A few months ago a certain head of a certain private SC university and Dew reader called me a “fatalist.” I’m not. I’m an American. Americans are always optimists. I’m just happen to be near the top of my personal bell curve of cynicism. It seemed at the time, for good cause, but not now.
A new study just out for 2009 says that despite the record unemployment, layoffs, furloughs, downsizing, off-shoring, Wall Street crash, real estate crash, and worst depression since Prozac was allowed to advertise on TV, it seems that millionaires in the US grew by 16% to 7.8 million and those whose worth is over $5 million was up 17%. The study goes on to project that the concentration of wealth, should it continue as it did during the Bush years, will have us looking like Mexico in 2048*. Now I know what you are thinking: that will solve the illegal immigration problem. See? I’m not a fatalist.
More statistics out: the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of unemployed workers age 55 and older jumped 70% in 2008 and AARP reports it has jumped 331% during the Bush years (from 2000-2009, the numbers rose from 490,000 to 2,114,000). Those in this demo know full well that their experience, work ethic and talents aren’t worth the cost of pension plans and health care anymore and that Walmart is always an option. Age discrimination be damned, seniors still have it better than convicted felons and those wishing to have an experience with an airline terrorist. See? I’m not a fatalist.
More statistics also from the Bureau of Labor Statistics… Men, it seems, have it worse when it comes to unemployment during this “worst recession since the really great one” at least percentage wise, than women. White men, it seems, have it worse, at least percentage wise, than black or hispanic men.** See? There’s no plot. The Bushies surely wouldn’t have done this on purpose. See? I’m no fatalist, this is a great step forward in narrowing the disparity of racial and gender unemployment rates.
Now I could go on with reports on foreclosures, credit card defaults, business closings, tax collections, and those who lost their health insurance, but that would be the type of tactic a fatalist would employ. Not me. I’m truly optimistic that the markets will correct and all will be just wonderful if we can only kill this health care bill; quit supporting the unemployed; stop the government regulation of banks and Wall Street; reform those torts which allow people to sue when their lives have been destroyed by our innocent corporations who are just trying their tiny little hearts out to employ as many people (in the third world) as possible; and, for gawd’s sake, get that deficit under control while cutting taxes and increasing highway and military spending. Oh yeah, and protecting marriage. And, supporting Israel. And, getting rid of that awful socialist program Americorp. And, of course, make everyone start carrying guns. And, protect that super minority rule in the Senate. And, well, I’d better just stop there, ‘cause I’m sure the markets will take care of everything for everyone.
Sarcastic, you decide.
* Closer to us than 1970.
**Black men still have higher unemployment rates than white men, just the percentage increase last year was lower, which, statistically, is probably because it was sooooo friggin’ high already.