Tuesday, March 4, 2008

There, There

I've never been a fan of political pandering, and I'm even less so if I feel that I'm in the target audience. Perhaps it's because I'm old cynic, but pandering has always felt false, and I like to think of myself as someone who can deal with the situation as it really is. I may not always deal with it well, but if that's the case, I could use the practice. The current uproars around the "Mortgage Mess" and the loss of the new military air tanker contract to Northup-Grumman EADS have produced huge volumes of people telling us how we've been victimized - by everyone from greedy banks to the United States Air Force.

But it seems unlikely that the constant talk is really going to be translated into real action. While Congressional action might be able to overturn Boeing's contract loss (which, it seems to me, would only tell Boeing that they never really have any competition in contract bids), they're unlikely to come up with a viable bailout for people who got burned in taking out home loans that required home prices continue to rise at about a trillion times wages. So isn't it time that we started preparing to deal with the realities of the situations that we find ourselves in?

Are we really so fragile that we can't be expected to deal with the fact that the economy is taking a downturn? Or, that there are some jobs that we won't have a chance as sharing in? Are these things really such catastrophes?

And in the end, that's what gets me about pandering - the underlying message is all too often - "You can't handle the new reality - you're too weak, or too stupid, or too unwise - and because of that, you're owed a better reality. And it's someone else that owes you that reality." But, you know, it's the ability to deal with hardships that creates strength. And it isn't like we haven't dealt with hardships before. The Great Depression makes the current problems with the housing market and the loss of the occasional military contract seem to minor to attend to. Not that I'd want to go through the Great Depression right now, but I'd like to think that we'd find a way to deal with it. I don't know that being told we can't at every turn is at all helpful.

1 comment:

ben said...

Jesus dude - had an extra bowl of capitalist cheereos? :)

1) Boeing - the only thing dumber then spending all your chips on death and destruction is out sourcing it. And, no, the tiny factory in Alabama doesn't count.

2) Quit, right now, empty your bank account and don't get a job for a year. I've done it, until you have you have no fucking idea how scary a serious depression is to people on the edge. Living on hand outs and picking up cans is kind of fun if you're a sociopath like me - but it's no walk in the park (more like life in the park). And if you think minimum wagers have a year nest egg in savings (or that that is even possible) then you're really out to lunch. Fact is there is no safety net in this country - those people have every right to be terrified.