Hard Times Come Again No More

Hard times come equally to all – unless you have the bad luck, temerity, or just plain stupidity to invite them. I think we (the collective voting public aided by the collective non-voting public) may have done just that. Everyone knows about Wisconsin, with Walker’s antics and the backlash they’ve caused. And maybe now people are beginning to see Snyder, our victorious Chief of Michigan, in somewhat the same light. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/03/14/173832/snyder-tax-analysis/

In the time he’s been in office, Snyder has followed “the people’s” agenda of removing tax breaks for the poor and elderly and gutting budgets for any state funding of local municipalities and districts, while cutting corporate taxes by 86%. In addition, he’s instituted measures that say that if a local entity is judged to be in financial trouble (hmm – wonder how they could have gotten to that point? Oh yeah, cutting their budgets) the state can step in and dissolve the locally elected or selected boards and appoint a manager.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/14/956355/-Michigan-Gov-Snyder-set-to-auction-off-MI-towns-to-highest%C2%A0bidders

The “liberal press” as my dad likes to think of the current mass media, he being a close student of Fox network, has said virtually nothing. The hue and cry has come from the unions, including teachers, and grassroots protests. Only Rachel Maddow seems to know we’re here.

In fact, many of my fellow Michigan citizens don’t seem to know we’re here, either. Bewildered by an economy sacked and pillaged by one administration and given an uncomfortable triage by the next, Michigan actually elected this guy. It’s analogous to asking to have your leg chopped off to feed the boss’ pit bull, in my opinion.

If only we had legislators who could act as though they actually liked the people they represent! If only we could awaken the public to actually vote in elections, arming themselves first with knowledge from a wide variety of sources! If only we didn’t react to slogans that are designed to engage us emotionally while shutting down our critical processes!

I have friends who think this whole situation is fine. We’ll be tougher, they say. And besides, most of them make enough money right now, have jobs right now, and don’t have any medical or retirement emergencies. As their own parents age and they follow them, I’m hoping those conditions prevail. Personally, I’d like to see the safety nets we’ve built to replace the communities we’ve damaged stay in place.

“There’s a hole in the bucket and the people fall out. There’s money underground, but you can’t get it out when you stand at the state house and smile and say ‘please’. There’s a hole in the bucket for the people in need.”

Catie Curtis wrote that, so long ago we should be collectively ashamed. Sure, we’re rich in this country. Our poorest may look rich against 3rd world countries, but a serious look at our own communities, let alone real hotbeds of poverty here, alarm thinking people.

1) 17 million children go to bed hungry in the U.S.A. every night
2) One relief organization, feedingamerica.org, is now feeding 37 million Americans, including 14 million children annually. This is an increase of 46 percent over 2006, when they were feeding 25 million Americans, including 9 million children, each year. One in eight Americans now relies on Feeding America for food and groceries.
3) Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks is feeding 1 million more Americans each week than they did in 2006.
4) Thirty-six percent of the households served have at least one person working.
5) More than one-third of client households report having to choose between food and other basic necessities, such as rent, utilities and medical care.
6) The number of children the Feeding America network serves has increased by 50 percent since 2006.  http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/hunger-study-2010.aspx

Right here in Delta County, population less than 40,000, we have more hungry than we can feed, more homeless than we can shelter, and far more families with not enough money than we can afford. And we have a government that says, “You deserve this because you didn’t work hard enough,” and acts punitively. Perhaps the intent is to drive them all to another state. But Florida, Arizona, Montana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania – too many states, all with problems like Michigan’s – have chosen the course of blaming their poor and those who’ve banded together against poverty in unions. It’s enough to make you – vote?

Because here we have the confluence of apathy and ignorance, combined with the ever-popular greed. If only We can get Them out of the public trough, there’ll be enough for Us. If only We didn’t have to pay welfare mothers, we could unlock all those dollars and give them to the manufacturing sector. If only those unions of people We’ve been depending on for years, our policemen, firemen, teachers, would stop sucking our blood, We could give their pension plans to the managers hired by “benevolent” government. See how that helps?

Snyder ran as a simple businessman. That should have been a warning, since Gatweway was not a small business, and there’s nothing simple about business. Anyone who has watched the big corporations (like Gateway)  rush to revere the bottom line for this year’s profits over long-term health for workers and even the corporation itself, should have been wary. It is not the job of government to make money. It is the job of government to do for the people those things that must be done or are best done collectively.

Perhaps I’m wrong about these outcomes. I hope so. Being right about the negatives of a time this discouraging isn’t fun. If the agenda currently moving toward a subjugation of the public’s good isn’t stopped, I think we’ll see more soullessness, more greed pandered to, and a more fractured population. We’re sinking into the Middle Ages, and the sad thing is that we’re all deluded into thinking we’ll be lords.

But even as we advance into this Brave Old World of robber barons run amok and a populace who needs distraction stirred up against immigrants and the poor, there will probably be some benefits. You know what they said about Mussolini. He made the trains run on time.

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3 Comments

Filed under Home, Michigan, Philosophy, Politics

3 responses to “Hard Times Come Again No More

  1. Givhan

    In Econ of Energy, I found this: “The public good, when left to private interests, will always be underserved.” Yep. There we go. Can’t find the quoter, but that’s the gist of it. We’re living it now. The selfish masses, easily led. sigh.

  2. Janine

    This is a powerful article Kathryn. Thank you.

  3. Fran

    “Where some have jobs and many have none, when most eat well, but many are forced to glean the nation’s garbage cans, the nation is suffering from a disease of the soul that is not only pernicious but may also be terminal, not only for the jobless but for the comfortable complacent as well. What we allow to happen to the least of us, will eventually pollute our own lives as well.” J. Chittister
    Well said Kathyrn…but am afraid that the ones with no voice are the first to be hacked by government. And when someone comes into office who wants to do some good, he/she is soon swayed to follow the ‘party’ line.

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