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June 25, 2011 / 74

The Great(est) Depression

You wake up in the morning and everything is fine. You eat your usual breakfast, and out the door to work you go. When you arrive at work, there’s a note on your time card, or a post-it on your computer screen. The boss has something he wants to discuss with you.You’ve watched others being summoned to the bosses office in the last month and they never come back.

You feel the fear start to churn down in your guts – but you try to pretend that it’s nothing, just something about the job – and you’re right.

The boss is sitting at his desk with a security guard on your side of it, and the boss hands you an envelope prepared by HR and your mind shifts into neutral as the boss blithers about separation and job search assistance and counseling.

You feel that dread, and the fear comes back amplified. You’re 50 or 60 years old. Nobody is going to hire you. The mortgage is over half paid off. The car is paid off, the kids are grown and gone, so it could be worse. But how long can you coast on the reserves you’ve put in the bank?

The boss…. make that your ex-boss… sticks out his hand and says, something meaningless like, “it was a pleasure working with you and good luck.” You suck up for the last time and smile and actually thank him for being so understanding, and it was a good job while it lasted…

Then the security guard is watching you clean out your desk, and he tries to say the expensive pen your wife gave you for your birthday last year belongs to the company and he takes it away from you. Now you’re angry, but then you see the other two security guys standing watching you… and you say to hell with the pen and finish packing what they’ll let you take. So you don’t say anything because now you’re just another unemployed bum…

Or you’re a farmer and your family has farmed the same ground and lived in the same house for over a hundred years… but now the US Army Corps of Engineers has decided that people in speed boats upriver on a lake made by a flood control dam are more important than the food you’ll grow… so they don’t let the excess water out in time until they HAVE to let it out in massive amounts or the dam will break and kill tens of thousands of people down stream. So their incompetence – or worse, they want to steal your land because of their desire to turn your farm into habitat for ducks and snakes – means that you are just another hick that they can shove aside and take what you’ve fought for all your life…so you watch from a hill as the levee breaks and your home is inundated with sand and mud and raw sewage from upstream. You stand there watching, knowing that you’ll never fix the house – there will be no cleanup because that polluted water will be in your ancestral home for two months or more, and the sand deposits and pollution that will be dropped on your fertile top soil won’t be farmable for at least 3 to 5 years…

It’s not a recession. It’s just a bunch of liars in Washington DC who are long overdue for being tossed out on their ears with no “retirement”.

Recovery? There is no recovery. How long will it take us to recover from the second Great Depression? Who will write this generation’s Grapes of Wrath, and will anyone read it?


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