Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Lousy Time to be a Baby

Sometimes I run across things that make my toes curl right up in my tennis shoes, like meeting a 50-year-old divorced grandmother who's living in a basement. And not a nice cozy Hobbit-like basement, but more like a Silence of the Lambs basement, the kind with those rough stone walls and a concrete floor. There isn't even any of that embarrassingly out-of-style dark '70's paneling, shag carpeting and an unfinished bar in the corner.

This grandmother didn't end up there involuntarily, as if she was some dotty relative hidden by her family; she choose to live there. Now why would she do something like that? Because her 25-year-old daughter just gave birth to her first child, a baby boy, and the economy has been not-so-good for so long (since, say, 1974) that it is going to take the mother, the husband and the grandmother to raise one itty-bitty newborn baby. And, boy, is he going to be surprised when he grows up!

This new mother makes $23,000 a year, which is, like, chickenfeed. Her husband makes $30,000 a year, which is, like, a better grade of chickenfeed. The woman got got six weeks off from work, with 75% of her pay. How this happened, I don't know. I think it's a federal law. Maybe a state one.

The couple just bought their first house, a l lower-middle-class starter home, for $70,000. The realtor had wanted $89,000 for it, but -- I'm shocked! shocked! -- the housing market is collapsing because the government, as always, is sticking is nose into the economy and sending inflated money into that particular market, just as it did with the dotcom blow-up/melt-down. So now housing is blowing up/melting down.

Now, this new mother would rather quit work and stay home with the baby. Unfortunately, it's not possible for three people to live on $30,000 a year, not if they want a house and a car and more than potatoes and oatmeal to eat. Not to mention heating and air-conditioning. So, she works.

She was supposed to put the baby in day-care at -- I still can't believe this -- six weeks old! At $100 a week. My rage is out and boiling over. A newborn baby being handed over to strangers, at a cost of $400 a month! I told them they might as well sell the kid. Dye his hair blond, and they might get thirty grand for him.

So, this woman and her husband made a deal with the woman's mother -- the baby's Grandma-in-a-Basement. She's been divorced for about 15 years and has mostly worked as a waitress, which is pretty much a portable job that can be found almost anywhere. The grandmother would move into the basement and take care of the baby during the day, and get a part-time job on the weekends. The couple saves $100 a week.

While I am a great believer in extended families, this needs a great big "Ridiculous!" sticker stuck on it The baby's grandmother is living in a basement, working part-time, so she can watch the baby while both parents work full-time. That's not a extended family -- it's a potential lunatic asylum!

Most people don't know it, but wages have not gone up since about 1974. Sure, we've got computers and the Internet, and central air-conditioning, and etter cars, but please don't delude yourself you're making big money. The average person is not. Right around 1974, the government got so big it put a permanent drag on the economy. Then you have to factor in the government inflating the money supply, and regulation, and war du jour, and all the rest of the horrors that government heaps on people. Whether they do it on purpose, or because they don't know what they're doing, is debatable.

Most people also don't know that combined taxes now eat up half of the average person's income. That's $53,000 those two make is more like half that when government has taken its cut. Now subtract the $600 a month for their mortgage, and they're living on less than $20,000 a years. Now subtract food, utilities, car it any wonder the national savings rate is now negative? And nearly everyone is in debt and living on credit cards? And bankruptcies are so high?

One percent of the people in this country own 45% of the wealth. For all practical purpose, ten percent own almost all of America. This was not done though the free market, but through what Albert Jay Nock called "Our Enemy, the State."

In my hometown, until about '74, teenagers who graduated high school could immediately get a job at one of the local steel mills, starting at what today would be about $30,000. This included a lot of people on the left side of the IQ bell curve. How many high-school graduates today can walk out of high school and into a $30,000 a year job? I'll answer it for you: none. That's what the government has done to the economy.

And now it's got to the point where it takes three people to raise one baby! The idea of a man being able to make enough money so his wife can stay home with the baby is pretty much gone for the average person. Not everyone can be a doctor or get a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. Hardly anyone can, as a matter of fact. I'd say less than five percent of the population has those abilities.

Worse, this poor baby, when he gets old enough, to going to have to go to public schools. It almost looks as if there is a conspiracy to wipe out the younger generation, to make them poor and stupid, so they grow up into whiggers who wear tribal tattoos. Or maybe it's like Napoleon said: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." There, now I feel better. We're not the object of an evil conspiracy -- just stupid people who think they're smarter than us and truly believe they have our best interests at heart!

Right now we have what Paul Craig Roberts called "an artificial recovery with real job losses." Yep, that's exactly what we have. Manufacturing just shed another 15,000 jobs. The government employs 7.7 million people more than manufacturing! Half the people in this country have IQs of less than 100; what are they going to do for a living? How many janitors do we need? Or people who can do little more than repeat, "Do you want fries with that?" And how many houses and cars are they going to buy when they make $8.50 an hour? Very few, that's for sure. Most of the Ph.D econo-dweebs are clueless about these problems; I ceased paying attention to them years ago.

What's going to happen in 20 years? Shoot, what's going to happen in five years? One year?

I get the impression this country is slowing coming apart at the seams. For an example, the American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation "D" for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem.

Where is this money going to come from, when the Federal Reserve has devalued 95% of the value of the dollar is less than 90 years? When wages haven't gone up in 30 years? When taxes eat up half of peoples' incomes?

This situation cannot go on very much longer. High-paying jobs disappearing, the Third World pouring over our practically none-existent borders, college degrees the equal of a high-school diploma 50 years ago. . .and on and on it goes. That's what I mean: boy is that child going to be shocked when he grows up.

I don't things can go on like this for much longer. People whine that most people are just "sheeple," but those sheeple can only be pushed so far until there's a flashpoint. It's always happened in the past, and I see no reason why it won't happen in the future. The question, as always, is when. That "when," I suspect, is not all that far off.

Until then, the best thing people can do is prepare the future, and assume that future is not going to be for the best.

No comments: