Charles Shaughnessy Blog: A frog’s fate…

While we Americans continue our devoted worship at the altar of big business as evidenced by the dogged defence of the G.W. tax cuts and championing of businessmen like Romney, Turner, Perry et al.,  the middle class continues to shrink at an alarming rate. Poverty is now at a level not seen since 1997 and middle class Americans are slipping out of jobs, houses and solvency faster then ever. The irony is that this dwindling middle class represents the very same people who are hastening their own demise by supporting the very policies and politicians who have taken a vow that the middle class is merely collateral damage in their crusade for wealth and power! If you drop a frog into boiling water it will leap out of the pot. If you drop a frog into warm water and slowly raise the temperature until it reaches boiling point, the frog will never notice the difference and boil to death. The way we are headed, I reckon we will have reached that critical point by November 2012.

Let me be straight with you. These are NOT Republicans: real Republicans recognize the need for a healthy and prosperous middle-class. I share some of their agenda. Self-determination is an integral part of the American dream….but THESE people  are a new and dangerous breed of neo-Conservative that has been weaned on the message of Ayn Rand and Orwell’s prophetic, but cynical”1984″. They only sees winners and losers in the great game of life. As a good liberal friend of mine said recently:    ” Forget caring about anyone else: just focus on getting rich quick, ‘cos that’s all that’s going to be important when these guys get into power.” So long, America…it’s been good to know ya!


21 thoughts on “Charles Shaughnessy Blog: A frog’s fate…

  1. Would you please give more advice on how to handle an 18 year old daughter's independence?I don't think I talked to her enough when she was growing up and she likes to discuss politics which I do not.Thank you.One worry mom

  2. Charlie, At my book group meeting yesterday I tried (not very successfully) to paraphase your blog on "morality versus ethics". Finally I just emailed it to one of the members who was quite impressed & said she understood why I liked you. I have listened to it several times & will continue to reflect on my "ethical behavior." Thanks for continuing to blog & encourage us all to really think.

  3. Karen just to let you know my husband and i may not make alot of money but we teach are boy's that you have to work hard for the thing's you want in life and that nothing worth wild comes free so we will make sure their student loan's are paid they work hard and they know that they have to pay back their loans we don't take charity weather are not the goverment want's to foergive the loan are not they will pay for it so they can hold thier head's up high and say i did it i feel bad that i could not do more for them but i have two good boy's and they know what the right thing to is i would never let my boy's be blamed for the goverment not being able to pay their bills.

  4. I'm not sure which blog this comment should go on…so I'll submit it to the most recent one.I just wanted to toss something into the mix that I noticed today. There apparently is an online petition floating around that advocates forgiving student loans as a way to stimulate the economy. Personally, I think it's a stupid idea. For one thing, it will only create greater debt for the U.S. (since some of these loans are backed by the federal government), and banks will be even more reluctant to grant loans to people who truly need them to pay for college. Another reason is that it will only encourage fiscal irresponsibility, which will not help resolve the current crisis. Finally, if the government forgives student loans, does this mean that the government will appropriate sufficient money to cover the cost of higher education so future students won't have to take out loans, or will current (and future) students have to scramble to find the money to go to college or not attend at all because they cannot afford it (while their parents’ student loans were forgiven)? If it’s the latter—how does that support President Obama’s goal of having more high school graduates pursue higher education? In case anyone is wondering, by the end of 2010 an estimated $884 billion was owed in student loans, so we’re not talking small change here (and I know students who graduate over $40,000 in debt—and I teach at a public university).By the way, in the interest of full disclosure–I did take out loans while in college. The one for my bachelor's degree was paid off before I started my doctorate, and the one for my doctorate was paid off several years ago. I knew I had a responsibility to pay off the debt, and I did. Silly me—I should have waited for a possible government bailout (which, in effect, is what the loan forgiveness would be).

  5. Speaking of "1984" Charlie, I'd really like to hear everyone's opinions on the new website People are supposed to post reports of things being said about Pres. Obama(and they did this also during the 2008 election, calling it "fight the smears"). Thankfully, it has become the funniest internet site/twitter account in history…but I find this disgusting and frightening.

  6. I'm looking so forward to seeing how fast this next president fixes the country's problem's and when it's all said and done we can say again do we really want another 4yr's of this but don't worry i well have the pot on luke warm so he what boil to fast! and let's see if he is smart enough to jump out.

  7. @Karen: Ha! Charlie's agreeing with the republicans a possible sign of the Apocalypse. And i so agree with you and @Nanabev: doesn't matter to me what is a president religion is unless he is a fanatic. Loved that quote from President Hoover! As my dad used to say; "we don't have a pot left to piss in". Okay pretty vulgar.@Lauren: I agree is embarrassing. Thinking back to when Prez Bush got a shoe thrown at him. Several occasions come to mind.

  8. Well said Karen–couldn't agree with you more-especially on the religion issue–I want an intelligent, strong, ethical leader who is not afraid to oppose his party's agenda if he feels it's right for the country-what his religion is, is entirely his own business .

  9. You know it seem's to me that thier are some pepole out their who just think they have all the answer's so why don't you just seen them to your congressman and fix this mess and tell the pepole who don't think the way you do to just stop and don't vote because you don't matter anymore you don't make enought money to be in are group so just live in your car and eat chicken and don't worry about getting out of the pot because you don't have the support of all your fellow americans to jump out we can only help the one's who are our equal's sorry but that's just the way it is now we don't have time are do not even want to help you succeed this is now 100% corporat america and you don't fit in anymore we want and america wear pepole can dine on steak and lobster and ride in corporat jet's only so solong to the poor and middle class it took a lot of time but we did it we got ride of you and once you are all gone we will have our Rich america the way we want it.

  10. Sad state of affairs indeed! 1 out of 6 Americans in poverty. Scary stuff no doubt. Saw this on the news too. The idea of no middle class? Don't envy anyone to step down and join into my fam & friends predicament. More desperation and hopelessness. Plus, watching their dreams come falling down around them. This will only cause more parents to give up (over whelmed) abandon the family, suicides, break downs, and addictions. And the more folks in poverty = more drain on the government in trying to feed them. The prices of gas and groceries is staggering already. Have started buying like 2 or 3 days of meals instead of 7 and then trying to stretch to buy the other 4 days meals/gas. Beginning to miss those food stamps that i no longer qualify for. lol Great frog analogy there. Some great comments here already. We are trying to realize their is something wrong and do something about it. Well some of us anyway and you are right in stating the ones who can't are out working two jobs. Plus, how can we help that many people. I worry of a depression or mass crime. Your friend is right, it will become a game of cutthroat. The rich will hold all the cards and folks will have to be well off to maintain some normalcy or not get affected by the middle class fall out and the backlash of the poor. Right! Nice knowing you middle class, you will be surely missed. We needed you guys were our American normalcy.

  11. Hi Charlie I find your frog anology quite interesting and would like to repeat something Jürgen Klinsman ( now US Soccer Team coach)who was in a talk show last Sunday in Germany , was asked "who and what are Americans and their knowledge of politics"?His answer in context: . Americans have two jobs, are too busy struggling with daily life or worrying loosing their jobs and most get their news in the kitchen TV between making and eating a meal which means very few have the time to think about politics. Hence those politicians who shout the loudest or serve the purpose of the individual are voted for.Also having been to the US I find News coverage very sparse on a daily basis.@JO a bit of socialism is already in the US,think of all those on welfare, medicare etc. Of course people should be able to take care of themselves , but that isn´t always possible and in these days more so, and of course some administrations make it easier than others to get welfare , and when I read that the Bank of America is sacking 4500 employees and Warren Buffet gave Millions to save GM and made over a million profit the hair in my neck rises, is capitalism really the better system? I doubt it.In all this "schlamassel" it´s the hard working middle class that is getting the shorter end and they are and were always (in every country) the backbone of the economy.I just wonder whoever gets in will they "dare" to tax the big companies and the wealthy? I doubt it , so inthe end all will stay the same except under another name.

  12. The frog in the pot…a reminder of Hoover's campaign slogan in 1928: "A chicken in every pot, and a car in every garage." By 1932, because of the Great Depression–couldn't afford the chicken or the pot, didn't have a garage, and if you still had a car, you might be living in it. (that should conclude the history lesson for this comment)On to the candidates–those of you who think Rick Perry is the savior should not read the following paragraph. "Governor Goodhair" (as he is called by some of my friends in Texas) is governor only because George W. Bush was elected president in 2000, and somehow he has stayed in office (and is a prime example of why term limits are a good idea). Do we want a president who was a yell leader in college (Texas A&M's version of cheerleaders; it was an all-male college when he graduated in the early 1970s)? Do we want a president who graduated with a C+ average as an agriculture major (and who took courses on herding cows and growing corn)? Who, if state politics in Texas wasn't so corrupt, would be under indictment for accepting bribes (sorry–campaign contributions) from pharmaceutical companies for requiring young girls to get the HPV vaccine? Who, when challenged on his views, either changes them (showing a lack of conviction) or keeps rambling inaccurate information? I really wish someone would tell him that SCOTUS upheld the constitutionality of Social Security over 70 years ago. Finally, his talking point about job creation–he leaves out the qualifier "minimum wage," plus why have so many teachers in Texas lost their jobs because of his policies–and why are there so many pickup trucks with Texas plates in northern Pennsylvania seeking jobs, because they can't find any in Texas?Obviously, my reasons for voting for a candidate will differ from others. I know some on the blog will scream at me for this, but I don't really care what a president's religious beliefs are, as long as he/she does not try to impose them on me and they don't waver for political expediency. I do, however, expect the candidate to know and understand this nation's history–which will prevent Michele Bachmann from ever receiving my vote (some of her "interpretations" are even more erroneous than my students').What is wrong with having a president who knows how to balance a budget because of his/her experience in the private sector? It's one thing if the candidate only has experience in the private sector (for instance, if Donald Trump was running); it's another thing if the candidate has experience as a state governor (Romney, Perry, and Huntsman meet that qualification). I really don't see Rick Perry as a businessman; he was a rancher and state Agriculture Commissioner before becoming Lieutenant Governor (and taking over after Bush left for the White House). Finally, we shouldn't lump all Republicans together; there are vast differences between all of the candidates, just like there are differences within the Democratic Party. Trust me, Bob Casey and Harry Reid do not completely share political ideologies, but both are Democrats in the U.S. Senate.Off to ponder if Charlie admitting that he shares some of the ideals of the Republican Party is one of the signs of the apocalypse….

  13. dearest Charlie…thank you!! There are many fiscally conservative/socially moderate Republicans/Democrats/Independents(c'est moi!)out here. The Tea Party "movement" has been completely ruined by far right extremists and the media coverage. The original 'plan' was from Ron Paul, to 'take the country back' from the politicians and corporations and back to the Constitution. Not back to the 1950's, Jim Crow laws, and coat hanger abortions(which is how it was VERY successfully twisted by the left). Now I'm seeing my most far-left progressive friend posting "we need to take our country back" on her facebook page. The frog analogy…I've heard that for years, as a way to describe how we're are heading toward socialism and more dependence on the government to 'take care of us'…LOL. I know that the Far Right Tea Party scares you…trust me, the far left progressive agenda frightens me just as much. I think(no, I *know*) that the progressive far left read Obama's books, heard his speeches, and truly,sincerely believed that his election was a mandate for their policies. And you've been in shock since day one. I've watched the far left on Huffington Post turn on Obama like nobody's business, and it is justified. Conservatives did the same with Bush. As Carville says "It's the economy, stupid". Republicans have spent WAY too much time on social conservatism, and those are issues that need to be dealt with on a grass-roots level. I think the majority of Americans are FISCALLY conservative, and the Republicans are tapping in to that, and very successfully. "How are we going to pay for this?" is something you say around the kitchen table, and people *get that*. People who have jobs are terrified of losing them, and want their industry to succeed so that they will have security. As for Romney, Perry(ptoi ptoi) and Turner…the people want politicians who understand budgets, business, job creation etc. Ivy League attorneys aren't impressing us much anymore. Fiscal conservatism is going to be the driving force in this next election. The Democrat pundits/experts are criticizing Obama's jobs plan. You're right, Charlie..the middle class is in trouble. But they're leaning RIGHT to get themselves out of it. Personally, I'm going to have a tough time if Perry is the nominee, and I'm not sure if I'd abstain, or more likely write someone in. I'm hoping for Mitt Romney, whom I voted for in the 08 primaries.

  14. Charlie i wish i could put the word's together like you do but i can't so thank you my husband and i have come to the fact that we just have to give up this fight the goverment does not want pepole like us a round so we just set in are home spend only what we need and pray that we will still have some what of alife i have told my husband that to put know hardship on him i do not what him to give me a funeral i said just save what money you can for when i'am gone and just put me straight in the ground no pepole to say good bye i feel my husband having money to live when i'am gone is more importan to me then pepole saying good by let the goverment have what the want i just don't care anymore this is just to hard to deal with life is hard enought then all this crap it's just not wearth the worry anymore i wave my white flag and say the hell with it take it all you greetie goverment hope you enjoy but thank you Charlie for being careing about other's and telling it the way you see it sorry i don't know how to do that very well but i also want you to know that just because i said what i said does not mean that we will not vote we just don't feel are vote will matter anymore but we still will vote.

  15. So what is the solution? A lot of Americans still don't know what's going on in the country. We are like the frog in warm water, not realizing we're boiling to death. A lot of us are too busy looking for jobs and/or trying to keep our jobs. More worried about keeping our heads above water and thinking of how to support our families. Those of us who do watch CNN, MSNBC, and read articles are just as frustrated as you are. But what else is there to do but to keep yourself informed? Hope that others are more informed come next/every election and to use their vote?

  16. So what's the solution? A lot of Americans are still not aware of what's going on. A lot of us are like the frog in "warm" water, not aware of what's happening. Most are too busy trying to find a job and/or keep their jobs. trying to keep their heads above water.

  17. I saw on the news tonight that 1 in 6 Americans are considered to be at the poverty level. This is so scary…and directly or indirectly it affects everyone…and other countries.I feel kind of helpless because I don't know enough about politics to make a judgement on who is at fault, or who is actually trying to help the people, and not just themselves. In my self-admitted ignorance though, it seems that it would be more effective to judge politicians by their actions, than by their party…but on the other hand if they only vote along party lines regardless of the issue…then they are not acting as individuals but as a party. What a muddled mess we are in.

  18. Thank you. Truly. You've put into words what I've given up trying to make those around me understand. For the most part, I'm surrounded by these individuals, yet then they turn around and complain about the exact thing the ones they support and voted in are doing to them. But they blame the "other guy". Makes my head hurt. Nice to hear a sane voice in the masses! Michelle

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