Friday, November 30, 2012

Hard Times: Bitter Reality

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Earl Griffin
Activist Post

After the Second World War things were rosy in America. We’d won the war. We possessed fearsome weapons that made the world fear us. We thoroughly bombed Europe so that she had nothing. They owed us big time. It made sense to Americans that the Europeans would buy everything they could from us for a very long time after the war – which they did! As a consequence our economy raced along for years; decades even.

Eventually unions became very powerful. The cost of labor soared. Corporations began off-shoring jobs to other countries. Unions became less powerful. Corporations saw that in off-shoring jobs much money could be saved. These days many of your jobs have been off-shored. Most of you know someone, a friend or a family member who has gone through it. Perhaps you’ve had to train or help train the nice people who took your job or the job of a friend of yours.

I don’t mean to say that unions are solely to blame – they do bear some of the burden, but they also fill a valuable roll. Where do you think the health insurance that we enjoy comes from? Desperate people who worked in intolerable conditions organized and made this happen. Of course all that is about to change thanks in part to the fervent dedication of organized labor in getting Barack Obama reelected - Irony.

Globalism is largely to blame for this predicament. However, one may argue that Globalism got at least some traction from corporations looking for cheaper labor.

So here we are.

We live with high unemployment, low wages, decreasing benefits and increasingly difficult working conditions. Who are you going to complain to? There are millions of Americans who would be very happy to have YOUR job!

Meanwhile things are getting tight.

The government says there is little or no inflation – LIES!

The cost of food and gas is going up.

Despite turning the air up in the summer and the heat down in the winter and changing all my light bulbs to those awful swirly things, my light bill continues to go up.


I’m listening. I hear my family, my friends, and associates talk in muted voices about how hard things are. They are afraid they will lose their jobs. They are afraid their children will have hard lives. They are slowly coming to terms with the idea that they will not be able to leave a better world for their kids than the one they lived in. Oh there are still optimists, God love them. But I see the optimists of two years ago joining the ranks of the realists daily.

It’s interesting to me to see people bemoan (rightfully) the cost of gas while on their cell phone.

We are caught in a trap. We are all spread out and usually can't telework. We HAVE to buy gasoline to get to work and home again. Our light bills go up even when we use less or worse – even when the utilities go off!

Where can we save?

We can cancel our cell phones.

I hear the incredulous “WHAT” in my mind as I write this. But wait – I’m not finished.

Now cancel your cable, FIOS – or whatever paid television services you have.

XBOX Gold? Cut it!

World of Warcraft? Cut it! That goes for any other video game with recurring fees.

Spending money on digital music? Stop!

Netflix? Cut it!

Don't buy produce grown in another country. Grow a garden for pity sake. Use organic growing practices. Don’t have a lot of space? Grow a couple tomato plants and some lettuce or whatever you like in containers. I’ve done it and it works brilliantly! Learn to can the produce that comes out of your garden so that you and your family may enjoy the fruits of your labors all year.

Here’s the thing. I’m not opposed to people enjoying their cellphones, WOW, and FIOS. But there are people in the United States who are not just struggling – they are suffering. Since the Great Depression most of us haven’t had to go through anything like what we are seeing today. Cut your costs so that you don't become one of them.

It is going to get worse.

Many of us believe that we NEED a cellphone – we don’t. Nor do you need a corporation locking you into a 2 year contract because you wanted a better price.

You don’t need some corporation locking you into a 2 year contract because you “bundled” your phone, television, and Internet sources so you could save a few bucks a month.

These contracts are bondage!

When times are good enjoy the prosperity.

Here is the “bitter reality:” These are not prosperous times. We must do what the Federal Government appears to be unwilling to do – cut spending.

A friend of mine who is extremely worried about providing Christmas for his kids broke down in front of me recently. He said, “I want to provide some normalcy for my kids. I don’t want them to do without.” I felt awful for my friend. However, the man doesn’t have a job and hasn’t had one for weeks. Things aren’t normal. Increasing his debt bondage to provide “normalcy” for his children is entirely abnormal.

Maybe this is the year to sit the kids down and talk to them about the reality that we live in. Spend some of your December volunteering at a food bank or a soup kitchen. Let the kids see that there is real suffering in the world. Some of the kids just won’t get it – some of them will, and it may make a lasting impression on them.

My great Uncle Carl lived through the Great Depression and served in the South Pacific Theater of the Second World War. He never threw anything away. Not even used wrapping paper or empty Cool Whip tubs. He wasn’t a hoarder – not by a stretch. He found a use for everything. For instance all of his drinking glasses were old jelly jars. He saved and reused aluminum foil (he called it “tin foil”) until it was so far gone it really couldn’t be used anymore. He had a television hooked to an antenna and a clock radio in the kitchen. That was the extent of his electronics collection. Every day he spent his day outside: Walking, sitting on the back porch drinking coffee, working around the house, etc. He came inside to watch “The Price is Right,” and “The Guiding Light.” Then back out till dark. He was really something. Uncle Carl lived on three thousand dollars a year. Not in the fifties mind you – in 1990! He owned fifty acres of land, had twenty five beef cows, a handsome (though not fancy) pickup, a good cattle trailer, and wanted for nothing in part because he made a point of being happy with what he had rather than being unhappy about what he didn’t have.

I think that more of us need to adopt some of Uncle Carl's ways in preparation for the harder times to come.

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Skully said...

Well I am like good ol Uncle Carl. I been watching for years. I been learning from the fine folks here at Activist and I appreciate the people who reach out and share and care cause right now we people must all come to a understanding of peace.

Anonymous said...

If the objective of the one who wrote this article is to get the left and the right fighting and arguing, I would give this article an A++.

I kinda thought the game here was to unite all of the awake people left or right, against the divide and rule games of our fascist rulers. Clearly I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but this is another worthless solution article. This writer wants you to accept austerity and the outsourcing of our jobs. I got a better idea. Let's arrest the NWO criminals and take our country back. Get rid of cell phones and cable TV? Get real. Get a protest sign and go protest. Call your mayor and state rep. and tell them they are scumbags for allowing the globalists to take over.

Anonymous said...

One commenter said that "The writer wants you to accept austerity and the outsourcing of jobs." I didn't get that at all. It looks to me like the writer resents those things but wants people to consider the reality of the economy as it is.

Anonymous said...

Were we reading the same article? I didn't read the writer wants us to accept job outsourcing. I read the writer believes times are going to get worse before they get better and if you don't know how or are not willing to learn how to live on less you are going to have a tough time.

Anonymous said...

$3000 a yr in 1990? I find that hard to believe. Even grazing his cows they still need other feed and supplements. He watched tv so he had electricity which I'm sure he had to pay for. He had beef cows,no mention of dairy cows so did he buy his dairy products? I enjoyed the article but that amount of money per year in that year just has too many holes in it for me to believe in it's entirety..

Seen said...

1 "Eventually unions became very powerful. The cost of labor soared. Corporations began off-shoring jobs to other countries. Unions became less powerful."

National Unions became less powerful and influential, and it's eroding to the point of non-existence. These national unions will sometime succumb to international unions, which are not like national unions and the national unions remaining will plead for further governmental centralization through public-private partnerships inevitably selling out their workers.

2. "Globalism is largely to blame for this predicament. However, one may argue that Globalism got at least some traction from corporations looking for cheaper labor."

Globalization shifted the domestic balance into the international/global realm. This is why the public-private partnerships mostly benefit supranational institutions, businesses, and unions while laws, regulations, and etc are harmonized to be more supranational friendly.

3. "Here is the “bitter reality:” These are not prosperous times. We must do what the Federal Government appears to be unwilling to do – cut spending."

Rent/Property Taxes, Food, Water, Energy, Travel/Commerce, Sanitation, and other necessities like taxes are items that can't be cut but rationing and designed to be rationed through public-private partnership. Deleveragement is a good idea, but it's also going to be harder than that. Deleveragement and Inflation will make it largely impossible to live within your means until the noose is ready. Inevitably, it'll herald the new class structure, which is really a caste structure.

4. "I think that more of us need to adopt some of Uncle Carl's ways in preparation for the harder times to come."

This kind of preparedness is near-sighted or tactical rather than strategic as it only shields the most immediate impacts. Perhaps take Uncle Carl's ways and expand upon them.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I enjoyed the post. Some details had to be left out for the sake of brevity, I'm sure, and I believe it was meant to get people thinking about what true "necessities" are in these uncertain times.
The outsourcing of jobs is here whether we choose to accept it or not. Multinational corporations are continuing to find ways of sending work into underdeveloped countries. They pay what they say is a "living wage," but the workers are terribly poor and so as you may guess this is not very much. I found interesting the article on "Micro-jobs" in Harvard Business Review, in which the solution to employees' habitual tardiness in one foreign land was to just change the official start of the workday to a later time. Company hygiene rules required employees to bathe before coming to work, and the local lake was so cold early in the morning that workers were waiting to wash up before coming in. Apparently a living wage in that part of the world does not permit one to pay for a dwelling with indoor plumbing or even a residential well.
I do not resent those poor people having jobs and being able to afford food, clothing and shelter, and I want those things for people in our country, too.
I do not think, however, that I should be expected to support, with tax dollars, the fulfillment of desires for non-necessities.

Anonymous said...

@7:29. I read between the lines. What I see is another article telling us how to cope and learn to live under tyranny and one that makes excuses for job outsourcing without mentioning that tarriffs on imports was lifted.

Sorry, but I am tired of these articles, especially one that tell us, e.g., that the government needs to "cut spending." Cutting spending is a NWO agenda.

We don't need to cut spending for our nation's needs. We don't owe the underlying debt in the first place. It's all a bankster/Fed scam. We need to arrest the banksters and the fed and declare the debt to be fraudulent and thus voidable. We need to take our assets back from the criminal bank robbers, just like you would do in any case where a criminal robs you.

Learn to cope + expression of a NWO agenda = NWO propaganda whether by design or by accident.

When I see this formula, I become suspicious feel obligate to express my dissatisfaction to the writer. We are under attack and writers must think more about every word they use and how it is interpreted. Activist writers have a responsibility akin to lawyers, i.e., you better know what you are talking about when telling people what to do when they are being harmed by others.

Y Goldsmith said...

I agree with this writer, and find this to be a well-written article expressing what I also feel. Too many whiners in the world today wanting someone else to take care of them, while they continue to live a lifestyle well beyond their means.

Y Goldsmith said...

Well written article expressing what I have been saying for months. Truly enjoyed this.

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