Economic  woes


-Bumper sticker of the week: IÕd like to live as a poor man with lots of money.  Picasso


-Quote of the week: ÒWith money in your pocket, you are wise and handsome, and you sing well too.Ó  Yiddish saying


ÒFormula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.Ó  J. Paul Getty


-Poor us: Kiss the economy goodbye. Our greed and insatiable quest for profit has caught up with us. ItÕs time to pay the piper. The great reckoning is upon us. A few comments:

     * You canÕt cheat people forever and expect it not to catch up with you. Most bankers will cheat you at the drop of a hat. Used to be you trusted the local banker. He, (seldom a she), was held in high regard. Now you better hold on to your billfold when you get near one. For twenty years or so they played on our fantasy that owning your own home was the ultimate in lifeÕs pleasures. Find yourself a home, weÕll take care of the details. So we bought, and we bought, and we bought. Ends up, we bought ourselves right into oblivion. Now, bankruptcies and foreclosures are at an all-time high. Financial institutions, propped up on our overzealous purchasing of the American dream, are dropping faster than BushÕs popularity. And guess who gets to bail them out? A lose, lose proposition for the middle class.

     * You hardly hear a word about the Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars. Does anyone say that perhaps spending an estimated $2.4 trillion on an illegal war over a decade might just in fact kill our economy? No, theyÕre too afraid. Afraid that we might think they are un-American. Unkind to our military. Whinny liberals. Traitors. At the beginning of the new millennium, this might well be the stupidest thing we do in a 1000 years. And we can all be proud to have been a part of it. ItÕs the war, stupid.

     * The name of the game in the financial world is to get you in debt. Credit cards are nothing more than a way for financial institutions to get a monthly check from you, the sucker. TheyÕll give you credit for $500, or $5,000, or $50,000, and you send them a monthly check  to pay off the interest. The principal always stays there. It is estimated that we spend 15% of our take-home pay to pay off debt. A mortgage works much the same way. You pay off most the interest, than start on the principal, which would be the actual amount you borrowed. It all works to the advantage of the rich, who are willing to share their riches with us, at a price. When these schemes break down, like they currently are, who pays the price? You guessed it. You. Who do you think will buy back our repossessed homes, after years of us paying mainly the interest, at bargain basement prices? Congratulations. YouÕre catching on. And who bails out the  financial institutions carrying on this deception? Ah, now youÕve got it. Watch how much we pay the CEOÕs of these failing companies for their total ineptness and thievery. None of it should surprise you. After all, you know own them.

     * Capitalism requires profit. No one argues with, if you make an investment, you should get a reward. But when you are allowed to make an unlimited reward, reasonableness turns to insanity. The distance between the rich and the poor becomes wider and wider. The more distance, the less connection to our shared humanity. When Capitalism ships all our jobs overseas for the cheap labor, our anger gets directed at the people filling those jobs, all of whom are filling them to get ahead in life, the same as we did. There is no talk about companies perhaps taking lesser profits, paying themselves less. Immediately, it is claimed you are attacking ÒThe American Way.Ó It is a game that corporate America has us playing into, hook, line, and sinker. It is a game we can no longer afford to play. You cannot base an economy on continual growth without eventually causing chaos and environmental disaster.


-Leadership: I see we did us a front page article on leadership. I couldnÕt agree more we need leadership at all levels of government, particularly in Galesburg and Knox County. What we donÕt need is a masquerade ball. If youÕre going to lead, you better by ready to walk the walk. DonÕt step forward with your underwear on too tight. This ainÕt a masquerade ball.