Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Shit Gold Turds

I was reading a commentary earlier today by someone whose opinion I don’t usually trust, let alone give the time of day, but he said something that struck a chord with me and my recent thoughts on the current financial crisis in America:

“Political parties that put their own success over that of the country's will be the death of America.”

It’s true. The only reason the majority of the House voted AGAINST the financial bail out earlier this week is because each vote represented a person who wanted to be reelected. They wanted to go along with the voices of their constituents to essentially save their own asses. After that vote, Washington came away feeling like they had done the right thing… Until the actual ramifications of not providing the bail out were presented succinctly (which no one had actually done before this point) to TV and radio audiences in the day following the vote. After being spoon-fed the ramifications by the media, the constituents called up their senators and told them to vote FOR it (and minutely slight modifications were made). And so the majority of them voted for it, and it passed the Senate. These people also voted for the exact same reason: to save their asses.

It’s funny how this cycle is playing out and no one seems to be able to see that the motivations behind Washington and Wall Street are the same: they each wanted to save their asses. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place.

I guess it all started with that stupid statement that “America is the best nation in the world.” I heard someone say that two days ago, and he might as well have said “I shit gold turds.” Just because you say it doesn’t mean it’s true.

It’s all about money. It’s always been all about money. Some people have it and some people don’t – there’s only so much of it to go around and we can’t all have everything – mathematically, it just doesn’t work. We were doing well, much like China is now, when we consumed the majority of what we were producing and exported that to other consumers. In my mind, that was America’s peak – it’s REAL peak – not one determined by a country now living off so much credit that the world could likely literally end before we can pay it off. But, we got greedy, and the benchmark for being the “Best Nation in the World” stopped being about actually being the best, which encompasses many variables and that little thing called foresight, and the new benchmark became “how much more money can you get for us right now?”

Instead of thinking about how to be the “Best Nation in the World”, we only thought about ourselves and how we, personally, would be impacted if we failed to produce more money in the following fiscal quarter. We started only thinking 3 months ahead. We made the decisions we did, not for the greater good or for success overall, but so we each saved our own ass, 3 months at a time.

In recent decades we stopped making plans to make more money and instead focused on making cuts to make more money (you can only find what’s there for you to find). We saw a drastic reduction of US exports and a drastic increase in foreign imports (to save a few bucks on the bottom line, of course). We could buy our necessities from 3rd world countries for less than it cost us to produce them ourselves, so we laid people off. Then, when all we had left were white collar workers, we shipped their jobs offshore, again, to help with those next quarter profits. Eventually, we ran out of cards to play, and before we knew it (I think some people still don’t know it) we had no more collateral. We’ve been knowingly handing over our money to others, and now we wonder why there is no more money in America.

Everything on the news is “fat cat this”, “fat cat that” – I wonder if the fat cats knew they were setting up their own demise, like junkies just trying to chase that next fix. Sure, you made some money for your company, for yourself, to save your ass, but in the process you were unknowingly planning your own demise. See, when you’re like me, when you don’t even have $100K in the bank, you have very little to lose. Me? I’ll be fine. Sure, it’s going to suck, but not as bad as it’s going to suck for you, fat fuckers. It’s actually quite amusing watching you hang yourselves, but back to the ass-saving contagiousness.

The way I see it, America’s going to fall, our economy is going to collapse – it’s just a question of how soon. Sure, pass the bail-out. The fall will be prolonged another year, when an equal-costing bail-out will be needed for the corporate giants that are on the verge of needing it, but don’t need it quite yet. Conversely, we can rip off the Band-Aid now. We can allow the inevitable fall to happen and get a jump start on the rebuilding phase. I guess my biggest argument for ripping off the Band-Aid now is that our “solution”, our bail-out, is to put the fate of those we bail out in the hands of our politicians. You know the ones – we were talking about them earlier – the ones who make decisions based on saving their asses. Funny, that didn’t work for the corporate fat cats. How can anyone trust the government to act any differently than the former CEOs? Hell, the government’s decision to bail-out or not to bail-out is based on each politician saving his or her own ass! Dare I say the government is even LESS trustworthy than the fat cats? Well, we already knew that, now didn’t we.

It’s a good time for a revolution.

Fuck the politicians, fuck the fat cats, fuck anyone who’s not interested saving everyone’s ass over his own ass. Let’s stop passing over turns at the Jenga table and let one or the other pull out that one supporting piece that’s giving us the illusion that the structure is still stable or salvageable. Then we imprison the players, the politicians and the CEOs, because they’ve stolen what little money the rest of us had, and we start over.

For once, we don’t think about ourselves and we sacrifice the rest of our lives to build a foundation that will begin to support the coming generations. There’s no other way, because if we don’t, well, then we’re just as bad as them, if not worse, because we’ll have watched corporations and politicians do the exact same thing and not have learned a fucking thing. If that’s the case, then perhaps we don’t deserve to survive. I suppose maybe then you can stop telling me that we’re the fittest – the “Best Nation in the World”.

I shit gold turds.

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