by Mary Pitt
With an economy that is sadly in the tank, a stock market that cannot get its feet back under it, with record and growing unemployment, and with working class and poor people suffering with too little income and too many expenses, the economists and politicians are quarreling over what will be required to heal the ills of our nation.
One “stimulus” has been tried but it was too little and too limited. Since it went only to the very poor, it immediately disappeared by being used to pay bills that were already in existence rather than on consumer spending. When the massive funds were doled out to the major banks, it did not make a ripple in the marketplace as the companies tucked the money into their reserve funds rather than releasing it into new lending.
After eight years of seeing a government that was more intent on its own pet projects than on the welfare of the people; of begging a recalcitrant Congress to do something to stop the openly discussed war of choice without authorization and then the suspension all our civil rights; of viewing reports of the horrible torture which was inflicted on enemy prisoners; of seeing our beloved Constitution, the rules of law set down by our Founding Fathers, the one thing that is lacking sounds relatively simple. It, like the other things that are proposed to remedy out malaise, cannot be accomplished quickly but will take a long time.
The one thing that has been destroyed by the foolhardy folks who have been running our lives is the faith that Americans used to have. Faith that candidates would at long last keep their promises. faith that they really care how painfully hard the national serfs must work and how their concerns about personal security weigh upon their minds. With those of us who are living on very restricted incomes it appears that we are the foreigners in their midst. We are not seen because nobody looks at us and, should they do so, nobody cares. There is absolutely no comprehension that there are actually people who must wear heavy clothing all winter because they can’t afford to turn up the heat. They may know intellectually that the old and the handicapped still must choose between their medication and their food, despite all the programs that have been instituted but it does not reach their personal consciousness.
When one becomes ill, the response is, “Gosh, no problem. You have Medicare, don’t you?” They do not realize that checking into the hospital for day or two can leave one with over $1,000 to be paid upon release. They call that a “co-payment” and that is only after a “deductible” has been paid, but it is a month’s Social Security income. Each year the gross Social Security check is “fattened” by a few dollars. However, fewer dollars reach the eligible person but most are gobbled up by increases in the premiums for Parts B and D. One who is dependent upon Social Security must develop an attitude of acceptance of the fact that their life is never going to get any better.
Those who find themselves unemployed must similarly resign themselves to acceptance that they will likely never get another job as good as the one that went to China, or Mexico, or Indonesia. It doesn’t matter where it went. It’s gone and it’s not coming back. The President has been touting “entrepeneurship” over the years and encouraging us to go into our own businesses but only those with a good deal of money can afford to begin a new business. The gurus tell us that this should be done only if you have enough money to support your family for at least a year to give the business time to grow successfully. How many working people are able to save that amount of money when they have had to spend it to pay for their over-priced high-interest housing and the ever-increasing appetites of their growing family?
Everything that Barack Obama does and says and every one of his choices for Cabinet positions are scrutinized for authenticity and each choice is Googled and examined for indications of what we may expect from them. The organizations of which they are members are discussed at length along with the reputations of others who may be members. E-mails and blogs are full of charges and counter-charges until it is a case of Gloomy Gus vs. Hopeful Hannah. The debate is as heated as any that went on during the campaign for election.
For, you see, the “lower-class” American people have been betrayed and lied to, promised consideration only to have those promises reneged after election to the chosen post. mis-treated and abused. We have sat powerlessly by while our children were sent to a totally unnecessary war to kill the children of other parents. Our national wealth and our entire lifesyle have been sacrificed on the altar of “The War President” and our national reputation has been destroyed. One of the current jokes that you may hear on the streets is that our economy is so bad that the Mexicans are going home because they can’t make a living here.
Yes, Americans have lost faith. We no longer have faith in the dreams of our fathers; no faith in the promise of equality; and no faith that our government truly represents the people. No matter how much money is spent or how much effort is exerted by our leaders in Washington, the American people will be using any “stimulus” to pay our old bills and, maybe, stuff a few dollars on the old mattress in case things get worse. There will be no large binge spending, no purchasing of high-dollar homes, and no new cars until we are convinced that our leaders in Washington can be believed when they tell us that they represent us, understand our problems, and will do something constructive about it.
This is the largest task the Obama administration faces and we do wish him the best of luck. We want to believe, we want to trust our leaders, and we really want to believe once again in The American Dream.
The author is a very “with-it” old lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and common sense to a nation that has lost touch with its humanity in the search for “societal perfection”.