It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize for my absence and will not make excuses. But then, these are tenuous times for us all and getting more so every day.
And so, here we are.
We stand as near the brink of complete American demise as we ever have during our Republic’s remarkable lifetime. Think of this time right now as our “Thelma and Louise” moment. You know the movie, that last scene, the one with the women facing certain death straight ahead and the consequences of their actions straight behind. We also are at that singular point in time when we must decide between two fates. We can surrender, accept the consequences of our actions so far and salvage what we can from the mess that’s been made OR we can escape the pain of consequence, drive over the cliff’s edge into oblivion and lose it all. The foot of a collective America hovers above the accelerator that controls our future. Thelma and Louise chose death.
Which will it be America?
Just like the women of the movie, had we accepted the punishment commensurate with our over-indulgent behavior when first caught, the consequences would have been painful but not something we could not endure. The very first TARP, President Bush’s $800b bailout to AIG, was that moment for us. Bush chose to plug the hole, hoping it would hold and it might have had a fiscally conservative succeeded him as POTUS. Unfortunately for America, that was not the case. Instead, America elected a man who was hell-bent upon transforming America. This appealed to the progressive thinking yuppy-types and the “I want mines too” couch ridden, Jerry Springer watching, Cheetos munching crowd. In their minds, too few shared the spoils of capitalism and America elected an admitted Marxist to occupy the most powerful office on the face of the Earth in the spirit of . . . fairness.
Capitalism had brought untold prosperity to America’s shores but not to all, natural selection and personal choice dictated to whom it was that prosperity accumulated. Even still, those down on their luck were given a helping hand and the opportunity to recover. Those who could not work for whatever reason were provided with an adequate and sustainable lifestyle. Those who were able to work but yet refused were provided for and even the poorest of America enjoyed an enviable lifestyle compared to the poor in most other parts of the world. Mostly though, for those willing to work and pinch a penny here and there, a decent living for you and your family was attained with relative ease and many could maybe even afford a boat or some other such luxury. For those willing to take some risks, start a business, work harder and longer than the norm, could avoid big mistakes and with some luck you may be able to achieve the pinnacle of capitalistic effort – a successful business, incorporation and maybe an IPO! THAT is the American dream! THAT is why, for so many decades, so many people came to America from so many different places . . . for the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. There were no guarantees, there were no government handouts! The only thing anyone got was a chance, an opportunity to turn ideas into actions, actions into dreams and dreams into realities.
But now there are those who say that capitalism is unfair. They say that the ones with the ideas, the ones with the guts to take the risk, the ones willing to break a sweat in order to fulfill their dreams . . . they say these people became successful by taking advantage of those with no ideas or lacked the guts to take a chance or the willingness to break a sweat.
To them I say BULL!
Yes, there were some who were greedy and there were some who took advantage but they were a minority of America’s entrepreneurs and as long as we are human beings there will ALWAYS be those kinds of people. Do you remember this woman, Peggy Joseph?
Did you ever hear, “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.” Or “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Or “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck.”? Those expressions were born from those who manipulated the system in order to achieve an unfair advantage over people like Peggy. She had been sold a bill of goods because it was the bill of goods she wanted. Peggy wanted a house and a car and children and a cell phone and a computer and a big television with cable and everything else the capitalists have but she didn’t want to work for it.
The basic premise of capitalism is simple: goods and services are provided to any and all with the means to procure them at a market-driven price. The execution of capitalism is much more complex: finding a fair and equitable process of providing those goods and services to any and all while achieving a reward commensurate with the risk taken can be very tricky. Facilities, manpower, production, warehousing, quality, distribution, logistics, product placement, marketing, competition, customer service and on and on and on are all crucial factors, glitches in any of which can drain profitability from your product. The beauty of capitalism is that, when it is not interfered with, it works perfectly. The problem with capitalism is that it is a system that can be scammed and, since Jesus isn’t running things – not yet – it frequently is scammed. Cut corners in any one of those crucial factors and you’re scamming the system. Most frequently, the easiest and most profitable way to scam the system is to cut quality while placing heavy emphasis on the factor that will increase sales volume every single time . . . marketing.
We’ve all seen these operations come and go. Yup, they show up on some corner with a “too good to be true” kind of deal and yup, there’s always a few of those “suckers born every minute” who get scammed and yup, the rest of us just shake our heads because “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck” and the scam operation sooner rather than later shuts down and moves along to find its next gaggle of suckers. They’ve always been around, we used to call them “Snake oil salesmen”, more recently we called them “Hedge fund Managers” and now, well now I believe them to be called Representatives, Senators and sadly . . . President.
In an age when . . . our Federal government takes in $180b, spends $300b and borrows $120b every single month and our “leaders” have a large percentage of us convinced that the Federal government isn’t spending enough . . . our President threatens to cut off payments to people who have paid into the Social Security system all their lives or threatens to not pay the men and women who are serving our country in lieu of cutting off payments to the tens of millions of illegal aliens who are receiving cash payments from our Federal government . . . our Federal government refuses to close the borders to illegal aliens and even goes so far as to sue a State for trying to enforce immigration laws . . . our soldiers are handcuffed in war zones with impossibly strict Rules of Engagement . . . our debt has been downgraded for the first time in our history . . . our creditors are claiming fiscal mismanagement . . . our President has purportedly granted our largest creditor – China – emminent domain in case we default . . . you get the picture . . . we must admit, finally, that we’ve been scammed. We have been scammed and the damage caused is monumental BUT we can recover. It will be painful. It will not be without casualties but we can do it. We can recover from this.
Tell me America, which will it be? Our collective foot hovers above the accelerator. Will we drive off the cliff like Thelma and Louise? Or, will we turn this thing around, take our lumps and restore the luster to America? The decision is ours. Which is it?