By Daniel J. Perin
So far for the first 10 days of the month of October, my retirement account has already lost 2% of its value due to the market uncertainty about the US default possibility. During the 2008 Major Recession I sustained approximately a 15% loss, even though I have an adequate balance spread of assets. Thanks to the stock market recovery since 2008 I recovered most of that loss. However, each time the government fails to do its job and the markets and general economy take losses it becomes a bigger problem for those of us on fixed incomes. It takes longer to recover, if at all. The time span some of us have for that recovery does not match the value of retirement funds. What that means for those who have little or nothing to meet these set backs is that they may well require public assistance, the last thing any of us want. (And, incidentally, what the Republicans rant about--"takers" on the dole--and for which they are the primary cause).
This is simply my observation of the stupidity of the small segment of Republicans who do not care about the dire results the public will sustain due to their ineptitude and callous egotistic, self-serving actions. I am hopeful and I will survive because that is the basis of my belief system, but there is an increasing number of folks experiencing loss for the first time in their otherwise prosperous lives where they did not give a thought to broader economic issues. Now, faced with economic uncertainty without adequate savings or retirement planning, they are scared out of their gourds and immobilized by that fear. Then irrationality takes hold and the blame game begins.
Failure to recognize personal responsibility for your own well being makes it far too easy to believe someone else is responsible for your problems. Part of our responsibility concerns maintaining an active interest in who is representing us at local, state and national levels. If we do not pay attention to how we are being represented, or what our particular interests are in the first place, we end up with misrepresentation and "me first" politicians totally disconnected from their constituents. Talk about "government out of control," who do you think is supposed to control government? We are--you and me as we learn of the issues and vote responsibly (not just during presidential election years). It is the off-year elections where you send representatives to the House Of Representatives, currently held by intractable Republicans who are blocking ANY serious action.
Finally, I suppose we each have our "favorite" media channels, primarily the ones that we agree with. Listening only to one side of the issues cannot possibly give us an understanding of those issues sufficient to make wise choices. I know I have my favorites as well. I admit, though, that I get so upset with their positions at times that I have to leave the room or turn them off. There is no "right" or "wrong" side to the issues we face. There are opinions, justifiably held, but hopefully open to discussion and COMPROMISE. What we hear clearly from the Republican representatives with one voice is: NO COMPROMISE! And out the other side of their mouth they accuse the President of being unwilling to have a CONVERSATION about the issues. They forget he already compromised and the result was the Sequester that cut off funding for numerous projects essential to various aspects of our society. The Sequester came about because when the bill came due to "s**t, or get off the pot" the Republicans decided not to live up to the agreement that was the result of the President and Congress COMPROMISING.
How many of us have yelled out on Twitter, Facebook, or other social/news media outlets: "Throw all the bums out and start over"? Or how many of us have suggested that if Congress cannot do the work required to keep the government operating, their salaries should be the first to go? Why should they maintain their perks while they cut off the rest of us? These may seem to be valid arguments and worthy of consideration AFTER we turn the lights back on! Unfortunately, once the lights ARE back on most of us return to our self-interests ignorant of what is going on around us.
Personal disclaimer: I have been so disgusted lately that I have, for the most part, stopped reading/watching most news programs, cut off media blogs and news feeds and simply concentrated on my own personal interests. This "rant" is a partial return to voicing my strong opinions and restarting my study of the issues and participation, one step at a time, in the political process. Not sure how far it will take me this time around.