Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The American Delusion

I listen to NPR on the way to and from work every day. In case you were wondering, yes, I'm white. I also own a Navy pea coat. I can't help it. I was born this way.

While listening to NPR, I've watched my blood pressure slowly rise as I hear again and again that Obama's approval ratings are abismal, and they're even lower when it comes to the specific question about how he's handled the economy. Now, my problem with this has nothing to do with my personal feelings about Obama, although I suppose it does have something to do with my politics. I need to get that out of the way because everyone, on both sides, seems to be propaganda-spewing machines when it comes to this stuff, even if they don't realize it. Bring this up to one person, and they say, "Yeah, but the Republicans..." while the next guy will automatically respond with, "Yeah, but Nobama..."

For all intents and purposes of this post, everyone who talks about the parties is missing the point.

People talk about the economy like it's a governmental department. They ask why the government hasn't created jobs. They ask why the government hasn't increased incomes. They ask, they ask, they ask, and the answer is, "Because they can't." Oh, sure, the government can hire people, but they're just like every corporation in America: they can't hire EVERYBODY. And they can't make the economy do anything. They can pass legislation that they believe will influence the behavior of the economy, but they. Can't. MAKE. It. Do. Something.


And when I say that the government cannot fix the economy, what I DON'T mean is, "The government has no business telling me or corporations or anyone what to do with their money!" Those people are also missing the point. I feel like when people say they don't approve of Obama's efforts (or lack thereof) in regards to the economy, what they're really saying (almost certainly unknowingly) is, "Why hasn't he fixed it?" And. He. Can't.

When we all sit around going, "Why hasn't the government fixed the economy?", we're not taking responsibility for our part in the economy. The economy is us. We each have a different role, but some of us--some of us with jobs and businesses and stuff--need to stop waiting for this magical economic upturn and spend some damn money. Some of us--most certainly not all of us, but some of us--have a little extra money to spend and don't, and we do it under the guise of being responsible. We have no faith in the economy, so we must pinch our pennies. But every time a penny is pinched, that's one less opportunity for the economy to recover. What's the saying? You've got to spend money to make money? And lest anyone be confused, the people whom I believe should seriously spend the money are the small percentage at the top of the heap. C'mon, guys! No one NEEDS billions or even millions of dollars! Use that shit to create some damn jobs! It's okay to let your bank balance dip below even the $100,000 mark. I know. It. Sounds. NUTS. You fucking work HARD, man. But people having more money than they can even spend in a lifetime? That's just greed, plain and simple. And it may be your right to be greedy, but it's a dick move nonetheless. Plenty of people are out there working twice as hard making not even a fifth of what you have.

I have no idea why I'm writing this in second person, as if million- and billionaires are reading my blog. If so, "Hi guys!"

But I'm not even advocating for an increase in taxes on the rich here. I don't particularly care how the money gets back into the economy. In fact, taxes might make the least amount of impact because THE ECONOMY IS NOT A GOVERNMENTAL DEPARTMENT. You could pump a ton of money into the government and the economy might STILL suck. But. I do think that people have to overcome their natural inclinations to be dicks in order for this to work. Which I guess means I have no real feasible solution.

I just really want everyone to stop talking nonsense on NPR.

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