May 17, 2011

Slow Impoverishment in Middle Class American Life


Lo, our president hath spoken unto his people and he hath said:

The confidence I have in the American people, in their decency, that’s undiminished. My faith that we can make tough choices on behalf of future generations, that’s undiminished. -- Obama: “My People, You Continue to Have My Blessing.”

It's a good thing that this slacker's faith is undiminished, because at this rate his "faith" will be the only thing left "undiminished" on the American landscape. For the rest of us our lives will be, as they are presently becoming, ever more diminished.

I was thinking about the slogan made into a bumpersticker yesterday and posted on my sidebar, "You can't put Osama in your gas tank." That's an obvious truth seeing as how we don't have access to the body, vats of lye, and a rendering plant, but it's a broader sentiment than that. What it means is that there are a lot of things now that you discover, week in and week out, you do have to put into your gas tank. And more and more they are the things, large and small, that make your life worth living.

Do you like to ski, surf? Well you'll have to start adding the cost of gas to the cost of lift tickets or beach parking times the distance from your house to the slopes or the sand. Too much? Into the gas tank go the lift tickets and surfboard.

Do your kids like to be picked up and taken to their friends' houses for sleep overs and playdates? Distance to the house and back and back to the house and back home times miles per gallon times cost per gallon equals a lesser social life for your kids. Into the tank with playdates for kids.

Grocery shopping much? Watching "Extreme Couponing" more and taking notes? Looking for those little stickers on products that tell you the manager is cutting a couple bucks off the price because the food is just about to its expiration date and buying them? It adds up. Just eat them quickly.

In these and a hundred other small and yet relentless ways you are entering into, directly as a result of this president and his party's policy, the new American era of "Slow Impoverishment."

You probably don't think of your current economic situation as being "impoverished" (it's such a scary word, contains "poverty..."), but that is what is happening to you and your family and your friends and your neighbors. You might not be "poor" in the classical sense or even in the way that the Federal government currently defines the "poverty level," but you are being made poor day by day, week by week, month after month.

Im·pov·er·ish : To reduce to poverty; make poor. To deprive of natural richness or strength.

Now you may be well-off relatively speaking. You may be gainfully employed or own a successful business. It doesn't matter. It only means that this spiteful president and his party are impoverishing you more slowly and to less immediate effect than less fortunate Americans. Even so, unless you are a member of the wealthy, ruling class, you can -- if you put your mind to it -- feel in a very visceral way that you are not doing as well now as you were a couple of years ago. You may even have "more" money, but can't escape the knowledge that it buys less. And you also know that, given the path this man and his party, have put the country on you will be feeling ever more impoverished as time passes.

It is a strange president and party that relentlessly pursues policies that work actively day by day to beggar and weaken the country they rule so maliciously, but that is what we have come to.

In the grocery store the wands and the scanners beep and the total rises up. But the clerk is nice and polite and is in the same fix you are so the final total doesn't seem so bleak. And besides you probably splurged just a little (Maybe got the not-quite-stale cookies on final markdown) so you at least have a small pleasure to look forward to later as you watch "The Biggest Loser."

When you and the rest of us buy gasoline, however, any pleasure gleaned from consumption is far, far away. You stand in the cold and the wet and you push a steel nozzle into a hole in your car and you stand there in the fumes with all the other vaguely pissed-off Americans. And you stare at the madly multiplying number panel that is draining your dollars from your debit card in a blur.... $20, $30, $40, $50, $60, $70....

Isn't that a quality feeling? That's "slow impoverishment" in action. Press "Yes" if you want a receipt, "No" if you just don't give a damn any longer.

Killing Osama felt good, didn't it? But that's it. Breaks over. Everyone back on your heads.

Strange that the only ones who are enjoying the slow impoverishment of Americans are its enemies and the president and his party. They are laughing at you and their slowly impoverished base at their dinner parties. At the top, where the buck starts, his continuing pleasure in your slow impoverishment is one other thing that is "undiminished" in the mind of the strange and un-American "faith" of Obama.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 17, 2011 6:39 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

As a retired person, I was already impoverished. Now I'm well on my way to destitute. I planned carefully for a much different life than I have now, but real life interfered and directions got changed.

I've never been much for communes, but I'm getting to the point that I want to contact everyone I know and talk them into joining me in some kind of communal living where maybe by pooling resources we can live half-way decently without ending up under the gov't's financial thumb and keep our independence.

Posted by: Sara (Pal2Pal) at May 17, 2011 8:11 PM

Living it, watching it, tired of trying to explain it to my kids. "Even the North Pole is struggling." Damn Obama's hope and change and screw his blessings.

Posted by: RedCarolina at May 17, 2011 8:52 PM

I take exception to one of the main points of your essay.

There is nothing slow about it. The last 20 years may have been slow, but the last two have been happening at almost breakneck speed. It is only the incredibly wealth of the USA that has kept things afloat this long.

but not for much longer.

Other than that minor quibble, spot on.

Posted by: pdwalker at May 17, 2011 9:56 PM

One of my favorite things to is to go on long aimless drives. Lately, I haven't done it because of the fuel cost.

I look at my bank statements and I think "What the hell did I buy for 64 bucks on Saturday?" And then I realize, it was just for the gas.

Oh, well...who needs personal freedom anyway? I can just take the bus and then the long walk home from the bus stop will do me good, especially on those cold, rainy days.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at May 18, 2011 12:21 AM

There won't be a second term. So don't worry. Poverty for American Taxpayers won't happen.

Oh he may win the election in 2012 but that's not the same as having a country over which one claims to hold office.

Posted by: Peccable at May 18, 2011 5:44 AM

It's not just gasoline; electricity costs are likely headed up as well. The "progressives" seem determined to prohibit or at least delay all practical forms of electricity generation...even solar projects, when it is discovered that they need actual *transmission lines* to connect them to users, are stopped by environmentalists and NIMBYs.

And expensive electricity is not just a direct cost impact to consumers; it also makes American manufacturing less competitive.

A broad, affluent middle class was largely the result of broadly-distributed and reasonably-priced energy, especially in the form of electricity.

Posted by: david foster at May 18, 2011 8:18 AM

Geez, Gerard,

Please don't try to cheer us up any more. I just lost my job, and am feeling low enough as it is!

Posted by: leelu at May 18, 2011 9:45 AM

Equality of outcomes is what he wants. Unfortunately, Obama seems not to have noticed what happens when those policies were followed elsewhere. The USSR before the breakup, North Korea, Red China before the liberalization, Cuba, Chile under Allende, etc.

It is the so called Green movement that has been
guiding us down this path for thirty years now. Obama has just speeded things up. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) must be revised or repealed because it is the basis for the Greens to use the courts to stop or delay indefinitely the increased production of our own resources.

Getting rid of Obama will be a first step, but much, much more anti-Green activity will be required to turn things around. They are not environmentalists per se, they are utopians using the ESA to force the citizenry to conform to their vision of a pristine world that has never existed and never will.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at May 18, 2011 11:32 AM

One thing I find so very darkly amusing in all this is how the feminists seem to be cheering Obama and his minions on in their apparent drive to make America poorer. I don't think that they realize (being too intent on their fellow-travelership) that female emancipation depends on physical strength being irrelevant to making a living. Make energy too expensive, and muscle-power starts becoming important again. He who brings home the bacon calls the shots, and pretty soon women are chattel again.

Obvious, no? But does that occur to our exalted leaders and their harpy fellow-travelers? Of course not-- they're far too well educated to ever follow a simple line of reasoning.

November 2012 can't come fast enough, Gerard.

Posted by: Hale Adams at May 18, 2011 7:05 PM