Sunday, March 6, 2011

Farting at the Prom

I am 57 years old.

Now, if I were a good do-bee, I would be dutifully deposit all excess money in a 401K for my impending retirement.  Then I wouldn't be a burden and I would be able to go somewhere and die without bothering anyone.

But what would happen to me if I did such a mad thing?   Would it provide for my golden years in a society where I would be taken care of?   Would doing so help my children grow to be good men?  Would I even see the money after I put it into the hands of a corrupt and venial system?

(Manufacturing Employment, Millions of jobs)
When you read serious analysis of what has been happening in our country during the lifetime where me and my generation were on watch, what you see is a systematic looting of the country.  Manufacturing has been gutted, replaced by selling Chinese crap and firms specializing in financial wheel-of-fortune.

So now we are sitting in a country where all the jobs that manufacture something that people use have been moved elsewhere.  The jobs that remain are increasingly in the fields where paying your employees a middle class wage is not possible.  In 1960, there were around 152 million folks here.Now there are around 307 million.  With this doubling of population, there are the same number of productive jobs as when I was born.  I can't imagine that this is a good thing for the folks that don't have the jobs or the folks who are depending on them to pay out on the nationwide lottery/ponzi scheme that is referred to as the retirement system.

Social security has always been a ponzi.  Now, when a country in growth does this kind of thing, it is usually buying the votes to keep in in power.  The big retirements laid out to state and local government workers and workers for the big corporations are the same thing.  Promises made that, if kept, will keep the money from flowing into the bankers pockets.  We all know how that will work out.

Over and over again, it comes down to the same problems.  Fewer productive workers, more support and service workers.  An unstable energy supply.  All workers demanding a better lifestyle than is possible.  A huge and parasitic financial sector creaming off excessive vig.  A Calvinist-Mussolini flavored upper 10% of the population with no desire whatsoever to part with their 71% of the wealth.

None of the problems are going to go away.  No amount of "Yankee know-how" and/or technological gimcracks will paper over the problems.  What it is going to take is a extraordinary amount of belt tightening by the general populace coupled with placing up a goodly portion of the of the top 1% into prisons where their favors will be traded for packs of cigarettes.

I am quoting Jesse here
Both austerity and stimulus will falter in the mire of imbalanced, broken systems and corruption. The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustained recovery. 
But the kicker here is that the recovery will not be what we wish.  It will take years and it will return us to an America where everyone will have to do with less.   This isn't the end of happiness, it is just the end of our country's adolescence.  A mature society will be what we will strive for.

I will work until I die.  I hope that I will be able to cut back on hours.  I will probably have to change my lifestyle.  I will be a part of the society, I won't be an unwanted trinket on a shelf.

I will endure.  


russell1200 said...

I think the complete statement is something like: I will work until I die, or am layed off.

-Since we all know how badly employers want to higher the over 50 crowd.

Muddome said...

If more people could snap out of the trance and see things the way you do, there MIGHT be hope.

russell1200 said...

I thought I had commented on this one. I guess I got confused.

Add to the population increase the increased percentage of women in the work force, and the fact that they generally are now getting more education then the men within their cohort and you can see where the previously well off blue collar working has very much his work cut out for himself going forward.

I am ambivalent about savings. It is about the only way you are going to keep from being a complete slave from what will have to be a very inadequate social security. But it is very hard to see the numbers working. We have deflation now (on assets, not oil) and very low interest rates, but at some point I suspect that that will reverse.