Sunday, November 14, 2010

The crisis in the US and a weird weekend

A friend, an Austin attorney, sent an e-mail to about 70 people, as he put it, of all political persuasions and faiths, about what he sees as the looming crisis in the U.S. economic situation. Of course, he's not alone, but he made a cogent case because he is, in his own words, not one to be concerned about terrorists, tornadoes, and all the other threats around us--he generally feels it will work out. But the national debt has jarred him out of his complacency: the debt is now at something like $13.75 billion, with a ceiling of $14 billion. If Congress raises the ceiling, the U.S. (if I understand this correctly) doesn't have the assets to back that up and things could come to a screeching halt. Besides, the prospect of unanimity in the incoming legislature seems nil to me. Monte's question: what can we, as citizens, do about it?
I haven't read many answers but almost uniformly the few I've read said compromise and bipartisan politics are the answers,with which I agree wholeheartedly. But John Boehner has been quoted as saying he's ready for a fight, and Mitch McConnell sounds the same way, although the president has made compromise noises, even about the tax cuts for the rich. I totally disagree with that (if anybody's interested). I keep hearing the mantra, "You don't raise taxes in a time of recession." Of course, you don't raise taxs on lower income and middle class people--they'll stop buying and putting money into the economy. But those with incomes of $500,000 or more annually? They'll still buy what they want and invest as they please. I think it's a no-brainer, but I'm not an economist.
In the course of this I've corresponded with a woman who is--I won't get this right, Linnea, and I apologize--a professor of business law in a law school (I lost the email and don't know where but somewhere in California). In her answer she referred to a book titled The Fourth Turning, which proposes that there are four crises in American history: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War (fought because things had gotten beyond compromise), the Great Depression/WWII and, now, the economic crisis. Linnea suggests we are well into the fourth crisis.
What can we as citizens do? I have no idea. I don't think letter writing is effective. In fact I think nothing short of a movement like MLK started will do the trick to get the Washington heads to listen up and work for the good of the country and not the party. I am not optimistic, and the whole thing depressed me all weekend--but I made a new friend, and that's nice.
Other than that, it's been a bad 24 hours. Last night about ten I started to feel queasy but I thought it would go away. Wrong. As I started to brush my teeth I got violently ill--twice. Decided with some apprehension I'd go to bed--I was afraid of throwing up during the night. So I turned off the light on my desk--and the chain came off in my hand! This morning, I felt fine so it was something I ate--I have my suspicions that but's too much information for a blog. But I realized that I've gotten a stubborn stain on my favorite gray sweatshirt/jacket, I can't log into E-vite, I haven't lost weight on Weight Watchers even though I've been oh-so-careful, well the last few days anyway. There was more for my litany of complaints and I was ready with them when Jordan and Jacob arrived for lunch--when I asked for sympathy, she said, "I'm thinking." Well, she was stuck on what made me sick which to me was now in the past and I wanted to deal with the other problems.
In spite of all my complaints, it's been a quiet but nice weekend. I did a lot of cooking--all the baking for the holidays. Today I made Jordan's favorite--chocolate chip bars. The recipe makes a ton, but it is messy to deal with, even messier getting the bars out of the pans and into bags to freeze, let alone washing the pans. I realize that I've gone through several T-shirts this weekend and maybe permanently stained a couple--they're soaking now. I must learn to wear an apron. I made bison meatloaf (Weight Watchers shows no such item but it should be low in ponts) for supper, along with roasted Brussel sprouts and a bit of squash casserole.
Tonight, the world looks a little brighter. I've resigned myself to looking like my mom with spotted clothes. At least they're clothes I only wear around the house--there's a good reason I don't cook in good clothes! My neighbors have put twinkly lights on the new trellis, and I can see it from my desk--gets me in the holiday mood. I'll do battle with e-vite later on and will take the lamp to the hardware tomorrow. Now what were my other complaints?

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