Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An unexpected waterfall

Suddenly it is dark for most of my delivery route on the weekdays. I imagine that the tipping point occurred during my vacation as I was beginning to notice less daylight two weeks ago. Strange, as I initially enjoyed delivering in the dark but as the days lengthened I became used to having more light and enjoyed that even more. Does it mean I am more flexible to my surroundings or just wishy-washy in my opinion as to which I like the best.

Speaking of wishy-washy, it is clear that the recent debt debate was politically motivated. It is easy enough to review past votes on the debt ceiling to see that for the most part, Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling while Bush II was president while Democrats voted against it. The fact that our national debt doubled from 2000 to 2008 seems lost on those Republican reps who voiced outrage at the recent sharp increases, and just as equally lost on those Democrats who knew that we were spending too much money (specifically on unfunded wars) and raising too little revenue (see Bush tax cuts) during those years but now suddenly preached anarchy and economic collapse if the ceiling was not raised.

When will our politicians begin making decisions which reflect what is needed to solve America's problems? Perhaps when voters, the most wishy-washy bunch of all, begin to understand that America's greatness is not in its military power or rich Wall street hedge fund managers or even in its multi-national corporations, but in our middle class. Those earning between $40-90K per year, the people who work 30, 40, even 50 years, some for themselves, many for small businesses. The people who lack special organizations and high paid lobbyists.

The people who, if they spent even 1/10 of the time that is spent watching American Idol or sports or sitcoms or action movies, on understanding the beauty and power of our three branches of government. Perhaps if we could name the nine members of our Supreme Court, or three or even four members of the president's cabinet just as easily as we can name the members of the Jersey Shore cast or their favorite sports team then we could make decisions in the voting booth that would reflect an understanding of our place in the world and our economic future and we might elect leaders who could distill those disparate voices into policies that, while they may not match perfectly with each individual's desires, they would match closely with our collective needs.

Speaking of needs, we were treated with a waterfall over our retaining wall last Friday. Unfortunately, the waterfall was caused by a burst pipe which ran from the street to our home. With the help of our neighbors we still had water for the week, and with the help of a plumber, backhoe operator and the backs of four hardworking, middle class Americans, our pipe was replaced and the water flowed under the retaining wall rather then over it.

I have not received the bill yet, but it will certainly exceed my emergency fund. So I will be required to increase my household debt. It is a good thing that I don't have a balanced budget requirement in place or I would have had to wait, perhaps the rest of the year to have saved the money to replace the pipe. I wonder how those who are clamoring for a balanced budget amendment for the federal government will react when they have their own unexpected waterfall, either personal or federal.

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