Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Say Recession, I Say Depression . . .

. . . let's call the whole thing off. Quick.

Where I live, words like recession, market correction, downturn, depression or slump aren't abstract concepts that you stuff away in a mental file folder labeled "Bad". They are tangible, gut-punching realities that hurt. When times are tough, they're shitty; when they're good, they're not much better. Here, we rely on the tourist trade. That is to say, we depend on people having extra money, or what is cutely referred to in modern discourse as 'disposable income,' that they can toss away on stupid recreations like gambling and skiing. It's our life blood. Without that, we die. Even in boom times, chapter 11 is always just around the corner, lurking in the shadows with alcoholism, joblessness and suicide, waiting to feast. We aren't the underbelly. We're the udder, and when the cow's knees buckle, we're the first organ that gets slammed into the ground.

We've hit the ground. The squeeze is definitely on. Darkness is falling.

The symptoms of incipient economic collapse are sprouting up everywhere, like syphilitic cankers, hearkening the onset of Great Depression II. Businesses are dropping off. Nobody can pay the rent. Hours are being cut. Everyone is depressed. Wherever you look, the paint is peeling, the roofs are leaking. The foundation of our fragile lives is gradually moldering away. Applebee's restaurant had a job fair the other day. Over two hundred people showed up. Imagine that, two hundred people locked in Darwinian competition for a part-time job that pays eight dollars an hour.

Mission accomplished, Mr. Bush. Kudos to Mr. Greenspan as well, and Mr. Freidman, and all the other bright lights of capitalist theory going all the way back to Bastiat. You've won.

We've lost.

And it's cold. Butt cold. The heat bill rises in direct inverse proportion to our falling incomes.

I suppose George Will will tell me if I can't afford the heating bill, I should stop being cold. It's all about personal responsibility, you see.

Indeed it is. If my daddy was a professor who paid my way through graduate school, I might be sitting around the dinner table right now with Mona Charen and Rich Lowry wondering why all those liberals keep whining. Don't they realize the middle-class is only shrinking because so many of them are rising up? The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute say so. Statistics prove it.

Good God. I don't know what's worse, poverty or the obtuse self-righteousness of our ruling class. I'd say it's enough to drive me to drinking, but I already drink, so I'm one step ahead of he game, ha ha.

It's not going to be long before the first, faint whispers of scapegoating start drifting through the air. Count on it. If I was Mexican, I'd be racing back across the border, 'cause guess who's going to be blamed first . . .

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