Nov 11

I am the 99%

Its true, I am not in the richest 1% of Americans so I am officially part of the 99%! No shit right? In fact, I highly doubt that I have ever been in the presence of a member of the illusive 1%. So theoretically the Occupy Wall Street groups are speaking for me. The are making demands on my behalf – which is nice because I need to be at work.

What are the Occupiers demanding for me anyway? Are they going to negotiate a cash payment from the 1% to the 99%? I would like some cash. Are they going to force the government to give me a full retirement at 50? I would like to retire early. Maybe they will actually manage to forgive my mortal sin of amassing school loans to pay for my education. Get in line for free stuff!

(David Shankbone, Creative Commons)

The actual list of demands is very difficult to come by and even more difficult to discern. It seems that most demands center around the usual suspects: stop foreclosures, pay off everyone’s student loans, throw bankers in jail and reform campaign contribution rules. The demands seem to vary from city to city and read more like a wish list than a well thought out strategic campaign with a specific and attainable end game.

It seems to me that these Occupiers are nothing more than pissed off citizens that are fed up with the direction the country has been moving and wishes to express their right to free speech to voice those sentiments. I am pissed off too.  I have school loans that I decided to take out and agreed to pay. I have a job, but know many friends and family members that cannot find one. We are fighting multiple wars that we cannot afford for reasons we can’t even imagine. We are an out of control bus and just want someone to stand up and take the wheel.

The hard truth is – no one is going to save us except ourselves. We have to take the wheel ourselves. We need to overcome whatever the particular hardships we are facing as individuals and elect only responsible people to represent us.  These Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are nothing more but excrcises in futility, but if these protests make these 99% feel like they are taking the wheel then good for them. I would rather work as much as possible to pay off my own school loans and move on. I may be officially in the 99% according to the definition, but please don’t speak for me Occupiers. I have my own voice.


Jul 11

The Debt Ceiling and Gridlock in DC

The gridlock in Washington, DC right now is not just on the beltway. It seems so simple right? Just set a new debt ceiling and the country will get back to stagnating between disaster and mediocrity. The reason for the drama being played is the exact same reason why DC can’t seem to get anything done and the exact same reason that we live in the best country in the world.

Capitol Hill. Photo by Wally Gobetz via flickr.com. Creative Commons License.

The forefathers that designed our system of government created so no one group could take control and lead the country in a direction that the citizens did not approve of. These complex checks and balances are currently being exposed for what they are; a way to force critical examination and debate of important issues. The system also can slow the decision-making process to a glacial pace.

A problem arises in times like these. When time is of the essense and the entire globe waits with baited breath to see if the economic sun will rise the next day. The government, doing exactly what it was designed to do, can actually bring an ecomonic apocolypse through inaction instead of action.  A scary thought to say the least.

I often wonder what the Founding Fathers would think of their creation after 200+ years. I hope they are proud. The United States is the best country with the most just goverment in the universe. I wrote an article about how great our country is called Is America Down and Out? Their creation is little changed in its core. I wonder if they would be shocked to see how large their little Federal Government has grown almost exclusively through loop holes and add-ons to legislation which created the vast assembly of agencies and departments.

I wonder if they would be embarrassed by the amount of debt their little Federal Government has borrowed. I would assume that they could not even comprehend the complexities of our financial system. These were people that took great pride in paying off their debts. In fact, I would assume that they never owed too much to anyone. They only bought what they could afford to buy. I think the Founding Fathers would spend hours scratching their heads as they attempted to figure out what the little Federal Government need to buy. In their time, the States were the most important governments and the Federal Government was set up to unify the States, to enforce property rights and a few other very specific purposes.

As the world waits to hear its fate, there are few certainties. We are frustrated with the partisan bickering coming out of Washington. Maybe our frustration is even moving towards anger at this point. I can tell you that your anger is not being directed in the right place. Just as you cannot fault a wild animal for attacking a hiker in the forest, you cannot be angry at the current US Government for arguing and banging heads with little or nothing to show for their efforts. This is exactly what Congress was formed to do. Instead, your anger should be directed at the polititians of the past who chose to borrow and chose results NOW, to pad their pockets and their legacies. Default or no default. This should serve as a wake-up call for every American. Borrowing now and leaving the next generation to figure it out isn’t the responsible action and has to stop. We should know because we ARE the next generation.