Monday, September 15, 2008

New Deal or Great Depression?

Which would you rather have? F.D.R. has always been a hero of mine. My mother was a child of The Great Depression. I heard her tales of poverty. And I lived with the neurosis this deep, frightening poverty carved into her psyche. She never threw away anything. She saved tin foil, rubber bands, twist ties, old clothes, plastic bags, and on and on. Occasionally there would be an intervention, but into the sorting for the trash can, she would burst into tears and say, "You don't know what it was like. You didn't live through it." And she was right. I was not old enough to really understand what it was like, but I do remember the rationing after the end of WWII. And in every way those two experiences defined my mother's behavior for the rest of her life. It made her deeply stingy, even with her love. And unless you weren't a student of history, or had a parent or grandparent who lived through both those events tell you about it, you need to read something like this. It's fundamental. And it's not just the economy, stupid.

This is one of the saddest songs I ever heard. Thanks for reminding me, Ghost.

And this is my favorite performance of it.

Holy Crap!!!

It was during the Clinton years that I did well enough to invest in the stock market. Within the first year of the Bush administration I lost 1/3 of my investment. I pulled my remaining money out of the market and put it in savings. Seven years later I have no savings and am struggling month to month to pay the utilities and feed myself. Every year since '06, I've been having to make payments on my property taxes instead of paying them all at once. Insurance for my home and car are automatically deducted from my checking account, but I've been thinking I won't be able to keep paying auto insurance for long. I'm your average older American. I've lived through good times and bad. But I've never seen anything like this. And I'm scared.

Merrill Lynch goes belly up? Lehman Brothers files for chapter 11? And John McCain says, "The fundamentals of the economy are sound?" Holy crap!!! And still the polls say the race is tightening? Holy crap!!!