Friday, August 15, 2008

Want some cheese with that whine?

I do believe that if I hear one more pandering politician, or one more blathering commentator, opine, with all the solemnity of an undertaker, that "people are hurting out there" in reference to our current economic situation, I'm going to throw my coffee mug straight at my 50 inch plasma. Well, maybe I'll just go down to the kitchen and unplug the 13 inch LED, instead. At any rate, I'm growing rather weary of being told how "bad" things are right now.

Hmmm... Let's take a gander at the facts, shall we?

I'll give you that it makes my throat constrict more than a bit when I pay $60 to fill my gas tank. I do long for the days when gas was 50 cents a gallon--yep, I'm that old. But, I recall that while I was paying less than $10 to fill up my tank, my starter family (Miss Brenda and I) only had a $500 a month income. Adjusted for inflation, we aren't spending any more of our monthly income on energy than we were 32 years ago.

The payments on the new car I just bought for Miss Brenda are nearly the same as the payments on the first house we bought 21 years ago. But, back then my monthly income as a captain was less than what my current mortgage is. And my current mortgage isn't very big, as middle class mortgages go. I know people making a lot less than me living in much bigger houses with three new vehicles in the garage. They ain't "hurting."

Heck, we've had much worst times than this just in the last 40 years; and the gas lines and inflation of the 70's was nothing compared to the rationing and shortages our parents and grandparents endured during the Second World War. And they had it good compared to what our grandparents and great grandparents went through during the Great Depression.

We are the most spoiled population on the planet. We have unlimited information and entertainment on demand wherever we go via cable, satellite, and cell towers. Our cars make the Jetsons' look like jalopies. We can go an entire month without dirtying one dish in our kitchens--there's a drive-through eatery or budget restaurant on every corner. And, when we do dirty a dish we have a dishwasher into which to drop it and a squirt of soap, and presto, clean dish. I was the dishwasher in my house growing up, and I was told that I should count myself blessed that I didn't have to go outside to the pump for dishwater and shovel coal into the pot-bellied stove to heat the water.

Unemployment, while edging up a bit, is still at historically low levels.

We are at war and there's no draft, no rationing, no shortages, no victory gardens, no sacrifice whatsoever for the vast majority of our population.

The temperature in most of our homes never swings more than 5 degrees either side of 70.

Obesity is the fastest growing health threat in America. Hard times? Hardly.
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