Friday, August 6, 2010

Uncertain Times

I'm not really sure what I want to write about today.

I want to have some positive things to say but I can't think of any.  I'm not certain anyone is reading this stuff anymore.  If they do, does it really help?

The U.S. Economy

While I am not a big fan of government involvement in fiscal matters, since they tend to screw it up, I think I have figured out what will bring the economy back.  The problem is jobs.  Think of the economy as a closed system of sorts.  In an extreme oversimplification:  People work to make products, the products are sold to people (who buy the products), those purchases pay the people who make the products, and other products are then purchased by those people.  When this cycle is broken in some way the entire system breaks down.  In times when the economy is depressed, as it is now, people tend to conserve rather than spend (particularly on discretionary items) - especially if they don't have a job.  This causes more unemployment and so on.  So what can we do to break the downward spiral?  The answer is to get more people employed again.  To do that, we need more jobs.

First and foremost - people (that means us) need to realize the err of our ways.  Live within your means.  Don't have bunches of kids (be reasonable).  By "bunches" I mean more than two.  Stop being greedy and expecting to get paid more than what your job should pay based on your experience level.  If you want more money, then conserve or work to move into a job that pays better (which means you'll be working harder).  Stop being greedy (it required repeating).  Consider the impact you make on the world in your every action.  You're not the only one here.  All of these contribute to a stable community, which is a foundation for a stable economy.

Second, get jobs back into the United States.  It's time for the government to create a dis-incentive to outsource jobs to other countries.  NO, DO NOT create an INCENTIVE program to keep jobs within the U.S. -- business should be doing this anyway as good stewards to the communities they serve.  It's time to make outsourcing and the imbalance of imports financially painful.  If business feels the need to use cheaper foreign labor and materials (that will ultimately cost domestic workers their jobs), then this is when the government needs to create the equalizer, and then use the money to fund some (hopefully temporary) domestic public-sector projects that will keep people employed.  Normally these projects could wait until the economy is in better shape and there was sufficient tax revenue.  When people don't work, there isn't sufficient tax revenue, and more and more people end up sucking the system dry.  Businesses that outsource to foreign labor contribute to that problem.  So make them pay the price.  Otherwise, leave business alone and let them thrive doing what they do best.  They don't need a government hand-out.

Finally, a good economic system is not based on rabid consumption.  There are lots of things people use (consumables) in their everyday lives.  We don't need to create more of them.  There will always be good times and not-so-good times in any economy, but an economy built on normal consumption patterns and reasonable purchasing habits will become elastic.  When times are tight or times are better an elastic economy will weather the storm.  Every day isn't Christmas.  A happy balance between product-producing business and service-based business is what helps make this elasticity possible.

If people live their lives and actually do something instead of worshiping the almighty dollar and measuring their own worth based on what they have or how much they spend, it is amazing how well the economy can adjust when a single bad event happens.

I just got done watching Michael Moore's movie Capitalism:  A Love Story, and part of what I am writing is in response to this.  Michael Moore isn't much better than all the other conspiracy theorists out there.  Capitalism isn't evil - greed is evil.  Greed and stabbing thy neighbor in the back happens both in capitalism and socialism.  So don't tell me how a socialist utopia will be any better than what we have now.  Socialism has been tried and has failed, just as absolute capitalism has.  The answer lies not in absolutes, but in looking at the good attributes of both.  What we need now is for people - that is, people running corporations, people running banks, people buying homes, people doing what people do - to be responsible for their actions.  A corporation is a group of people.  Ruthless, greedy people need to be held accountable for their actions.  Greedy people include people who act as though they're always victims.  We're all victims of something.  Spending your life becoming a professional victim or vowing to make the victimizer pay their due is not a productive or happy life.

There, that was positive.  I just fixed the economy.

Relationships

I'm done with this topic.  Okay, almost done.  I'm really just tired of playing these games.

We all want to be wanted, to be admired, and to be cared for by someone.  Hopefully we all want to give that back in return.  For whatever reason that doesn't seem to be enough anymore.  While I fully admit to being a bit slow in showing how I feel, and I'm not very good expressing those feelings verbally or saying what needs to be said or doing what needs to be done at the right time, I feel I have given those feelings in some way to a number of people.  I haven't seen much come in my direction.  Okay, I understand that part of this is chemistry, and part of it is some feelings probably none of us can explain, but for goodness sake it feels like I'm some kind of alien from some other planet and nobody down here can figure me out.  I didn't think I was that complicated.  Yes, I am a bit of a curmudgeon ... alright, maybe not that extreme, maybe just a little eccentric ... but really, I'm not that hard to figure out.  Surely there has to be someone out there who has a heart and soul that is marching to the same drummer.

So while I'd still be happy to entertain a happy relationship with some woman, I'm tired of playing the stupid games that seem to be part of this.  Hopefully if I just be my grumpy old self, someone will see past the facade and see there's a real, feeling, human being in here.

Auto Tune

Okay, enough of the auto-tune crap.  I mean it.  Back in the 80s I discovered country music because I was tired of the electronic crap that made-up pop music.  There are some things that don't need a computer and myriad special effects, and one of those things is music.

At first, I started hearing blatant use of auto tune in the vocals of recent country music.  I thought my hearing was going bad.  Seriously, it sounds like someone put their voice into a sampler and started messing with the pitch wheel.  They think they're adjusting their voice so it's in tune to the music, but to my ears it's just distortion.

Then in the past month or so there comes along some of the most vile country crap I have ever put my ears on.  I'm not even sure who it was or what the title of the song is, but it has finally put the stake into the heart of any interest I have in country music from here on out.  Even some hardcore rap sounds better than this utter garbage.  (Sugarland, among others, I think you know who you are)  My clock radio has just been changed to the talk radio station.  Even Rush Limbaugh is more pleasant to wake-up to than something that has been auto tuned.

So I don't care if you're trying to be funny, or if you're trying to sound like you have talent, I'm putting my foot down.  Enough already.  Find some talent and a set of traditional instruments and learn how to play them, and learn how to sing on-key.  Otherwise go away.  Please.

Anyway, I guess I did have something to say today...

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