One thing I often say to my dog is, “Go outside and bark at dumb stuff.” There’s never any real issue worth barking at out there. The neighbor’s dog barks, then the other dog barks, and then it’s my dog’s turn. Or there’s nothing at all there, perhaps a distant raccoon. But the dog is built that way, she needs to bark and act like a defender. Like Bill Cosby used to say, it just builds up inside her and has to come out. She has an excess of watchdog for our times.
I hear these interviews with business people in the media, who await the restoration of a healthy economy. Restaurants are only selling regular meals, not as many desserts and fancy drinks. The only industries that are doing alright are the ones that sell essential products at good prices. Walmart is in better shape than fancy department stores. Costume sales are down for Halloween. Office parties are trimmed down. People are bringing their lunch instead of eating out. I’ll even bet that waste going into landfills is down. There’s a can for people to pay for their coffee in the break room. People are trading in their huge-mobiles that were ready for a highway arms race for sedans. Tom and Ray Maggliozzi, the Car Guys, loved how all the Ford SUVs began with the letter E, the Explorer, the Expedition, Escape, Edge; the next would certainly be the Ford Excessive.
I say, what’s wrong with this kind of sensible living?
Excess. We are told that the economy only thrives when people buy a lot of stupid things. I really think there is something wrong with a world that only works when we get higher employment by people living extravagant and wasteful lives. I realize that one person’s fun and occasional splurge is another person’s astonishing foolish extravagance. But there remains a point. Why does the economy demand fluff and waste in order to see rewards trickle down?
Everyone would like a job that is high pay, high profit, high volume sales, low hours and low stress. And the highest profit items – amazingly – tend to get the best lobbied protection in congress. And tend to be very quiet secrets in the public. Sugar, bananas, soda pop, gas, pre-packaged junk food, all are high profit items. Don’t get me started on the whole concept of paying for water in a plastic bottle!
The trouble with the rich is that they do not let their wealth trickle down; they protect their money. People say, rather than raise taxes, just ask the rich to voluntarily send a check to the government. Right, sure. That happens just like the wealthy create jobs. Unless it’s a job selling fur sinks and electric dog polishers in the Club Med parking lot.
Here are lyrics to a song that helps make the point:
Just Live, Greg Brown
Ya stare at the sun, Ya run run run
When you’re done
Throw down the gun, And just live
Love has had it up to here, Nothing is clear
Wash your eyes with tears, Be of good cheer,
–Just live until you die, That’s all–just live
When your tired of cars, Tired of bars
Tired of stars, Tired of wars
Money and power don’t make the Dawn
Something else is going on
The faster it all goes, The slower I want to
Make love to you
When you’re worn down, like this town
And no friend can be found, I’ll be around–
Ya can walk with me, talk with me
Squawk with me and rock with me