Wednesday, July 13, 2011

it's all broken

I'm trying not to really watch/listen to news very much these days. Because I get increasingly convinced of the brokenness of our society and the current brokenness of the government. (Thomas Jefferson, were he resurrected from the dead, would vomit. That is, if resurrected-from-the-dead guys can vomit).

First off: the whole budget/debt limit mess. The thing that frustrated me today was hearing that Obama said, "Oh, by the way, if we don't fix this, those of you dependent on social security, veterans' checks, and disability - you won't see your check on time in August."

I have NO IDEA if this is likely to happen or not, given the lack of a budget deal. I'm almost of the opinion now - given the level of hysteria I've seen on both sides of this - that it's actually not that likely to happen, but it's more a last-ditch, "Let me get people who have the time to call and write their Congressperson to do so, since they're afraid the money won't come."

(And I think here's some evidence for it being hype)

There may not be "money in the coffers" to pay Social Security?

Okay, here's a suggestion: Stop Congress' checks. Stop the President's paycheck. Don't fund things like the NEA and stuff. Again - it's like a family. If Dad loses his job, what a reasonable family does is cancel the cable, stop going out to dinner once a week, suspend the planning for the trip to Disneyland. You cover the essentials. You let the non-essentials slide - or you let the things slide that are already paid up for a while. (I doubt there is a single Representative who would be turned out on the street were he or she to miss getting a paycheck on time).

But, as I said: I smell hyperbole. I smell an attempt to cause desperation and rage in the people, and get them to call their Representative and say "I don't care how badly you think it will hurt the rich, tax the hell out of them and let me keep my goodies!"

Honestly, what I think? We're going to have to cut big on spending. Even WITH new taxes or raised taxes. It's going to suck but we're going to have to do it. Look, it's a "Dad lost his job" situation right now.

But I'm going to be frustrated if every program is "off the table" because it might hurt someone.

I don't want to see us become like Greece but I have a huge fear of that happening in the next 20 years. (My dad and I were talking about this. His response to my concern: "Do you think you could get a job in St. Kitt's or Dominica?" Apparently these are the hot new places for people to "escape" to?

(My response: I don't speak Spanish (or Dutch, or whatever the primary language on St. Kitt's is) and I doubt there are many universities there.)

I dunno. I'm actually thinking if there's a sort-of-a SHTF situation, the smartest thing for me to do would be to buy a big plot of land somewhere where there could be a small lake I could keep stocked with fish, and maybe woods with deer, and a more favorable climate than here for trying to grow food, and try to become as self-sufficient as possible. (And put up razor wire and crap on the perimeter. And have a big notice saying HOMEOWNER HAS GUNS AND KNOWS HOW TO SHOOT)

But beyond all that, there's so much more brokenness in the news:

- a TSA agent was caught stealing stuff out of people's bags. We trust these people because why?

- Lots of reports of "breaches" in airport security, including some potentially scary stuff. And yet, if you show up wearing Depends, you will be asked to remove them. And if I were to show up having forgotten my inch-and-a-half long embroidery scissors in my purse, I'd probably wind up being sent to prison.

- Michelle Obama ordering a high calorie meal somewhere. I'm very conflicted about this. On the one hand, as a chunky woman, I resent people judging me on the basis of what I choose to eat. (That fat woman you ridicule for getting an ice cream cone? It may be the ONLY CONE SHE ALLOWS HERSELF TO EAT IN A YEAR. Or it may be her birthday. Or something). On the other hand...I really, really hate the scolding tone our society has taken on, where it seems like everything enjoyable is bad for you and should be avoided. And apparent hypocrisy frustrates me, where someone says, "This is good for YOU PEOPLE, but I'm allowed to do differently" - like the people who say that everyone in the U.S., even people with serious pollen allergies, should be forced to dry all of their laundry on clotheslines in order to "reduce the carbon footprint," but then they fly around in a jet.

- Someone is starting an online petition to make not reporting your child missing shortly after they go missing a Federal crime. This being a "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE" in the aftermath of the Casey Anthony trial. Okay, here's my question: is there an epidemic of children going missing that are not reported? Or is this an unlikely case that probably will never happen quite this way again? I get leery of promoting more and more laws for situations that are unlikely to re-occur. Sadly, you can't legislate away evil, no matter how you try. And I worry about unintended consequences of more laws being heaped up. (And also: sometimes laws already on the books are very spottily enforced.) Look, I think she killed her kid. And I think she and her family lied until they were fairly sure there'd be reasonable doubt as to what happened. If it happened as I think it happened, they're awful people. But 99.9999999999999999999% of parents in the U.S. are NOT awful people, and making a new this case, it's like closing the barn door after the horse and cows have gone. It's not really going to solve a lot, IMHO.

- Also a thought: I know people who got more concerned over one of their outdoor, barn cats going missing than this mother apparently was over her child. Again: you can't legislate people's feelings, you can't legislate away evil.

I don't know. I almost feel as if we're at a tipping point as a nation, where we're balanced on the edge between falling over into an increasingly restrictive, government-centered life, where it gets closer and closer to Socialism every year, and freedoms slowly erode away, or, on the other hand, we as a country go, "Hell no" and start trying to fix things, start trying to get back to more freedom, less reliance on the government for EVERYTHING, and more going out and chasing real dreams, instead of counting on someone else to supply them.

I really hope we tip the right way, but I'm kind of pessimistic right now.

1 comment:

Dave R. said...

Well, THAT explains why you didn't post for a week (I worry about you when you don't)--the overwhelming feeling that the world, and especially our American society, are going to seed in a hurry.

I've had that feeling off and on for the past 40 years. These days I'm torqued not only at the young, but at two groups of which I am a member: senior citizens (read: old people) and veterans. The entitlement mentality among all three groups needs to be reversed, even if takes drastic cuts in what they think they deserve.

I have taken advantage of some veterans' benefits, but it would be okay if there were none. My military service was what I owed the country for the luck of living in an advanced and free society. As for the elderly, those who got to an advanced age without having planned for the financial aspect of it have been just plain stupid, and Social Security (which, yes, I receive) is the nation's only legal pyramid scheme now bordering on what happens to all those on the bottom rung of every pyramid scheme.

Well, those remarks will cause some outrage, I'm sure. I am touched by all your concerns and thoughts, Ricki, even when I don't respond to them. Thank you for your blog--and for you.