Hashtag, Winning

photo(11)Budgets seem passed, or to be passed, or about to seem to be passed. The market continues to march upwards, and things move along as we seem to be perhaps making up for the lost time since our markets collapsed back in 2008. Think of all the time we have since lost in the ensuing seven years as we meander along trying to grow our respective piles of money in our zero percent interest savings accounts, sit on our properties as they stagnate, fix them up when they break, when the pipes corrode or the heating system goes wonky, and while the materials and the costs associated keep rising, our value is just sinking in there slowing. These seven years we won’t get back. That time is passed. And yet, there are so many who have continued along as if nothing happened, so many who have made their way without having to face jail time for their crimes, so many businesses that have continued to grow their own piles, and so many seem not to have experienced so many of the issues the majority of the population have had to face these years.
It seems strange to think of these past years going by.

What have we all done with our lives in that time? Some have managed to beat the odds, have worked hard, have stuck on some great idea, but looking at the broader public, perhaps even people you know, they have floundered. Wages have stagnated, jobs seem to have fewer benefits, longer unofficial hours, higher demand for skills yet pay just enough to to pay the student loans or certificate programs or dry cleaning. Most of the economic growth has gone to corporate profits, most of the wage increases has gone to those who were already counted among the top earners in 2008. Is this the class warfare we’re told about?

Seven long years of stagnation for so many of us. What were we all doing back then, in those heady days of economic collapse? Cold Play’s Viva La Vita was playing out of the boom boxes, and we were jamming to Royal Flush, Batman was slinging it at the box office, Kung Foo Panda was taking the hearts of kids everywhere, and we were rocking styles like tee shirts and jeans, and who wasn’t playing Call Of Duty – World At War while totally high or drunk off their ass? It was a simpler time back then. There was only one major shooting, and this was at the Northern University of Illinois. We had a surge in Iraq and while there was a spike in civilians killed outside of Baghdad, they were much lower within the city itself. But the world was coming apart. Madoff… uh… made off with a lot of money, much of it that of foundations supporting non-profits, Spitzer had hooker problems but don’t we all, and GM had a net loss of $16.8 billion which is to say we didn’t want to buy their shit cars and SUVs.

We were so young, so innocent, so full of Hope and Change(tm). Dr. Sir Lord Bush was on the way out, some strange old man + strange bear wife was attempting to see Russia from her house and we fell in love with this kid from Chicago-Cambridge-Honolulu-Jakarta and expected him to sweep away the clouds and save the day. What were we thinking? Were we expecting the good times to keep rolling, did we really want to change the world, end the wars, establish a rule of law over the banks, give the car industry money, transfer our wealth to the 1 percent? I guess we did. I guess we did… not have a choice. It was either Uncle O or Leatherface and Mrs. “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil” or the fresh kid with the cool graphics….

What were we thinking? Its understandable why we fell for him. We had a person who could speak English, he was nice, not a Clinton, not John “I left my wife who had cancer” Edwards, not Tom “I was elected to Iowa Senate in 1992” Vilsack, and he was better than any alternative we had. We had to drink either Coke, or Coke Lite. Both have high amounts of phosphorus, traces of ammonia, cause colon cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and can dissolve tough stains and free up rusty bolts. So it is good, then, to live in a country of choice. And if you don’t vote, you have no choice, so it is certainly important to vote for Coke, or Coke lite, Bush, or Bush lite… Which in this case is actually Bush…. Ah…. Let me not go there.

So here we are seven years later, we have survived the worst of the economic crisis, survived now two elections and seen the sort-of end of the Iraq war, unless you’re following the daily bombing reports, and we ended the Afghan war, unless you are still follow the drone strikes that hit as many children as they do goat herder terrorists. We still have Gitmo, just a thinner Gitmo since they’ve been on and off of hunger strikes for years, seeing how these terrorists have been incarcerated without charges for… a long time. Wearing a bag over their head, when appropriate. Must be fun.
Now we’re all here with the world not broken in two, the Mad Max future not upon us, without a Grizzly Mom as president after Old Man Waterman had a heart attack, not having paper money so valueless we need to take it to the store in wheel barrows in order to buy a family size box of condoms, without having to defend our digin compounds from the Gubberment with our rifles, and without seeing one banker arrested for fraud, one company held accountable for the financial fraud, one corporation that need worry about who will pay the rent since it has been decided that we will pay their rent, either by purchasing their products or from our tax money because we live in mixed economy, and in that mix the cream is at the top and the rest settle to the bottom, but we are lucky to have a Corportist in office rather than….

In these years, this blogger has survived. So, winning. We’ve held on to some of what I had, retained some kind of employment, even in the darker years, and has come to learn that this life I lead, this is it. I, and so many others, have to make do, and take it one day at a time. Retirement, that’s for brands, race horses, and Baby Boomers, but not for the rest of us. If we’re smart, we focus on each day and find in that the value we won’t be getting from interest rates, stock splits, or nest eggs. As they say, you can’t take it with you, so why break your back?

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