting nearly everyone and in turn may cause folks to become “greedier” or hoarders .

  7. We are truly at an economic crossroads in America today. Capitalism ONLY works with a middle class. When America was blossoming into a great nation, the middle class was the strongest segment of our society. It was the economic engine of the country. It’s the middle-class that has the spending power to keep the capitalist wheels in motion. Sadly the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” has increased, as the middle-class is being squeezed out completely. They have been forced to carry the load for too long, through increased taxes and poorly thought out re-distribution policies. The big picture has been lost in an effort to remedy the immediate. Without a middle-class to defend the merits of capitalism, “big business” is free dominate and potentially destroy everything that stands in its path to profit. Hopefully, before it’s too late, we will start to see a trend toward long-term/big picture thinkers in the high end district. As Jeannie mentioned, if other CEO’s and boardroom attendees take the lead of companies like Google, we might just have a chance to be great again.

    • “They have been forced to carry the load for too long, through increased taxes and poorly thought out re-distribution policies. The big picture has been lost in an effort to remedy the immediate.”

      So, so true. And it’s not a popular topic. It’s another thing I hear a lot…the way the (former) middle class is expected to support a permanent welfare class. The rich get tax shelters, the poor get programs…and the middle class gets called “greedy and selfish” for saying “we can’t do this any more”. We’re not blind, deaf and stupid….we SEE the same politicians and celebrities(not Charlie) who rant about the need for social programs/redistribution of wealth, living lives of decadence and hiding their money in off-shore tax shelters. We SEE that they don’t want to give up their goodies to help the less fortunate, or they give but not enough to make a dent in the lifestyle. And we SEE the generational welfare, the fraud, the food stamp abuse…and we’re tired of throwing money at a broken and failed system. Now the economy has reached a point where we ALL need money to pay the mortgage, pay for tuition for our children, put food on the table….and we don’t qualify for any of the “help”. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s also a pot that’s going to boil over soon. Of course, there are people who need temporary help or who can NOT take care of themselves…that’s not what I’m talking about. The people are going to fight the expansion of these programs until it’s audited and revamped. There is a LOT of anger out there, when people can’t afford to purchase things that they see people on welfare having….and it’s getting worse. And I fear the pot will boil over soon if it isn’t addressed.

      • I do agree with you somewhat; that the middle class is shrinking and carrying a heavy load. And that there is some fraud and abuse. I am noticed with Medicaid fraud. (pharmacy’s 7 doctors) I believe you in the fact that the government seems to ignore or seeming to punish the folks who are trying. And i do disagree with this. Besides the tax cuts for being married. Being married makes it tougher to get help from social programs. Also, the honest people that claim they work under the table etc. Get punished. I think there should be more governmental rewarding for the folks who are trying to do as much as possible and for honesty. The government is setting a bad example for the married. I know several couples that have divorced so they could stay on medicaid so they could get their medicine or they will die. kidney dialysis and severe heart disease etc. It is a shame when people love each other and have been together so long and have to be forced into this type of choice to live longer. But in turn, this makes me support the health care for all. I am around poor people so much here. It is so hard to see people hungry, not always going to the dr., and living in horrid conditions with holes in floors etc. I feel bad for the middle class as well because they worked hard and tried hard for what they had etc. and they are being scrutinized for their “good” works for Americas good. the more self sufficiency, the better for America. But with the county a mess there will be less middle class, as you stated.

      • Although i do understand where you are coming from Jo, i don’t blame the social help system for most of the deficit spending. I don’t completely understand alot of this anger or contempt for the poor. Really don’t see all the “fraudulent” people or things going on with the welfare program. Course i am not employed by a social services org. and perhaps if i was i would think twice. Maybe things are different in other areas. Like what you are seeing, where you are. There are income guideline. I am not saying they’re is not some lying going on. Is hard to lie with check stubs or paperwork. idk But there are strict laws against fraud and if they’re is lying going on, they are out on a far limb. If they are not afraid to fall off, then let them do the jail time. I do see some abled body people who maybe can work that don’t seem to be. But i used to live a block from a government housing project. There is in fact alot of standing or sitting around. Mostly males. But, is not for me to say if they are “able” to work or not. Is just how it perceived. Maybe they are moochers off someone else. Now that i see alot of. The folks i know that get welfare are indeed very poor. 90% of folks that i know that receive welfare with children rarely own homes, cars, or property.

        • I understand what you’re saying, Roxana..and was actually waiting for this exact reply. Of course there are people who are truly needy out there….but this system is BROKEN BEYOND REPAIR. Why must it be all or nothing? Why can’t the help be “graduated” so that if a person on welfare gets a job, they don’t LOSE money by working? Why is there no auditing for the system so weed out the dead weight(which is causing the anger in this nation)?
          I know we’re talking about apples and oranges in these discussions. You are talking about what YOU see, desperately poor people who struggle to make it day to day. And they usually DO work. And I’m talking about what I see…people flaunting their fraud, not contributing to society but thinking they are “entitled” to all of this. There are people who NEED help but can’t get it because of the fraud. And when taxpayers see people on food stamps buying steaks and junk food, while they’re clipping coupons because Mom’s job went from 40 to 25 hours…they get angry. And it hurts those who truly need help, because they are ostracized. I volunteer at a medicaid clinic for pediatric dentistry…and the NORM is a filthy, unkempt child with rampant decay in their mouths, brought in by a mom talking on her cell phone on the sidewalk, dressed to the nines and smoking a cigarette. That’s not rare, and it’s not some urban legend. Even if this woman truly has no skills to find a job, why isn’t she doing something productive for the community? Where does she get money for cigarettes and Picasso-esque manicures? And why are her children being neglected? And welfare-to-work programs were shot down as a “form of slavery”. Imagine that, working for your paycheck is slavery. Who knew?
          It’s a broken system, and the taxpayers are going to fight it. It’s gone on too long, and no one is listening. People aren’t stupid…they SEE the ones who are in a mess of THEIR OWN CHOOSING. We want “choice” and “freedom” in this country…big talk about freedom to succeed and be whatever you want to be. And nothing about freedom to fail…if you fail(or don’t even TRY), don’t worry, we’ll take it from the people who’ve made good choices and give it to you. And that’s not fair to anyone..not the taxpayer, not the person who has made good choices and has fallen on hard times and needs help but doesn’t qualify, and not the person who has learned that they can do as they darned well please and someone will clean up their mess for them, while they don’t change the behavior that caused the problems in the first place.

          • You now me all to well. ha To know that i would comment here. First, i want to commend you on your volunteering and trying to help folks such as i know. They really need it. Or the children need your help. And now i realize that you “do” know what you are talking about in being around the poor. I see what you mean. And that is a shame about the kids. What i have seen around the housing project are that there are parents who care and parents who don’t. And why they are blinged out, is for a man. Priorities Priorities ya know.. Alot of it (i believe) has to do with environment. Course i am no social worker. But environment has nearly everything to do with it. In which you live or are rasied up into. You have to break out to change or want more. Contentment in that you know no difference, you know not what another road will be like. Where education and programs such as big brothers and big sisters. We need role models. Another big problem- drugs & violence make for bad circumstances for women and children. There is a cycle that you have to break before you can become able to change. If you don’t “get out” of the housing project. The people there will try either bring you down or think you have more than them and exploit you for their own benefits. There is alot of crime and criminal tendencies. Only a step up from jail life ya know. The more communtiy centers or “moral support” that we put in the “bad” areas. The more folks that it will reach. The problem is deemed unsafe and scary for us to jump into the trenches and help the needy. Is basically a semi-war zone. A catch 22. The problem is it takes money and hard work to reach or help the few fish that are not already corrupted & partially damaged masses that drugs and violence has already brainwashed. What we need is huge anti drug, violence, and gang campaigning. Then, the”welfare” problem will be helped in turn. We need to “clean up” America first. These children are suffering even with welfare as you stated. Unless we can stop these cycles of extreme poverty and violence this cycle will continue. Perhaps build huge churches in the ghetto. But there again is a safety problems. I have a better idea, a police station or cops working at the church. Change the system by changing poor America. And i enjoyed your comment back as always.

            • Here is my example: I was reared in a middle class home. So i “know a different road of life by my parents example of hard work and sacrifice. I know about the christian religion and church life or good path. Which is alot more than alot of these poor folks have experience with in life. But, i was raised with alot of violence or abuse. Plus, i have bipolar. Therefore i have alot of violent tendencies. It causes me to gravitate toward folks who “understand” me or “accept” me. But over time, and realizing that i did not wish to go to jail with guilt by association or etc. I realized had to break away from them and start over. I am not easily accepted or understood by “regular” folks. Due to my violent and redneck upbringing (i have come to see that there are certain buttons or lines that i have that if provoked i will argue or fight). Then, if someone hurts me or threatens me, i may have a bipolar episode. Thank goodness most people do back off when i get mad. In so having to walk around medicated to calm myself or risk going to jail. Having almost gone to jail a few times. It makes it hard to stay straight and be a good person in society. Which is what i want more than anything, to be normal. However, i realize that i am not normal and will always have to struggle to be. If you don’t have the drive or moral to rise above it, then you could easily fail on your mission. What happens if i can’t by my medicine, i will be locked up and that will make my future all the harder. Mental meds are expensive. Is my opinion alot of folks in prison are probably mentally ill. Although i understand that it is not okay to hurt people. My thing is, if someone harms me again, then they will be harmed as well. You walk around with a chip on your shoulder. Of no person will touch me or else they will pay. Is bad to say and think but you get tired of picking yourself off the ground and sucking things up. If you get enough of it, sometimes you just break. Is the old “fight fire with fire” routine. I am not saying is right but sometimes you are either a doormat or a lion. Sorry so personal and sorry if offensive. Just want you guys to understand. Life sometimes is not always pretty and that is reality. Drugs just magnify these problems that some folks or normal folks already have. Which is why i don’t touch the stuff, i have enough to deal with already. lol I do drink sometimes because it calms me down. I also have adhd. But that is not always a good idea either. especially if i am taking mental medicine.

              • Went off into left field here. The point that i was getting at is: that for alot of poor folks there is a hopelessness or basically not knowing a way out of their situation. Finding better circumstances or figuring out a way out of poverty is sometimes easier said than done. Some people have to overcome tough circumstances that don’t put them in a good position to get out of poverty. Is easy to say “get a job”. But they think, how am i going to get there without a car? How can i move without money? There is not usually a fair starting line. Is like starting a race 200 yards behind everyone else. Takes a strong runner to win a race like that. This is a hard one because i know there are struggling working families as well and i think they’re are in similar circumstances as the poor. No one able to help them out when they are down. However, i do believe that certain parts of the welfare system do seem unfair such as purchasing expensive foods. More unfortunately even is lots of people sell or trade their stamps for drugs. Maybe there should be more rules such as turning in receipts for things etc. An new complete overhaul of the welfare program maybe. This is a hard one because i understand some of the middle classes anger and we will need a whole another blog to discuss into it. Meanwhile i will should return the blog out of left field. Enough blog hogging for me.

        • Here is where the “anger and contempt” is coming from (although it’s not toward the poor, but rather the system): Not only is there no relief for those who are “above the below and below the upper,” this group is actually providing the relief for the “below” and the “upper.” As to Charlie’s point, the “upper” are exploiting the working man by squeezing every drop of sweat out of him, while the “below” gets a percentage of every dollar he makes. If you take a step back and look at it, it’s surreal that anyone could call this system fair. Suppose your child (who makes good grades) came home from school today and told you that his teacher demanded that he do extra work or he was going to get expelled. Of course he can’t risk getting expelled, because then he would have no future. So he does the extra work (working tirelessly nights and weekends), only to find out that the school has decided that no one can get credit for any extra work, but instead they allow children with poor grades to get the credit. Never mind that many of the students with poor grades slept through class and spent their evenings and weekends playing X-BOX and watching television. Would any parent be okay with this…should ANYONE be okay with this?

          • Makes sense here @rascally wabbit. lol Thanks for commenting on Jo’s post. Anger toward the system and not necessarily the poor. This is better.

            • That *is* a better way to put it Laura, thank you. You are right..the anger is at the system. There is so much wrong with it, and I’ll admit, it’s easy to get frustrated with the “entitlement crowd” who feels that they some have earned/deserve to be supported by others. But that’s the fault of the system too…they get away with it. And they’d be so much better off if they couldn’t.
              Those who can NOT take care of themselves and those who have fallen on hard times(or who work full time plus some, and can’t make ends meet and need a little help) are not the source of the anger. It’s those who CAN work and don’t feel they should have to, that is causing the bad blood in this country.

              • What is there to be so jealous of someone standing on the street all day or staying home and watching their baby? Sorry but i am just still struggling with understanding this anger after rereading this comment. And i think she is a sweet lady and i don’t mean to disrespect or upset anyone. But really, if they do not wish to work then they can “choose” to be poor for as long as they choose to not work. These folks that you guys are angry at will never have “any” part of the american dream except that they will have groceries and go to the dr. And sometimes help with some rent but, welfare does not pay (all) rent (rarely), lights, cable, phone, gasoline, or car payment, insurance. etc. No offensive but i don’t think you guys would last more than one day in a government housing project. And most certainly not a night. Sorry but maybe i am just to much of a poor redneck myself for the blog. But i do love it. idk Just speaking straight from the heart. I wish i could bring you guys on a tour of some really poor folks homes that i know and you’d leave crying for the children that dcf had an opro and did not remove. And it would not be at the government housing place. Those children are in better shape. I personally know some very poor whites with children and wish i could film you all my own personal documentary to post on facebook. These parents hiding out from the police & dcf child welfare that don’t receive hardly any benefits and the hungry children that are suffering because of the “lack” of stamps. Then you will understand the problems and true viciousness of this cycle of crime and the poverty that goes with it. idk

                • Oh Roxana!! I’m glad you felt you could comment so openly. It’s not anger..it’s frustration. I’m certainly not “jealous” of someone who hangs out on the street all day, but I do get frustrated with a system that allows that to happen from generation to generation. For *SOME*, not all, of those folks, there is a mentality of “Only stupid people work all day, why do that when you can get food, housing and medical care for nothing?”. There is a sense that they are “entitled” to it just for existing. THAT’S the mentality that has people so upset with the system today! Not poor people who are working full time at a min. wage job and need help, or a single mom who left an abusive husband, or even those who thought they’d get on welfare for a short term help and are now trapped in the system and would LOVE to get out. I’m talking about one subset of the group…the one that flaunts their status in front of struggling taxpayers.
                  Just to play devil’s advocate, you ask why I should be jealous of a person standing on the street all day? I ask also…why should the hard-earned money that families need to take care of their own(and give to charity) be handed to those same folks? And, often….this group isn’t really benefiting. They don’t buy healthy food, they trade stamps for cigarettes, and they don’t see the doctor for preventive care. What’s good about all of that?

                  • Very valid point i must say. Yes, i have to admit that i have seen some of that. I never understand why they smoke and so of them stand out side of the convenience store and beg for a dollar or two for cigarettes. Seem like they could try and quit. We have been cussed at for not giving them no money. An addiction i guess but, not much difference than being hooked on hard drugs. And that takes money away from some needy children as well. You are right, we do need changes but also we need drugs off of the streets. But how, idk.

                • Once i hung out at a tent city for homeless families in punta gorda florida. I was homeless at the time and it was so bad (no doors) that i wouldn’t even stay there. Right down the street like a mile, waterfront quarter of a million dollar homes that took up a whole block. It was mind boggling. Couldn’t they afford to fix up their homeless neighbors tents by charitable donations? You’d think they would want to clean up the neighborhood. But at least it was a shanty village in paradise. lol Nice view. And you’d be happy Jo. There was preaching going on in the front yard. You guys will prob grow tired of hearing my stories or end up thinking i am a bum. lol

              • okay okay, i will compromise. Now see what you guys have gone and made me do. lol i have an idea: there should be a time limit for assistance for the non working. And job placement help (if possible) for folks when the time limit is up. Just wish the government would listen to us “all”. Sorry for losing it a little back there on that last one.

  8. Lots of companies (i have noticed lately) are being bought out by foreign countries. Then, they promise the employee alot of bullshit lies when they take over and don’t deliver. Is this happening in other states as well? Is America being bought out or just taken over? Never thought my husband would be working for a Swedish company in north western Florida aka redneck villa. What are we going to do if they bring in fellow Swedes to work in our town instead and we are all out of jobs. Merely an observation. Hoping in not to offend anyone. Wondering if this is going on other places too. We once lived in Tennessee and the same thing happened there too five years ago. The tire company that my husband just started at relocated to Mexico and he was laid off.

  9. “One person doing work of three people due to fat trimming.” Sounds right to me. “Hey, what’s that on your back?’ “No, looking good”. Sorry i couldn’t resist an opportunity to use Fran’s line. Joann did it first the other day.

  10. Well, I guess this explains why we saw photos of Jenny and Susan waiting OUTSIDE your hotel room ;). I’m totally with Jeanne…trickle down economics works ONLY IF the people at the top are willing to trickle! It’s a great principle, but requires that people care about their fellow man and do the right thing..and the love of money is the root of all evil. There is something seriously wrong when a CEO of a corporation lives a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption, and the lowest workers in his firm qualify for public housing and food stamps. It’s a sticky wicket…unregulated capitalism leads to greed and an elite ruling class(worse than we have now), too much regulation drives the job-creators out of the country. It’s also our OWN greed and desire for cheaply-made crap that are causing our fellow citizens to close businesses and scale down.
    I’m not sure that “greedy corporations” is the only issue here, though. So much more comes in to play. I work with patients all day, all across the socio-economic spectrum….and everyone is scared witless. The small businesses are afraid to do anything right now, because they fear what the Health Care debacle will mean for them…will they be ABLE to hire more workers, if they will be required to pay more and more toward health premiums?(And I’m a supporter of basic “Medicare for All” with supplemental policies, unlike most conservatives). They don’t trust that any economic “upturn” they may be seeing is going to last. And truthfully…they don’t trust the government(either side) to be telling them the truth about the economy. Tying in with your previous blog, we can read that the economy is improving on one website, and find another that says “this is all smoke and mirrors”. I think it’s only natural to want to err on the side of caution right now.
    But if “the word on the street”(or in the dental chair) that I’m hearing is correct, the Health Care Bill really is a much bigger factor than TPTB want to believe, or want to admit. The cost to business owners is such an unknown(and you can’t get a straight answer), they’re really just in limbo. And our patients(who are basically just consumers) are truly afraid to spend money, because they don’t trust that their job is secure. So the restaurants, theaters, stores etc are suffering too. Maybe it’s just my area, but we don’t see a big recovery yet…though I realize I live in a state with a VERY high cost of living.

  11. First–give me a moment while I try to get the image of Charlie in a Speedo out of my head. Or worshipping the porcelain throne while in Ecuador.

    Well, the Speedo image isn’t going anywhere (although I have cleared my mind of the other image), so now I’ll try to develop a reasonably coherent response. Anyway, as someone who has dietary restrictions because of medical conditions, I really don’t feel competent to comment on the “eating bad food” analogy, because eating healthy food can be very bad for me (just figure if it’s healthy, I can’t have it). No fiber, no alcohol, no spices. I’m the one who orders the cheese pizza with no sauce and hopes that the cheese agrees with me. So overeating–and sampling new sauces that look delicious–forget it. I’m the designated driver, and I’m the one who always checks where the bathroom is located when I enter an unfamiliar facility.

    Moving right along…part of the problem is that the economy really isn’t that healthy. It may APPEAR to be healthy to someone who is benefiting from the record corporate profits, etc., but in actuality it’s all fiction. Sort of like the 1920s, when the economy was “booming,” but it just masked the “sick” industries (such as mining, textiles, etc.) that were not thriving—and it was the instability of the economy that contributed to the collapse of the stock market in the fall of 1929, not just speculation (although that was a factor, too). De-regulation is also a contributing factor; the Standard Oil Trust was dissolved in 1911 (leading to the formation of Exxon, Mobil, etc.), but during the Clinton Administration petrochemical companies were permitted to combine to make the industry more efficient (leading to the merger of Exxon and Mobil—in other words, reuniting the trust that had been dissolved during the Taft administration). So it’s not necessarily excessive regulations that are causing the problems, but de-regulation and not effectively enforcing the existing regulations. And the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the fancy name for the stimulus bill/act) really has artificially boosted the economy in some areas, but again it’s artificial—because when the stimulus money ends this upcoming fiscal year, it’s not going to be a pretty sight in areas in which the stimulus money is the only thing keeping them solvent.

    And, as someone who works at a place where retrenchment (aka layoffs) is occurring in anticipation of decreased funding (because of the loss of stimulus money), the economy is definitely NOT viable. States are cutting funding for higher education (and public education) because of deficits resulting from declining tax revenues, beginning a vicious spiral that will impact the nation in the future. Coupled with an increased emphasis on including technology in instruction (which costs $$$), the situation is becoming extremely dire at institutions like the one where I teach (fortunately, my job is secure). And the idea of taking on the work of three people—well, I don’t know if I’m necessarily doing that, but I do know that my ability to perform my primary job (teaching college history classes) has been compromised by the need to do other things (including supervising student teachers and coordinating the preparation of accreditation reports). I can’t even remember the last time I only worked a forty hour week (even when I’m on “vacation” during the summer, I’m also teaching online and preparing for subsequent semesters).

    Well, that’s enough from me for now. Off to start working on one of the three reports I have to write this weekend, but in the words of the former governor of California, I’ll be back.

    • Right, cutting education will definitely come back and bite us in the rear. That saddens me so, or children & grandchildren are the future of America. We need to invest in them or it will come back and haunt us later. I enjoy reading your comments Karen. As well as everyone else too. Wish i could have been one of your students in the past. lol But this is a good second chance at it.

      • Thanks! As you know, it’s never to late to learn–and I’m glad that I have this opportunity to share what little I know. I have found Charlie’s blogs to be something to be not just a place to express my thoughts, but also a way to see other viewpoints on an issue and to learn from them.

  12. Well said, Charlie, and that is exactly why trickle down economics does not work. If there were more companies like Google who realized that they have more money than they possibly can spend and therefore, chose to reinvest in their employees then we might start to enjoy a trickle here and there. But, with rare exceptions, as long as corporations can get away with pocketing their profits they will do so and they won’t give a second thought to how their employees or the rest of the world are eating their next meal. Although I feel we have benefited immensely from capitalism, this happens to be capitalism at its worst. But one good thing about it is that maybe eventually Disneyland won’t be so crowded.

      • A man with a mission? or some vision. I am happy with all these blogs but my family, not so much. Being called; “computer hog for blog” by my oldest son. And one night; “Honey uh, dinner?” Then, “Go and get some take out please” says my husband. lol

    • Jeannie, I couldn’t agree with you more. Greed, more than anything, seems to be the problem with corporations. Also, if big corporations wouldn’t outsource, we’d all be in much better shape.

      The job market just concerns me in general, though. It worries me, if I’ll be able to get a job in 3 years once I graduate. Especially since I’m going to school for film, which is not the most stable market in the first place.

      My mother had been working 3 jobs and almost all at once lost them all. It’s awful.

      And yes, 3 blogs in one week. You’re on a roll, Charlie.

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