Category Archives: economy

Worth a Hill of Beans

For about four or five minutes now the teacher spoke of lofty ideals and grand humanitarian goals.

World peace. End to war and hunger. Equality and fairness. Trust one another. Diversity appreciation. Stop prejudice. A fair legal system.

Then he suddenly stopped and looked at the whole class. He said, “Let’s not fool ourselves, in the end all we really care about is our next can of beans.”

It was an abrupt turnabout. Pragmatism wins over platitudes.

My cousin graduated from high school and expected to get a good-paying job at an auto factory, the same way that his father and grandfather did. By the time he was looking for work, those jobs were gone. He meandered around doing odd jobs that never panned out to full-time careers. He ended up getting killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a drug deal in Detroit.

The economy is global, no longer can autoworkers in Detroit say buy only American-made cars. If your neighbor works for a Nissan plant, why shouldn’t he buy a car from the company that pays him a living wage? A low-skill, high paying manufacturing job is nearly extinct, so grab what you can.

America was on top for too long. Now it is time for her to suffer. Most of the world root for our suffering and demise. Americans must get used to a lower standard of living. The politicians should stop spouting lies. More jobs may never come. The global economy levels off the playing field and those on top will slide ever farther down.

So much for the average worker. Don’t forget to fleece the rich bastards. The Wall Street bankers, CEOs, sports figures, and those in the entertainment industry for starters.

Though I do admire the skills of Alan Mulally and how he managed Ford and other businesses so well that jobs were preserved and the companies prospered. Kim Kardashian makes money off her big butt. I’m sick of people admiring her more than effective leaders in the business world that are only demonized.

But I forget, capitalism is evil.

Now how to take away the money from the very rich around the world? Any ideas? Put a cap on all income? Raid bank accounts? Open up mansions to house the people? Oprah tell us what to do. You can start with throwing your cans of beans into the pile.

 

 

 

 

Obama: A True Story

Five years ago, my husband’s cousin in Florida and his wife were huge supporters of Obama. My husband feared that Obama was all style and no substance. He was magnetic and electable, and maybe that is all that matters.

Just last month when we visited the cousin, his tune changed dramatically. His son must purchase his own health insurance since his employer does not offer it. He needs insurance for himself and his family and the Affordable Care Act is way too costly for him to purchase. So his wife is keeping her job at a drugstore in order to purchase the store’s insurance for the family. After daycare and insurance costs, she makes very little per week, but it is a far cheaper route than the ACA. The cousin had hoped that a President Obama would make life better for his children. Instead he said he is unhappy with this bleak future he sees for them.

The ACA may be wildly successful as the administration claims, but this is one real instance that it has disappointed.

The cousin has not changed his politics. Now he is interested in Elizabeth (just look at her, you can tell she’s Native American) Warren. His ethnic observation, not mine. Now he is hoping for guaranteed pensions for all employees provided by every business. New disappointments on the horizon?

 

 

 

DIA on the Brink: Does Man Live by Bread Alone?

Detroit is living a real life ethical dilemma these days. If a city is burning, do we pull out the old woman or do we rescue that portrait of Van Gogh?

Detroit went into bankruptcy last week. The emergency manager in Detroit, appointed by the State of Michigan, has been eyeing the vast and valuable art collection held by the Detroit Institute of Arts. The city owns this museum and its assets are potentially up for grabs as creditors and city pensioners alike look for some good money coming out of a bad situation.

Union contracts can be rewritten. Creditors may get pennies on the dollar for their investments. The retirees may find their pensions slashed. Money is needed for turning the streetlights back on that have been dark too long; money is needed for the razing of thousands of blighted buildings; money is needed for police, fire, and EMS services that seldom serve city residents in a timely manner. The city population keeps dropping and the tax base can’t support the over $17 billion debt.

The DIA has one of the best art collections in America, and both tourists and residents would feel the pain if it was dismantled.

But real people may get hurt while the art still hangs on the wall.

A letter writer to the editor of a Detroit newspaper said that if he had to make a choice between gutting retiree benefits or selling city assets, he would be saying,  “What is the opening bid for this beautiful Van Gogh?”

This is hard for me since I find the DIA to be vital and relevant. I need art and bread, and I believe (perhaps naively) that art can uplift everyone in society. Detroit without its great museums, would be even sadder.

So what’s it gonna be? Should the Degas and Matisse survive? Or does the old woman have any need for a stinking painting?