Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life Goes On

One nice thing about being on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder is that you are relatively unaffected by the financial turmoil taking place all around you. Ask me how much I care about the stock market being squashed like a beetle on the windshield of greed. I just started paying into my 401K at Indiana Legal Services and recently received my first statement. I have a $68 balance so my lifestyle won't change much if it plunges to half its previous value.

If I have to start listening to formerly comfortable people whining to me about the difficulty of paying their bills on time each month or the pain of filling their gas tank or how they had to cut back on their vacations so they went to Hilton Head instead of Hawaii, I'll be properly sympathetic although inwardly I'll be thinking, "welcome to my world."

My mom always told me that one thing that made the Great Recession not quite so bad was that everyone was in it together. For a while, at least among all the people they knew, society wasn't divided into the haves and the have nots because everyone was a have not. Pain and humiliation shared is not so intolerable as when you're on the bottom looking up at those on the top.

Realistically, I know that the hardships will ultimately impact the poor more than the rich. The affluent usually have safety nets in place that less fortunate don't have. The majority of the stockbrokers and investment bankers and CEOs will bounce back while we'll be sitting holding our foreclosure notices and pink slips. It's only for this short while that I'll get any satisfaction listening to the elites piss and moan about how they're suffering then it will be back to business as usual.

You have to wonder sometimes what would happen if we fired every single one of our politicians and had a lottery to choose their replacements. A big rig driver here and a secretary there, a fireman and a police officer, a mechanic and nurse. Maybe some of the former senators would get their jobs back just by the luck of the draw but over all, it would be a totally random selection. Could the new people possibly do any worse than our current representatives have done? Would the nurse and the fireman take their responsibilities more seriously than the attorney and the, well, probably, attorney had done? Would the cop and the secretary possibly think of solutions from a different point of view than whoever they'd replaced? Would the trucker and the mechanic maybe give a little more consideration to their economic equals than smoothing the way for their buds in the boardroom.

I really don't know but what the hell, would we be any worse off?