Friday, August 20, 2010

Hopeably

A couple of days ago I was having The Worst Day Ever.

Overslept. Woke up with a stiff neck. Kid wouldn't eat her breakfast. Blew out my flipflop. Stepped on pop top. Cut my heel had to cruise on back home. You know the kind of day. I'm sure you been there yourself.

Anyway as per usual, later in the day I took part of my lunch hour to do a little headline scanning, a little keeping up on current events. Man was that a bad idea. Not a good day to read a bunch of depressing news.

It started with the realization that within a couple of years, all of our antibiotics will be completely useless.

Turns out that while we've been focusing our pharmaceutical R&D on longer hair, lower cholesterol and erecter penises, bacteria have been naturally selecting themselves to be more bad ass than any drug we have on the shelves.

So sometime within the next decade, medical science will be set back 60 years. Simple procedures like a tonsillectomy will carry life-or-death risk.

Then that bleak little tidbit was followed by a reminder (as if I needed it) that the United States is bankrupt, and most just haven't admitted it yet.

Decades of overspending and over promising "entitlements" in exchange for votes have left the U.S. in a gigantic fiscal hole that will have to be filled somehow. You think Greece had it bad with their "austerity" measures? Well, you can say adiĆ³s to your cushy 33% tax bracket my friend.
We have 78 million baby boomers who, when fully retired, will collect benefits from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that, on average, exceed per-capita GDP. The annual costs of these entitlements will total about $4 trillion in today’s dollars. Yes, our economy will be bigger in 20 years, but not big enough to handle this size load year after year.

This is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight, taking ever larger resources from the young and giving them to the old while promising the young their eventual turn at passing the generational buck.

Herb Stein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under U.S. President Richard Nixon, coined an oft-repeated phrase: “Something that can’t go on, will stop.” True enough. Uncle Sam’s Ponzi scheme will stop. But it will stop too late.

And it will stop in a very nasty manner.
There was still more bleak news. Deflation is here. Unemployment is getting worse. The housing market is a disaster. And perhaps the saddest report of all, that 100 year old Scotch they found in Antarctica? Yeah, nobody will be allowed to drink it. It will be wasted instead of tasted.

I tells ya, it's almost enough to make you want to watch a Lady Gaga video some days.

But then I heard something that really helped. A nice little piece of fortune cookie philosophy that, while simplistic, is amazingly pertinent and powerful. It's a single line from 30th Century philosopher and poet Phillip J. Fry, who once said to a despondent colleague
You can't give up hope just because it's hopeless. You gotta hope even more and cover your ears and go "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!"

Wise words indeed.

Probably the best thing to do is kick back, watch some reality TV, keep my credit card debt paid off, try to enjoy the tumble down the cultural decline we're all in the midst of and hope it gets better.

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1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of the age old question, "...other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

    ReplyDelete

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