Monday, January 24, 2011

The State of the People

Tomorrow, the annual charade known as the State of the Union will be given. We've all read the previews, hopey, changey, now a union with more competition and less regulation! (Wasn't it less regulation that caused the current Great Recession? I realize the severe poverty and stress may have addled my brain a bit, but not enough for me to have invented last few years of fraud and collapse).

And sure, if you are a bankster or part of the bankster class, things are looking up. Bonuses are back! Though yacht sales are still sluggish.

But what about us little people, us "low information" voters as the political elites like to call us? What does the bottom 80% of the country look like?

Depending on who you talk to, the unemployment rate is 9.4% (official Bureau of Labor number) or 16% or 22%. All I know is that I know more unemployed people than I know employed people. And the lucky unicorn catchers (our fun new euphemism for those fortunate enough to find new jobs after layoffs) are working in jobs paying drastically less than they are used to. I was told at an interview that despite my 15 years of experience, the starting pay would be minimum wage because they had to "train (me) on how to answer the phone". Yeah. For the record, that is less than half of what I used to make training people to do the job that I needed to be trained for.

But big American companies are making record profits. W00t W00t. But not here. They are making money and hiring people in emerging economies. Uhm yay! That's how you fix the export problem, by exporting jobs.

Oh, we did pass some kind of health insurance thingy though. That ought to be good news, right? Does anyone know anyone who has health care now that didn't have health care before? I haven't met anyone yet. I'm sure they must exist, like gay republicans exist. This isn't very scientific, my little poll of people I know. But perhaps there is someone you know who has health care now because of the Historic Bill Passage (and not just because they got so poor they now qualify for medicaid when they lost their unemployment benefits).

Hey, you know what is cool? After hemming and hawing and whinging and homophobing, Don't Ask Don't Tell will (maybe) be a thing of the past. The law has to be certified and then there's a 60 day waiting period. Let's congratulate our government on waiting until 70 percent of the military and 77 percent of the population was in favor of allowing gay troops to serve. Let's not let human rights or military readiness get in the way of popular opinion or anything.

You all know we have a Democrat in the White House, right. That should make things easier for us ladies and our lady parts, right. Silly ladies, always thinking that you know what's best for your bodies. Pashaw. Since Obama came into office, he has lifted the Global Gag Rule. Now ladies in other countries, poor countries, countries where poor brown women are probably having too many babies and contributing to overpopulation and environmental disaster, can now talk to health care providers in clinics about abortion.(Oh if you don't know me well enough to know that entire sentence if full of sarcasm then you should read more). But ladies at home have witnessed a bunch of old dudes in tacky blue suits Stupak us. Now your health care plan can't and won't cover abortion. It's okay, I have it on good authority from an old catholic woman that ladies never used their insurance to pay for abortions anyways, because of the stigma. A late term (20 to 24 week) abortion in the abortion capital of the country (NYC) will run you about 15K. I don't know how anyone can afford that without insurance, but it's ok cranky lady whose been through menopause. I'm sure god has a plan for those wanton sluts.

Besides, if women don't have unwanted babies, who the hell is going to fight our wars for us? You all remember, Obama, the anti-war candidate? (yeah me neither, but there are tons of people who fell for that shit). We're still in Afghanistan. We're still in Iraq. We're fighting a defacto war on the Pakistani border (and in Pakistan). And Baby Doc went back to Haiti. That's gotta be good news. Of course now that DADT is maybe gonna be repealed, I have to teach the Kid a new phrase to say if they re-enact the draft. I need him to learn to convincingly say "my daddy is an investment banker".

There's always the other choice for poor kids, college. Well not really, since state budgets are being slashed to the max, state schools are relying more heavily on tuition for funds. That means fewer seats for poor kids whose parents can't pay the full bill. Though my friends with mountains of college debt and no jobs, let alone careers, keep screaming "skip college and learn a trade!". Of course my friends in the trades are all "go to college!" Ruthie (the most sensible of the lot) is all "learn math and science". And nobody except law schools are saying "go to law school".

The Kid will be going to community college. There is no money for anything else in our budget, and pell grants just don't stretch to cover the difference at a university.

But hopey, changey, I am making the child more competitive by keeping him out of the failing school system. We're 27 in math. Woot Woot. Crack all the bigoted jokes you want about Poland and Poles being dumb, but they are doing substantially better than us in math and science education.

That's the state of the people. We're poorer, unhealthy, less educated, and more violent, now with extra misogyny for straight ladies and the right to sacrifice for your country for gay ones.

ETA: How the fuckity fuck did I manage to post this without including anything about Social Security or the great scam of state's bankruptcy. Let's see, if you wanted to keep unemployment numbers high and wages at rock bottom lows, you might eliminate the last remaining tools keeping old and disabled folks from a diet of Ultra-Kitty Seafood feast. If you allow states to go bankrupt, then they don't have to pay those pesky retirement benefits. Of course state workers are about the only class of workers left who still get a retirement benefit. I don't begrudge them that though. I envy it. Other folks either suck it up with the "house always wins" 401k plans or they are like me and they hope that sweet sweet death will take them sooner rather than later. That is my retirement plan, die.

Dying will become a much more rational choice in retirement planning since the blue suited douchebags are planning on ending social security. Who needs that last defense against the cold cruel world when you have competition to keep you warm? Rub some more ben gay into those aching joints granny, these burgers ain't going to flip themselves!

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