Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Abiding Unhappiness

You can always tell when there is a recession; the TV is covered up with 'new and exciting inventions' as people struggle to make a buck on their fondest ideas. Everyone from Dyson to the Bassmaster is hawking the latest thing to make your life easier, more productive, happier, etc.

Lots of folks think that I am a miserable old soul, always grumbling and griping. The truth is that I am unbearably happy in my own life, for the most part. I choose to be. I know that 'things' don't make me happy - but making things, creating things, growing things, and having people buy those things - or enjoying those things myself - makes me happy. Right now there are 150 tiny baby poinsettias in my greenhouse, stretching toward the sunlight, growing new leaves, loving the moist and humid heat I have to artificially provide for them (it is normally about 90 deg with 35% humidity here in the summer). As it cools off here the end of September, I''ll be moving them to my nice warm (50 deg) basement, restricting their sunlight to gro-lites for only 12 hours a day, to make them bloom by the end of November. I already have two places where I will put them for sale. I already have the pretty gold, green, and red foil to wrap the pots in. The challenge won't be in selling them to make the money - but in making them perform exactly how I want, and sharing that performance with others.

I eat things simply; whole-wheat or oat homemade bread, locally grown beef, chicken, and fish. I don't require a lot, and I only like spending money on things that will grow my farm. I don't party a lot, because I 1) don't have time, 2) have too much on my mind and too much on my plate to have a day-after sleep-in. One of the stores I shop online had a massive clearance sale; I bought dress pants for $5 and work dresses, skirts, and blouses for $10. Not that cheap material or poorly sewn crap you get at WalMart or the outlet stores, either... good stuff, sturdy stuff, well made stuff that no one else bought at a premium price.

Yet I watch people going on trips that they can't afford, and then desperately playing catch-up to pay their bills. I watch people spending money as soon as they make it, insisting that they 'deserve a break', 'have a right to enjoy themselves'. OK, maybe they do. But why they need to grasp their 'happiness' with both hands, cling to it desperately, rub their faces all over it like a child with new velvet, then throw it away and regret it less than a month later is beyond me. Why they need the changes, the constant newness, to revitalize themselves and make themselves feel worthwhile all over again is beyond my comprehension. They stink of anxiety, fear, and desperation the way old nursing homes stink of pee, no matter how vigorously you try to clean them, paint them, and make them new.

Either you and your life are worthwhile, or -they're not. Either what you do, who you are, and where you're going are important - or they are not. When you vibrate so rapidly and so desperately that you are in reality standing still, you aren't really moving at all. When your needs cannot be met and your longings cannot be fulfilled no matter how much you run to and fro, buying first this, than that, to make yourself feel better, you are not succeeding at anything... except deepening your own desperation.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Everything is FINE.

It's coming. That indefatigable, irreversible moment of destruction - like lying in the water bleeding, and watching the sharks circling.

Now Bernanke is saying "the economic future is uncertain".

What a dyed-in-the-wool, Kenyesian-rhetoric, mouth-drooling liar he is.

The economic future is damned certain - and it is the politicians and the media who are insisting that no one should panic, no one should worry, just a little problem, no worries. They are as full of shit as a Christmas turkey. The reason they are not telling you the truth is simple - they are as terrified as anyone else, but if they SAY it, then it happens more quickly.

For 20 years I wrote about, protested about, and yelled about Austrian economics being the only way to save this economy. For 20 years people said, Why save it? It's fine. Don't be silly. This is working. Austrian economics is a pipe dream, a fantasy. It won't get too bad. We're fine. We are all fine. So what if governmental regulations shipped all of our manufacturing jobs overseas? We didn't want to work in manufacturing anyway. Look, you can buy everything so much cheaper at WalMart now! Why fix things when you can buy another for less? My job is just fine. Everything is just fine. Look how our areas and communities are growing and prospering! Look how many people are buying houses here! Don't worry, we'll have plenty of money for roads and schools from the taxes! You don't know what you are talking about, siddown and hush and stop aggravating us. Everything is FINE.

Ghost towns of subdivisions. People losing their homes. Losing their jobs. Living hand to mouth and pretending for the sake of pride that they are home-cooking to be more centered on the family, not because they can't afford to go out and eat. Like the administration and the media, no one wants to admit the truth - because to admit it is to make it real. But Everything is Fine.

Service jobs that went away when no one that could afford the services. Infrastructure getting more and more expensive, while empty houses sit, collecting no tax revenues, liabilities to the community, the remaining taxpayers. Food prices going up - have you noticed the meat at the meat counters lately? That is an indicator of the economy. Are there weirdly brown sections in your burger? Are they starting to sell meat that doesn't look "right"? What's that odd green spot on that steak, and why is it more than $3.00 a pound? Sugar, flour, rice - all the staples inching up in price, week by week. And the "global economy" that everyone touted is bringing in more and more questionable food and medicines from countries no one cared about 10 years ago... countries that don't have rules, countries that historically have never cared about their populace or what they ingested. But Everything is Fine.

To save us all, the government is borrowing money desperately, not just from children who haven't even been born yet in this country, but from other countries. China held our debt but has since sold it to Japan. We are swapping our money on a new world order now; the same tired dollars that have no value, trading them for nothing, basing them on nothing, pretending that a dollar is still worth a dollar even though it can't buy as much as it did last week, last month, last year. But everything is Fine.

The unemployed sit on their backsides because if they accept one of those paltry service jobs, they'll make less and spend more than they would sitting at home collecting a government check. It's everyone else's fault, and everyone else's problem. No need to take personal responsibility for one's votes and choices. Because unemployment isn't the employers' problem any more, it isn't even the States' problem - it like most everything else has been taken over by the Federal Government. That's OK, though - the Feds print their money, they have plenty to spare. Most don't know and don't care where their checks come from - as long as they show up in their mailboxes every week. Everything is Fine.

When folks grouse to me about how expensive everything is, how their jobs are in danger or gone or going, I just shake my head. Stagflation, deflation, inflation; they are all just weird egghead words to them, that mean nothing. The Great Depression was a bad historical period in the nation's history, but the teachers and the books all say that could never, will never, happen again, like Noah's Great Flood. We've been promised. We'll be fine. We'll tough this out like we always have. Sure, things are kinda rough right now, but we'll be Fine. Got a lil garden growing in the back yard. Got a couple of things I can sell to tide me over. Got a 401K that is tanking, but it'll rebound soon. I'm fine. Everything will be Fine.

Why do you think I was so adamant that developers pay up front to provide infrastructure for people who hadn't even moved there yet?

You can't expose the Emperor or his nakedness to the people who refuse to see. When - if - they finally, irrefutably, have no choice but to see, they will panic. They will point fingers and blame. They will feel justified in demanding their entitlements - everything from the spoiled and rotten food still in the grocery stores, to their checks, to their lifestyles and their lives.

When Darwin finally is proven right once again, those who have never had to, learned to, or tried to survive will be swept like the lemmings that they are to the sea. It will be a sea of violence, of self-serving humanity, swamping themselves and each other in violence, selfishness, depredation, and rage fueled by desperation. There won't be polite hoboes wandering from town to town, knocking on doors, asking for work. That is what the politicians and Bernanke won't tell you, as they wait for November and the January swear-ins, hoping to be able to stave off the ultimate, to place the blame on someone, anyone, else. To say it is to make it real. And it isn't time to make it real - yet. Those who want to blame Obama or the Tea Parties or Fox News or the New Black Panthers or whatever or whomever will end up just as hungry, just as poor, just as third-world-country broke. Have you got at least two years of food stored away? - because you can bet that your nouveau-hero Glenn Beck does.

You see, this has been coming for 74 years, through every administration, through every Presidency, through every Sturm und Drang of every political and social fight. And everyone sat through it all, watched it without knowing what they were watching, denying the trends, arguing about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin instead of what really mattered. Most watched agape at the magicians' right hand tossing sparkly lights, ignoring that his left hand was delving into their pockets, laughing in glorious surprise when the magician produced the victim's empty wallet in front of him! What a neat trick! Do it again!

Yup, everything is FINE.