457 - Sad reality
Thursday, January 29, 2009

This is obviously a sad and tragic story. I hope you can tolerate my comments without finding me overly cold or insensitive. If you can't, stop reading and come back another time.

"after a horrendous ordeal, my wife felt it better to end our lives; and why leave our children in someone else's hands ... we have no job and 5 children under 8 years with no place to go. So here we are."

What gets me so upset about this story is not what one might expect: the violence. The coverage of this story seems to miss the point; this is not about the recession. Not, that is to say, caused by it. It is an insight into the American attitude that caused the recession.

Let me do this in stream of consciouses format:

Somehow buying a huge home with a "bonus room" and "master bedroom", and having 5 kids, and two large cars (one truck, one SUV), is expected to be easy. Somehow Americans seem to think that they are entitled to this kind of excessive luxury. I expect that these two were deep in debt and living from one paycheck to the next. Is it really the fault of their employer, then, that losing a job will instantly put them in peril? (Not to mention the fact that they could have both collected unemployment money for several months, while they gasp looked for new jobs and worked hard. Honestly I wonder if they even knew they could collect checks immediately and for a substantial period of time.)

How many people are starving for the lack of food or money that this American dream family wasted? How many gallons of oil did they consume?

I live in a 1 bedroom apartment, have zero cars. Where does all my money go? Into banks so that I can save for the future. So that I could live for actually more than a year if I lost my job (which is sadly quite possible!) I am still young, but plan on having a family of reasonable size. Perhaps two biological children. If I want more, adoption would be the responsible option. I wont go for 5 children at any time. I dont expect to live in a house that by all measures in any other country would be a mansion.

Cnn covers this story as if the recent massive recession and loss of jobs is to blame here. As if this guy (who must have been a gun collector and a violent criminal at heart) wasnt really going to shoot everyone at some point down the line when life got hard, even if he held on to this job this time. No the blame goes to the mentally ill parents (or just the father perhaps), and in no small part to the fact that it was easy for him to get a gun. Because he could just have likely (and to my mind it would have made more sense) shot up his office killing innocent people who were actually happy with life.

If you want to blame someone for our recession, look no further than people like Ervin Antonio Lupoe himself. The massive debt, the greed, and having 5 kids within a few years of each other. Living for the moment never turns out well. And all the same, somehow I (via the Federal government) have to pay for this?

Obama's absurd $815 Billion was recently passed; tacked on to the $750 Billion already committed to corporate bailouts. Add to this the costs of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Katrina ($200 billion is one figure). An economic downturn (a recession, but not nearly as bad as some make it out to be) was caused by, more than anything, irresponsible borrowing and spending, and treating real estate like some kind of stock investments on margin. So our reaction is to spend even more money, in record breaking lump sums, and borrow against the future. Does this not seem even a tiny bit foolish?

I doubt that more unsustainable spending; more borrowing is going to fix anything. If anything, it will just do more damage in the long run. And it certainly will cost people like me money (those who save rather than spend): for the $500 tax credit I will get later this year, I will be taking on thousands of dollars in my personal share of the Federal debt to be paid at some time in the future. But maybe we can pass this debt along to our children. Then it will be ok after all, as long as we can live in a big house with 5 cars and 10 kids. As long as we dont lose our jobs...

CNN Source

Also, along similar angry ranting lines, here is a funny story. Turns out that the woman who recently had 8 children (endangering all of their lives in the process), already had 6 to begin with, between the ages of 7 and 2. That is a total of, if my calculator is accurate, about 14 children. By any stretch of the imagination, can this be a good idea? Back in the day when mortality was 50% before adulthood, this may have been a good idea. Now it is just irresponsible. The resources used by this one family are staggering. How are they going to pay for this? Etc.

Oh and guess where these kids were delivered? None other place than Kaiser Permanente (possibly founded by Kaiser Sozey). Why would a woman with 6 kids, aged 33, be allowed to get 8 implanted embryos?

CNN: mother of 14
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Thursday, January 29, 2009  
  • At 1/29/09, 2:12 PM, Blogger Ruth said…

    Great points. Where did the idea come from that everyone has to own a house even?

  • At 1/29/09, 4:40 PM, Blogger Arjan said…

    agreement here. My parents got two cars, but the 2nd is a worn down fiat panda..and only because they really can't go without it (they both have to drive a distance for work). There's 3 years between my elder sister and me and almost 4 years between me and my younger brother. They live in the northern part of the Netherlands because they wouldn't be able to affort the same house say..near Amsterdam.

    The bank would give them a mortgage to be 'able' to buy such a house, but that would be a killer mortgage with the risks you described. Thankfully they thought a bit longer.

  • At 1/29/09, 8:32 PM, Blogger R2K said…

    Arjan Americans could learn so much from Europeans... how to live life on a reasonable scale.

  • At 1/30/09, 3:08 AM, Blogger wiseman1stopcentre said…

    be positive!...happy with ur life!..
    Law of attraction will do for u!

  • At 1/30/09, 7:42 AM, Blogger Diamante15 said…


  • At 2/1/09, 9:39 AM, Blogger thimscool said…

    Ha. My family used to have a FIAT panda too, Arjan.

    Fix It Again Tomorrow.

    R2k, you aren't wrong, but it would be possible to extend your arguments into a very negative territory.

    Remember that the vast majority of folks that are suffering in this global recession are not like this bizarre family. They have gone from poor and poorly fed to desperate and hungry.

    Even here in America the vast majority of those that will lose their jobs and houses were not so foolish. And they won't react with a murder/suicide either, unless we mean suicide by cop.

    If everyone pays an equal amount then your share of the bailouts is in the tens of thousands by now. But even if we had a completely regressive flat tax, the income distribution would ensure that your share is substantially less than an equal cut.

    Instead we should have a progressive consumption tax, and to those that wish to dodge it by moving their corporate headquarters to Belize, revoke their corporate charter. At the very least it should be law that the federal government awards no contract to corporations that use offshore havens as a tax dodge (like the infamous Haliburton, but many others too).

    Our generation is that first one that is experiencing lowered expectations from those of our parents (the me generation). While I don't think that I should necessarily get one more bedroom and car than my parents had, it's definitely sad to see our culture in decline.

  • At 2/1/09, 3:54 PM, Blogger R2K said…

    Thim the great depression was significantly worse than this recession. And then very few of the people getting hurt had anything to do with the cause. This is different: first of all very few people are starving: a family that loses a home is going to have to move into an apartment. God forbid they should live like.... well like me.

    People like me who did the right thing.... why should we have to deal with all the sob stories? If a person can afford to buy a house, they can afford to rent an apartment.

  • At 2/1/09, 8:11 PM, Blogger thimscool said…

    I was speaking about the global recession, and the effect on the poor worldwide. It's not pretty.

    If you want to limit the discussion to America then here is my response:

    Home ownership is the American dream for a reason. It speaks of the cultural yearning of a strong middle class that has the resources and the time to take care of their own family and has the resources to deal with adversity.

    The family whose photo appears above took it waaaaay too far beyond their means. But on the other hand, you live in NYC, for whatever crazy reason. Of course you rent. Your rent is probably higher than my mortgage payment for a modest 1400 sq. ft. house here in Palookaville.

    Time is money. If we build a society with a strong middle class and a proper income distribution, that means that the average man, woman, and child has free time to enrich themselves.

    Of course the financial elite want to say that the commoners will only use that time to play video games and use their money for crack and hookers. That is their rationalization for fucking their fellow humans.

    But the reality is that gray matter is useless without the time and resources to actually sit, think, and come up with the ideas that fuel our future. The greatest genius that ever affected reality, Guass, was the son of a brick layer. Sure he had natural talent. he also had the time to explore it without the need to go hustle for a loaf of bread.

    So kudos to you for being able to save while living in your zip code. And no, I don't think it's fair for you to pay for dipshitz that want 3 SUV's and premium cable TV on two worker's salary. But on the other hand, if you are going to prop up your world view on the back of this family and your own, I'll have to request that you think a little more about what caused this problem.

    But what do I know, I'm from Palookaville.

  • At 2/4/09, 8:38 AM, Blogger R2K said…

    It is far more efficient to live in a city than in a home in the country. If you are upset about starving children in Africa, look no farther than your big home and cars, or the fact that you may drive 10 miles to buy milk.

    What you call middle class, is wealthy by any reasonable measure. If everyone in the world were to live like you (with a home), we would need several planets just to support that.

    I do my part, I share a building with 10 other people. I use mass transit, I recycle, and most of my life takes place within a 10 mile radius.

    If you want to own a home, dont complain to me when your plans fall apart. You are obviously making it work, because you must be smart. But millions are not. And it isnt my fault.

    I dont think this recession is hurting the poor that much: they have always been poor and are still poor. No better, no worse.

  • At 2/5/09, 12:47 PM, Blogger Nashe^ said…

    That house is like half the size of my town. You guys could definitely learn from Asians too. LOL.

  • At 2/5/09, 1:24 PM, Blogger thimscool said…

    1400 sq. ft. is about 10 meters by 20 meters (1 floor). You live in a very small town.

  • At 2/5/09, 1:58 PM, Blogger thimscool said…

    R2K, I think you are conflating some issues.

    I'm not gonna argue that living in the country promotes a more efficient per capita use of resources, because it clearly does not. However, efficiency and economics are not a one to one relationship. On the contrary, the current understanding of economics depends strongly on increasing consumption of resources. Whether "socialist" or "capitalist", the modern understanding of economics is all about grow or die.

    "Middle class" only makes sense within the context of an integrated economy and political unit. I cannot control what laws are passed in Zimbabwe, nor is my relative political/economic power dependent on them in any way. It is a relative measure. The fact that I am inconceivably wealthy to a beggar in Bangladesh does not make me upper class any more than the fact that I drink better wine than Louis XIV.

    It is true that if everyone on the planet lived like me we'd be sunk, except for the fact that would never happen because the price of commodities would increase to the point that no-one could afford to live like me except the very rich. As the economy becomes more globally integrated, this means that we first-worlders should expect our standards of living to decrease as the rest of the world asserts their right to a piece of the pie.

    But I am all for the idea of making the pie bigger by getting several planets under our control, as you suggest.

    My house and car have next to nothing to do with children starving in Africa, and I challenge you to back that up, or retract it.

    The fact that I own my home, rather than rent it, is not going to change the efficiencies of the situation. The fact that you rent your apartment rather than own it, means that you are enriching someone else by supporting their ability to afford a diminishing commodity (livable space). So, leaving aside your wish that we all live in urban areas like the Soviets (making ourselves easy prey for a nuke), you still have to sort out how you feel that money should be allocated fairly by society.

    And finally, the recession is most definitely hurting the poor and increasing their ranks. The working poor are losing their jobs at an alarming rate. The poor who were/are not working are losing out on many of the resources that were available to them before the recession, due to the straight-up evaporation of much philanthropic capital. A few of my clients are non-profits that directly assist poor families in this and other countries. They are struggling to maintain themselves in this new environment, and a very hopeful that the federal government will make up for the short-fall in revenue that they previously got from private donors.

Post a Comment
<< Home
About R2K

You found hidden text! __ __ __ ???©??åß碧•?©ƒªºøˆ¨†¬???©ƒ?ßå??ç? ?˜µ<=>=÷æ…“‘«!=–ºª•¶§?¢£™¡ ???©??åß碧•?©ƒªºøˆ¨†¬???©ƒ?ßå??ç? ?˜µ<=>=÷æ…“‘«!=–ºª•¶§?¢£™¡ ???©??åß碧•?©ƒªºøˆ¨†¬???©ƒ?ßå??ç? ?˜µ<=>=÷æ…“‘«!=–ºª•¶§?¢£™¡ ???©??åß碧•?©ƒªºøˆ¨†¬???©ƒ?ßå??ç? ?˜µ<=>=÷æ…“‘«!=–ºª•¶§?¢£™¡ ???©??åß碧•?©ƒªºøˆ¨†¬???©ƒ?ßå??ç? ?˜µ<=>=÷æ…“‘«!=–ºª•¶§?¢£™¡ ???©??åß碧•?©ƒªºøˆ¨†¬???©ƒ?ßå??ç? ?˜µ<=>=÷æ…“‘«!=–ºª•¶§?¢£™¡ ???©??åß碧•?©ƒªºøˆ¨†¬???©ƒ?ßå??ç? ?˜µ<=>=÷æ…“‘«!=–ºª•¶§?¢£™¡