The Coming Storm

Posted on 21 February 2010

In the James Hilton novel, Lost Horizon, the High Lama reveals to his predecessor that a great storm is coming to engulf the world.  At the storm’s conclusion, the treasures of Shangri-La (heaven-on-Earth) were promised to emerge, thereby restoring a ravaged world.  In his prognostications, the spiritual leader also echoed Jesus Christ in predicting that the meek would inherit the Earth.

Unfortunately, Lost Horizon is a work of pure fiction.  The truth of the matter is, it will not be a happy ending after the great storm in America subsides.  The storm in question is, of course, the collapse of our financial institutions and, fittingly, the government that allowed it to happen. Although our present administration pontificates that our “recovery” in the wake of the $710 billion bailout is working and the future looks brighter, this storm has been brewing for quite a while now, and no hurricane hunter’s device tossed into its eye is going to deflate it.

California’s Governor has announced that his State can no longer fund itself, and has requested that the Federal government bail it out.  If the former mighty “Conan the Barbarian” can be felled by such a storm, what shelter exists for the common man and woman?  And, California is just the tip of the iceberg, as more States totter on the edge of financial ruin.  How many bailouts can the taxpayers afford?

Despite the rape and pillage of our economy by big business buying off elected officials, there has been no fiscal restraint in Washington or even at the State level. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is a strategy that does not work when our President asks citizens to tighten the belt even further as he uses that belt to strangle taxpayers with the costs linked to a proposed national healthcare system.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Americans had enjoyed an increasingly prosperous economy from the time that World War II ended, until President Bush, Senior, marched us into Saudi Arabia, thus sending interest rates skyrocketing.  The post-WWII boom began with an exploding housing industry, the advent of technology, and the race to space, which we won.  Considering that a relative blink of an eye earlier, our people were hurling themselves out of buildings due to the Stock Market crash, our fiscal rebound was an amazing accomplishment on a national level!  We pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps following the Great Depression, thanks largely to the institution of FDR’s social programs (including Social Security and Medicare).  Once the war ended, peace and prosperity reigned.

Now deeming these programs “entitlements,” our government claims that their wells of funding are running dry and cannot be sustained. I don’t know about you, but when I hear our Congressmen and media reps talk about “entitlements,” as if it is a dirty world, it makes my blood boil.  If the perks given to our so-called leaders of industry and government are not entitlements, then what is?

The difference between their entitlements and ours is that we average, law abiding, hard-working slobs actually contributed to our programs with our hard-earned dollars, the same as we do when we buy any insurance policy!  There is no doubt in my mind that the program funds were mismanaged, misappropriated, and (oh, why don’t I just come out and say it?) stolen, period, for purposes other than their original intent, which was to support the common workingman and woman!

When the government decides that it is time to take fiscal responsibility and make the first cut in spending, what will be cut?  Will we as a nation reduce aid to foreign countries (a calculated ploy to buy their friendship)?  Will we cut future bailouts to institutions whose CEO’s still crisscross the country in private jets and give immense bonuses to their higher-ups, even as they plead for the handouts?  Will we continue to reward corporations who export American jobs?  My guess is, we will, and thereby will escalate the screwing over of the taxpayers!

If we all manage to survive somehow until 2012, the results of the Presidential election will herald the path that America will take. I portend that fiscal responsibility will not come without pain to America’s citizens.  Cutting spending is akin to attempting to break a bad habit, without being armed with the necessary resources.  Hopefully, wise men and women will step forward to suggest a solution that will ease the suffering while we go through an even bigger withdrawal: the separation from our earnings and the social programs into which we have paid.

Perhaps, in the end, the meek will not inherit the earth.  Perhaps, in the end, only those robust taxpaying souls strong enough and resilient enough will survive yet another national crisis.

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- who has written 267 posts on Write On New Jersey.

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5 Responses to “The Coming Storm”

  1. Latisha Dorcas says:

    hey this blog is great. I’m glad I came by this blog.

  2. Sammy K. says:

    Well, Tom, you’ve done it again with another well-thought out article. In my opinion, the only storm I’d like to see is one huge “sky funnel” rip through every legislative body at the Federal and State levels. Only when we can begin with a clean slate will the average hard working citizen have a prayer of survival.

  3. Juliana Goffigan says:

    This blog is great.

  4. Andrew Falgout says:

    OMG… People, our democracy don’t looks like it seems to work so well lately. Sometimes i wonder if european and other countries are pointing the the US. We start to look like a 3rd world country these days …

  5. Bonsey says:

    One can imagine I read it twice. While I am not as skilled on this topic, I tally with your conclusions because they create sense. Thanks and goodluck to you.

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