Being laid off.
The old, time tested truths no longer necessarily always apply in this economy. Old timers will tell you "if you bust your butt and keep your nose clean you'll be alright." They lived in a different America, an America in my opinion that is different in every way. In this America, 100,000 people were laid off in Texas, in January alone! Another 76,000 in Oklahoma. 115,000 in North Dakota. 98,000 in California. I think most men will agree with me when I assert that the much hyped "recovery" never made it to Main Street.
I want to go down the rabbit hole a bit and delve into why, to my mind, we find ourselves in this present predicament. What does mainstream media have to say?
ImmigrationWell according to Trump all of my problems would go away if there weren't so many darned immigrants, legal or otherwise, in this country. I have several problems with this sentiment.
- I would argue that unless you are a native American it is highly hypocritical to drone on about immigration.
- These same politicians that are pandering about building walls and deportations are the very same ones that created the legislature that gave them incentive to come in the first place. The Republican party in its current form is no more against immigration than the Democrats. That is, if you'll ignore the jawboning and posturing and pay attention to how they actually vote on issues.
- This nation was founded on immigration, much of it illegal at the time.
My solution? Do what works. The reason that these people are a burden is not that they are here, but that they do not pay taxes. Set up an office on the border, issue them social security cards as they cross, and your problem is solved. Period. Why does this solve the problem? Well, as the laws stand, laws that were written with bipartisan support mind you, we are encouraging the dregs of South American society to come to America for a free ride. They can expect to come here, not work, not apply for visas or citizenship, and be rewarded with food stamps, medical care, and housing allowances. By telling all of South America that "Hey, if you don't work you don't eat, here's your social security card and have a nice day" the layabouts will stay home I promise you. What you'll see instead is a reduction in overall immigration, with those remaining immigrants being productive members of society rather than leeches. Mexico has good people and leeches just like anywhere else. You must encourage the right sort to come and discourage the wrong. It really is that simple.
Another issue I take with the immigration crisis we're facing, and yes I admit it is a crisis, is that nobody ever questions the fact that out of nowhere and seemingly overnight our immigration rate grew over 1,000 %. No, that is not a typo. It is fact easily verifiable, along with everything else I assert as fact. I will not do your homework for you fellas. It is your job to safeguard the stability of your household and how on Earth are you going to do that if you do not inform yourself concerning current economic, political, and geopolitical happenings? Google is very much your friend in this instance. The fact that immigration grew tenfold in a single year tells me there is a catalyst. I believe that catalyst to be our own government, for reasons I could speculate on but cannot pretend to ever truly know. The next time you want to cuss Jose, you may want to take a minute to reflect on the talking heads we elected that brought him here. Your anger may be better directed at them.
That said I am a class A fitter/welder and Jose the illegal is not taking my job. It just doesn't happen.
Why am I laid off then?That's the end of that section, mainstream media really doesn't tell us much else. Now on to why I believe you are laid off.
Going on $19 TRILLION in national debt and growing by an estimated billion dollars daily is what is wrong with this economy.
A suspended debt ceiling, which is in essence a carte blanche to spend as much as they like is what is wrong with this economy.
Government laws, passed again with bipartisan support over the course of 30 years, then enable corporations to outsource their labor is what is wrong with this economy.
Federal Reserve monetary policy, or lack thereof, that essentially poured trillions of dollars into the mega banks on Wall Street in order to save them. Those banks, instead of increasing the credit they issued as expected, tightened their credit extensions, thus crippling industries that rely on credit. In case you are less than sure, that's essentially all of them in this "up is down and black is white" country we find ourselves in today. No credit means no business expansion which means layoffs aplenty for Joe the Plumber, all while Joe the banker tests out his new yacht, is also what is wrong with this economy.
I could list a hundred examples as I am sure you can as well but what's the point? The common theme among them all is that at some level or another this government is to blame. The other common theme is that they are all largely out of our control.
So what do we do?
What we do is simple. We educate ourselves firstly. If you are not yet laid off then great, but you need to have your nose in the headlines in order to see what may be just around the corner for you. It may surprise you that I was able to accurately predict my own layoff taking several things into account. I knew oil prices had tanked. Work had dried up. Caterpillar was and still is losing more money every quarter than actually exists (An exaggeration but only a slight one). All of this told me my company was in trouble. I knew my work ethic and the quality of what I fit up would insulate me for a time and I was right. My company went from 216 employees, down to 14. I was the 15th unfortunately but cannot complain as the fella they kept over me was the one who taught me everything I know about fitting so it is what it is.
It is imperative that if you have been laid off you do not get down on yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. You busted your butt for a company, in my case for many years, and it didn't work out. There is nothing more to it. I know you're hearing CNN tell you about the "recovery" and you're seeing Joe down the street take his family on vacation. It's all illusion. Joe down the street is paying for that vacation on tomorrow's wages I promise you, and if there's a recovery in this country, right here and right now, then why oh why is unemployment at 24%! That is to say, if we calculate unemployment the way we used to, you know, before the government decided that 1 + 1 does, in fact, not equal 2 anymore. Let that number sink in for a little while. 24%. Only one other period in American history saw unemployment like that and that was the Great Depression, so lets call today's economy what it is; a global deflationary depression brought on by greed and fiscal irresponsibility both in New York and Washington.
This is not your fault, assuming of course that you showed up every day and worked hard. The economic system is spiraling slowly but visibly into decay and you are a victim of this. Nothing more, nothing less. You are not less of a man today than you were yesterday. You have not failed your family, but rather the government has failed you.
Why all the doom and gloom?
I am not attempting to spread doom and gloom. What I am attempting to do is to get you men out there to take responsibility for the direction of your household by educating yourselves about what is truly happening around you.
Make no mistake about it though, what I am telling you is that in my opinion, the American Dream is dead. It died along with our middle class and our family unit. It is not coming back. Educate yourself. You will find that instead of depressing, you'll find the education liberating. Now that you've educated yourself you'll see things in a new light. So what if what the media tells me the American Dream is happens to be dead? Who cares? I have redefined happiness for myself and that trickles down through the rest of my household. Happiness is no longer about nice cars, big houses, $5,000 TVs or the new IPhone 6. My happiness today comes from a source that is both readily available and freely given. It comes from within me. I just do not need to buy the junk they are peddling on TV any more.
Because I have redefined happiness for myself, money is less important. As long as there is a roof over my head and food on the table then I have done my job. I have a job now, though I am currently on workers comp for the mistake of a coworker who decided it was a good idea to sit a 4 ton weight on my foot, but I have been laid off. I've been there.
So What Now?
Now we are going to get off the couch. We are going to apply to jobs, even lower paying jobs constantly. We are going to make looking for work our new job. We are going to look in the "gigs" section of CraigsList for odd jobs to earn extra money. We're going to change our own oil instead of taking the car in to have it done. We're going to work on the never ending list of home repairs, at least the ones that are cheap fixes. We are going to be productive. We are also going to stay out of our wives hair. They have been managing our households quite well all these years, and that has not magically changed just because we are home. They do not want or need our advice or help doing the things they have been doing for years and years. As much as you keep your tools (or desk I guess) just the way you like it so it works for you, your wife has things organized and scheduled in a way that suits her. We are not going to interfere as it will not end well for us. As I am a hand on the stove kind of guy I can assure you of the accuracy of my statement here. As mine is fond of saying, "I'm not your entertainment director," which I believe loosely translated means "I don't care what you do so long as it's not right here right now." I joke about this but it is serious. By infringing on your wife's responsibilities without her asking you to, you are disrespecting her whether you realize it or not. If you are laid off then you're likely under enough strain as a couple anyway without adding disrespect into the mix.
Websites that I find helpful include;
ShadowStats (For accurate economic numbers)
Zerohedge (For a variety of economic news)
TheGuardian (Because in my opinion they are the last bastion of true journalism today)
Thanks for playing along, hopefully my writing can help someone some day half as much as it helps me. I will close tonight with a couple quotes that have been on my mind a lot lately.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.-Thomas Jefferson
(Notice he says all men and not all Americans. Food for thought)
Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
(Maybe some of our college kids these days, as they are busy protesting free speech and the right to bear arms, may take time in their busy days to reflect on this? Probably not but we can hope.)
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
Let it not be said among those that read this blog that I am not a patriot. This could not be further from the truth. I love this country and it's people. I love them enough that I educate myself, that I arm myself against what I perceive to be, while maybe not outright tyranny from our government, then certainly some very large steps in that direction.