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By Dorothy Anne Seese
T'is a sad fact of life that adults want to believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, that they all could be Bill Gates given just one good idea, and that the affluent life brings happiness.
All of the above is myth, not reality, and unfortunately, we live in a real world. Even superstars find that while not having any money is tough tomatoes, too much money leaves a hollow sensation of "is that all there is?" Thus they seek some mind bending drugs to try and find out where "it" is ... the fulfillment that has escaped most of the inhabited earth now. Oddly enough, it seems most rampant in affluent America, where the people of the 1950's were seeking "quality of life" and college students believed it took work, not luck, to achieve their goals in life.
Then came the unbelievable space-race 60's with the exponential increase in job titles and the word "computer" became fairly well known through the television tube and media news. We po' folks never dreamed of things like the desktop computer on which this is being typed, that was surreal, stuff for Star Trek or other sci-fi. Salaries shot up along with new job titles. We were working in a world where my own mother had no idea what I did at work, she only knew they called me a "systems and procedures analyst" and I got paid fairly well (for a woman).
Everyone wanted to be an engineer, and everyone wanted one of them newfangled things called a "credit card." The price of an average three-bedroom house soared from $12,000 to upwards of $16,000 and air conditioning (one of life's essentials in the Arizona desert) became available for residential customers for about a thousand dollars or a bit more. Life was good, prices weren't off the wall (yet) and prosperity had shined its face on the US of A big time ... what would we do with it all?
Then came 1972 and the big question was, "where did it all go?" Our dreams were squished under a recessive economy and I lost my fifteen-year profession as a systems and procedures analyst to the programmers who came steamrollering in with their fancy Joe Coder gobbledygook. Without the systems analysts thinking things though first, out came a bunch of errors like ten thousand dollar water bills to household users who customarily paid around twenty bucks a month. Ooops. But the programmers finally learned how to investigate the flow of business information as well as how to speak to computers. But still, we had a surplus of engineers and other industrial professionals looking for jobs in an economic downcycle. By the late 70's prices began a climb from which they have yet to recover absent a full depression and economic crash.
In 1973 I bought the last house I would ever purchase, a two bedroom home in Glendale, Arizona, smallest model in the subdivision, for $18,990. And I lived there for 25 years. (I now live in a studio condo in Sun City, about 14 miles from my former house in Glendale.)
We kind of "made it through" the 80's with prices climbing and salaries also, but essentially we were going nowhere. Yes, the Berlin wall marked the end of the Cold War era, we saw Ronald Reagan in and out of the White House and the insipid presidency of the Bush-man (whose economic policy seemed to be "let them eat cake") carry us into the early 90's.
"It's the economy, stupid" was the watchword of the Clinton election in 1992. Our economy was not only stagnant, it was breeding mold and fungus. American companies began scattering to various foreign nations like rats leaving a sinking ship. Then along came the computer revolution, an age of gadgetry of which we have yet to see any foreseeable end, although we've certainly seen the end of a lot of dotcoms with high hopes and low cash flow. This Mardi Gras/ Fat Tuesday economic boom of the 90's began to wind down as the time for another economic "Lent" began in American history, a rather stringent Lent at that. It has not been a matter of choice as to what Americans gave up, but a matter of economic necessity and in many cases, downright hardship. We were choking on the leftover beads of a drunken spree on Wall Street, gagging on cooked books by accounting chefs and vomiting from the poisons created by malfeasance in office by persons in high places (while others enriched themselves with impugnity as others took the rap).
Unemployment highs in Europe are normal, in the USA they are not. The cycles of a truly free market would not impact us so drastically if certain corporate/industrial complex folks weren't raping American workers and crushing the American middle class by economic meanderings that would embarrass the Mississippi Delta. Perhaps the late 90's Clintoon scandals were only distractions for the tabloid-minded public to keep their minds off the problems that brought Bubba into office: "It's the economy, stupid." Indeed, the economy was sagging, but Bill Clinton left office dramatically reciting his accomplishments in a manner worthy of Al Gore's boasting that he invented the internet. Lies, damned lies.
No, it's the stupid economy, twit. It isn't really a free market. I don't claim to be an economist any more than I claim to be a brain surgeon. I'll repeat it again: "I am an observer of times, trends and events." But I have sense enough to know that American industries cannot keep jumping ship and using the two-dollar a day workers overseas to produce what used to be produced in America, and expect the American economy to grow. I know enough from just watching the world for six decades that the usual way to pull America out of depression since the waning days of the one into which I was born, the Great Depression (which ended in 1942 with the war production plants) is to get into war. No more. War only gets us into debt for generations to come. With a waning middle class and a burgeoning government-dependent class, along with a growing affluent class of overpaid executives and highly overrated and overpaid so-called "rock" stars (whose product could be omitted with great benefit to the eardrums of all) we're on the road to The Socialist State, one which will forever stamp out the notion of the people being the backbone of America. It will be the Globalist Elite, very shortly, without economic recovery. The elitists do not need a recovery, they have their wealth stashed where it is not affected by the ups and downs that hurt the rest of us.
Mr. Karl Rove, the presidential brain of America and a man whose name is little known, is now working on Election 2004. He has to somehow find a way for Bush II to win after a questionable "war" has ended and a sagging economy is called "wobbly" by some so-called expert economists. A more truthful report than most stated that in addition to America's 6% unemployment, there are those omitted from that figure that really tell the tale: the underemployed (supersize that with fries?), the part-time employees, those who have dropped out of the unemployment rolls without a job, and those who have just plain old given up hope, sold the house and gone back somewhere to try and eke out a living. Too bad that "agribusiness" and the ecology whackos destroyed the family farm, even dictating the kind of seeds they could plant, how much water they will be allotted, and whether or not they can keep firearms to kill bears and other varmints coming to get them. Oh yes, few people use the longbow to kill deer, most use rifles. So the anti-gun lobby has hurt the farmer, the hunter, the woodsman and those who would protect their families. All hunting is not done by rural people, many from the cities go hunting. Deer meat is a staple is some areas, or was.
Summary? The number of unemployed/underemployed Americans is estimated at 12 to 14% of our total workforce. That is, plainly speaking, a damnable depression.
Mr. Rove is going to have to talk fast and hard to get people to believe that we're in any kind of recovery that will place people back where they were during the 1990's, and he's going to have to babble his doublespeak faster to avoid answering why our recent war efforts and enormous debt is good for America, how it avoided increased terrorism when the Prez left the borders wide open, and why the President issued an executive order sequestering presidential records in contravention of a law passed by Congress. It's time the American people started asking Mr. Rove to answer these questions.
Forget about asking George W. Bush, who sits in the Oval Office ... it's Mr. Rove who is directing the action from the other room ... the one the press never shows. That's the reason most of you have no idea who Karl Rove is, or how much power he has wielded. But he may have a problem in 2004 because he might not yet have learned his lesson from 1992: Americans vote their pocketbooks.
The economy is stupid because it's controlled by people we do not elect, by large money pools we cannot see, by a psychology of bulls and bears that is totally invisible, and one real element: how many Americans are working for a salary on which they can live? How many American corporations have left American soil with the blessing of our government, no penalties?
It's time the American public realized that the stupid economy is a manipulated economy, not a truly free market. And it's time for Americans who hate these cheap imports to boycott their purveyors like Wal-Mart and start buying less, but better. It's time for Americans to show some ingenuity and start competing in small businesses with the giants because if they do build a better widget (or mousetrap) then people will buy it.
Personally, I'm tired of junk. "Made in America" used to mean top quality, but it doesn't any longer. If we get back to the work ethic of the east Indian or Asians, and best them, we just might be able to produce some more "Bill Gates" types. The least we can do is return the American consumer to buying "made in USA" labels and receive quality like no other nation produces.
The government never listens to individuals, and especially writers. They listen to the money, and they listen to angry masses. No one in politics wants to be defeated, and angry masses scare the spit out of them. It takes a whole lot of angry Americans to influence a massive government and an elitist leadership but ... it could be done.
Now .. which party wants to proclaim "It's the stupid economy, and we're going to fix it."
About the Author
Dorothy Anne Seese is a freelance political writer for Patch Work papers and a regular contributor for The Federal Observer. Miss Seese is retired after 25 years as a legal secretary/assistant and, prior to that, over 15 years as a business systems and procedures analyst. Her hobby is freelance writing. A native of Southern California, Dorothy A. Seese resides in Sun City, Arizona. She has spent most of the past 40 years living in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and considers Arizona her home state. We invite you to visit her website at Flagship.