So this is what it’s come to

As a working citizen of these United States, I am struggling with this notion of personal responsibility.

Many leaders, most notably our President, speak publicly about the idea that everyone is duty-bound to “do their fair share.” This is certainly true.

How do we construct a society in which everybody can be incentivized to “pull their own weight?”

Almost everybody seems to be running out of money. The government is gone hog-wild with uncontrollable spending. Its as if we’ve got a monster perpetual motion societal machine that grinds up resources and assets and then extrudes them as public benefits–“benefits” if you’re poor, “profits” if you’re rich.

Some people game the system and do really well at it; they come out smelling like a rose, and richer. The liberals call these “the rich,” or the “1%.” The Dems and the Occupyers  want to up the ante on these opulent types by raising their tax rates, so that there is more for the rest of us. I’m not so sure the system actually works that way. Once assets get ground-up in that perpetual motion spending machine, maybe they’re lost forever. Maybe they come out in a black hole somewhere out in space beyond the demoted Pluto.

Other Americans, on the low-income end, barely get by. They wander around looking for employment, and get public assistance–welfare, subsidies, disability, and whatnot. But there seems to be a dropping point, a precipice, at the end of a slippery slope of public assistance. If po’ folks have been on the dole long enough they forget (or do they?) how to really look for work. Do they forget how to think like a person who needs a job and must go out and just dam-well find one? Like, the next-one-that-comes along! What if it IS McD’s? What if they DO have a diploma that is irrelevant to our present situation? Do they, instead of taking that minimum-wage insult, then choose to ease on into the public fix? Will they drift into our 12-step welfare enablements until they have at last lapsed into a prison of their own making?–a hazy cubicle smoked-up with cigarettes, beer, narcotizing tv, maybe little pops of legally-acquired or not-so-legally-obtained pills? These are the ones that the Repubs and the Tea Partiers want to cut off, because they are not pulling their weight.

In my helpless opinion, we’ve got dead weight on both ends–the rich skaters and the poor slackers–and there’s very little we can do about it. The Dems and the President cannot fix it; the The Repubs and Romney cannot fix it, although they claim that they can. Ha! We’ll see about that round about this time 2013. Furthermore, Congressional supercommittees, God help ’em, have passed the buck as business as usual.

I certainly don’t know what to do about it, so I guess I’ll just go to work this Monday morning–thankful that I have a job– and hope for the best, and pray: May God help us work this dam mess out in some kind of way that every citizen will somehow find cause to  somehow “do their fair share.”

So you see I’m praying for a miracle here. But I have faith in God.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress


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3 Responses to “So this is what it’s come to”

  1. reverendbuki Says:

    Yes, being caught between two parties does leave one feeling helpless at times.
    But are we really helpless? There’ve been a few stands lately, and there’s movement that is as yet without much direction, but the Monster of Corporate Greed is tough to move.
    I think a lot of us are just discovering we’re not as helpless as we’ve been taught.
    I, too, am off to work. And I’m proud to say it is unionized, fair, decent work. I’ve struck many times to make it that way when it was absolutely necessary to do so. There’s a way to avoid helplessness right there. Unionize. The miracle is us.

  2. careyrowland Says:

    Thank you, rev, for pulling your weight by going “off to work.”
    As for the Union thing, I commend you for your organization with others of like mind. In my sixty-years, including about 45 years of working, I have never been a union member. That includes 25 years as a carpenter in North Carolina, a right-to-work state.
    There have been periods of our national history in which unions, and the labor movement generally, have contributed to the progress of American prosperity, productivity, and business.
    These days, I respectfully suggest that unionized workers re-evaluate their strategies and responsibilities in our present workplace of scarce employment and diminishing abundance.
    What workers need these days is continual training and education to equip us, and our children, with skills that are valuable in 21st-century employment. This is much more important than old-style contracts that hinge on unsustainable provision of high wages.
    Thanks for reading my rant and then commenting on it. Have a happy, productive Monday!

  3. outdeep Says:

    The thing I find funny is when people talk about the evils of “Corporate Greed”, they are really saying “greed that is not my greed” or “greed that I wouldn’t have if I was in that position because I am above all that”. The truth is that the reason both sides of the economic equation is difficult to move is because greed is pervasive throughout the human condition. The leaders of Communist Russia were just as greedy as the executives of Bank of America. The greed of big business is just as strong as the greed of big government programs. The greed of management equals the greed of the union. No one wants to give up what they have gotten. The trick is how to channel that greed so that it will be used for innovation (making manufacturing efficient, saving endangered species, funneling information, lowering the price of the automobile and solar panels, being a hard worker) yet at the same time having enough restraint so that anyone willing to work will have a shot and the lowest workers are not reduced to slaves. This is not a new problem, of course. I think the difference today than in other periods of America is that people may have been more aware of greed as a human condition as opposed to seeing greed as the thing “the other guy has”.

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