True story...last week, my mother was leaving Publix in Hollywood (Florida, not California) when she came across a woman who had to be at least 90 years-old. With a cane and a hunch and tattered shoes, the old lady was struggling to walk down the street. A sensitive liberal Jew, my mom felt bad. So, she pulled up next to her and asked if she needed a ride.
The old lady got in my mom's car and they drove to the bus station. Once the old lady got out, my mom felt like a saint. Twenty minutes later, at Walgreens paying for a prescription, she discovered that her wallet was gone. Soon, she discovered that her cell phone AND her Kindle were gone too. My mother had been burglarized by a seemingly helpless old lady she tried to help. Normally, I'd be exasperated. However, in this economy, nothing surprises me.
The government calls it a recession. That's putting it mildly. We're not receding, we're straight up bald! This is a depression, my friends. Our economy hasn't been in such turmoil since 1929. The Dow keeps dropping, people keep losing their jobs, nearly 20% of houses are in foreclosure, big business are closing their doors each day. This is a goddamn crisis! So yes, I understand when people go to great lengths to survive, even if those lengths involve robbing my sweet mums.
In their 1983 song "When The Shit Hits The Fan", The Circle Jerks sing, "In a sluggish economy inflation, recession, hits the Land of the Free. Standing on an employment line. Blame the government for hard times. We just get by, however we can. We all gotta duck when the shit hits the fan."
Fuck, man! The shit has hit the fan.
Our revered president thinks he can fix this. I love Barry-O as much as the next guy. Still, I'm not really counting on his plan. He's spending all the stimulus money on bank bailouts and highway construction. Maybe I'm wrong, but I never knew loan officers and construction workers to be big spenders. I was under the assumption that bankers were stingy and road laborers were criminals. Are these disparate demographics going to come together and all of a sudden rescue our financial markets? I doubt it.
Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke (a Bush appointee) says the "recession" will be over by the end of 2009. It won't. It's gonna last for a long time. And things are only gonna get worse. It's my prediction that America will end up a third world country. Instead of doing the outsourcing, we're going to be outsourced to. We'll be the ones answering tech support calls for Indians, faking a Hindi accent, pretending our names are Sanjay or Padma. We'll be eating whatever we can afford - guinea pigs like in Peru, cats like in Vietnam, people like in New Guinea. We'll be illegally crossing the borders to get into Mexico so we can wash dishes at their American restaurants. It's possible!
Even if we don't become a third world country, it's gonna be tough. If unemployment keeps rising and people keep getting kicked out of their homes, we'll be living in shanty towns, like during the Great Depression. Will our shantys have wi-fi and digital cable? Will we pay for our shantys with interest-only loans? I do not know.
And if the government keeps spending money on fruitless stimulus packages, our deficit is going to get huge. This might make our debtors nervous. Will they break our collective legs if we don't pay the vig? Will they try to repossess our country? What if China calls our loans? Will they move in and make America its own? Will they force us to sing karaoke, drive slow, and indulge in bizarre sexual fetishes? Maybe.
Either way, if everybody's poor, a lot of things are gonna change. The homeless will have more competition for their panhandling pursuits. Liquor stores will sell out of MD 20/20 and Night Train. Potato sacks will become the newest fashion craze. Hobos will be angry that there's not enough room on the trains they're hopping. Most everyone will be angry, like Michael Douglas in Falling Down (that's actually good because McDonald's will be forced to start serving breakfast after ten).
The shit has hit the fan and the shit will continue hitting the fan until we're so covered in shit that we're like the little kid that jumps in the Porta-Potty in Slumdog Millionaire. We're gonna at least need some relief. Give us rations, like in Iraq (hell, we're worse off here than there). Open up the soup lines. Start dropping the free loaves of bread and the 5 lb. blocks of cheese. I love cheese. The only thing better than cheese is free cheese.
Maybe I'm exaggerating. My house hasn't been foreclosed on and my business is still thriving. I'm just sick and tired of reading about doom and gloom constantly. I can't stop writers from writing though. All I can do is join 'em. So, like Tracy Jordan when he was on Larry King, I'm feeding the fire. Good luck and duck!