Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a Hobbit Blog!

by CB

Elevenses in America

It's morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history. With interest rates and inflation down, more people are buying new homes. And our new families can have confidence in the future. American today is prouder and stronger and better."

In 1984 Reagan swept into office for a second term on a diet of feel-good soothings. He told Americans that he had brought them out of the dark night, into the bright morning. Darkness was a metaphor for fear - fear of unemployment, fear of not having health insurance, fear of losing your home. Morning sounded pretty good to people. As it turns out, it actually stood for lower marginal tax rates for the wealthy, the end of big government (defined as an enormous increase in government spending), the deregulation of airline travel, and support for vertical entertainment oligopolies.

Morning, even as an empty metaphor, ended a LONG time ago.

This season's feel-good soothings can't offer us even those empty promises. People are losing their jobs at an accelerated pace. The current unemployment rate of 6.5% hasn't been seen since 1994. So far this year 1.2 million jobs have been eliminated in this country. And if you're sick and don't have any health insurance you're not likely to get any help soon.

Clearly it's not morning again in America. On the other hand, people feel pretty happy about the recent election, what with its message of empowerment and hope. So it's not exactly night either.

It's more like late morning. Maybe around 11:00, 11:15 am. Sunshine and freshly squeezed orange juice are a distant memory. And while there's hunger, and some borborigmus, it's not close enough to lunch yet for anyone to be excited by the prospect of a juicy hamburger.

It's sort of "elevenses" in America.

(Some might call it "las once." Unfortunately, they have a little less to look forward to, what with their brutal job losses and anti-immigrant sentiment.)

But even for the rest of us, it's strictly milky tea and a saltine cracker time.

For we have serious problems. Nobody needs to be reminded of that, all they need to do is think about retirement and their 201(k) account. (That's what you call your 401(k) when it's lost half its value.)

Jobs are being eliminated left and right, especially in manufacturing and financial services. Foreclosures continue to be frighteningly high. The financial markets are jittery at best and credit lending hasn't returned to anything close to normal or healthy.

Sounds like it's time for a cracker-jack new Treasury Secretary, someone who can attract the best and the brightest to start fixing our problems. Someone open to fresh new ideas from anybody with a brain and some creativity. A Treasury Secretary who will be surrounded by brilliant financial minds drawn to public service. A sexist pig who will be able to…….


A sexist pig WHAT?!

Larry Summers?!


A known, published, got him on tape HOBBIT-HATER to run the new administration's financial recovery plan?!

NOW I'm mad.

That man has NO place in ANY administration where MY tax dollars are going to pay his salary.

The man (I refrain from calling him a pig again out of respect for swine. It is not their fault.) thinks that women are biologically inferior in math and science. How can any woman apply to work for him? How can any woman have her performance evaluated by him? How can we solve the nation's problems by eliminating half the brains trying to fix things?

How did we GET here? Why is it impossible for some to move forward ONLY by holding others back? How can a man who will intentionally discriminate against smart creative women have his name floated as a possible member of our This Time it Will be Different Cabinet?

People cannot exist on a diet that is nothing but hope. Or metaphors. Or change. Words do not create jobs, hope does not pay for insurance, small change does not create a healthy retirement. Dollars do. Jobs in industries with multiplier effects do.

I listened through this entire campaign when every metaphorical woman was a single-Mom working in a traditionally female job. And every metaphorical man worked in a traditionally male job. It was embarrassing in its image of a faux Cleaver world. (And by the way, the Beaver? He's gay and he wants to get married. Deal with it.) But those were fictional campaign characters, now we are talking about real jobs and discrimination against real women.

The next President has been decided. The policies that will affect all depend on his selections to fill his Cabinet. Our Cabinet. When the country decides that we want a Secretary of Outdated, Destructive Sexist Illusions then maybe Larry Summers can be considered.

Until then, it's Elevenses in America. It's late morning and we're all starving. The work is hard, and there are many many hours of work ahead of us.

We've earned something more substantial than a "trust me" and a light snack. We've earned better than a dry, stale, old cracker.

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