Sunday, March 7, 2010
Spring is finally here
Well, it turns out, at least in Northeastern Vermont, that the groundhog from Pennsylvania was WRONG. Spring is here and with it the hopes of a new brighter year. The fishing, camping and hiking tourists will be here soon and with them, their dollars to stimulate our economy. And, boy, do we need it. As we haven't had consistent winters here the past few years, the skiing and snowmobile seasons have been dismal. Ah, but that is winter, and now we're into spring. The April showers and May flowers, at least as the cliche goes. However, this is going to be a particularly hard spring for a lot of people this year. I'm of course talking about the people that make up the 10.4% of Americans that are unemployed. Instead of being able to enjoy the splendors of nature, they have to struggle just to make sure that they can just get through a day. They have to do all they can to make sure that they, and their families can have a place to stay and something to eat. It is tragic to think that in the richest country in the world, there are so many that exist as though we were still a developing country. These people make those that are suffering from poverty, working for minimum wage, as well off. And the problem is our antiquated and broken economy and social welfare systems. Instead of evolving the way they should have since the Great Depression, they were forced to just do their jobs as though nothing has changed in America in the past 80 years. However, with the decline in manufacturing, the increase in technology and information, and the fluctuating majority age of our population (yes I'm blaming you baby boomers), we have not been able to support our population the way we should have. And now, we're supporting more people than our budget can handle. As I said before, we have 10.4% of unemployed people. Now add the 7.2% of Americans that are retired and drawing off Social Security. Now add the 12% of our population that is, also, drawing off social security and medicare. And finally, add the 24.3% of our population that's under 18, and thus, not able to contribute to the labor pool. This totals53.9% of the US population that is not able to contribute to our economy. 53.9%. Over half our population is not working. Over half. This leaves the other half to pick up the slack. But as 10% of our population controls the majority of our nation's wealth, there is no way for the rest of the populace to pick up the burden. Is it any wonder why we're suffering right now. They say our economy is on the upswing, but how does that help, when we're still unemployed. With the swell of more baby boomers retiring and labor of all kinds being outsourced to other nations, our plight is only going to get worse. Sadly, the swine flu epidemic was a potential, if not macabre, source of hope. With it's estimates, at the time, of possibly 50% of our population contracting the virus, and most of those people dying from it, it would have reduced our population enough to potentially balance the scales of our income and outgo of social benefits. However, this was, also, another thing that didn't do any work (or earn any wages ). Welcome to the future. If something extreme isn't done, one way or another, all Americans will feel the pain of supporting too much on their backs. Well, at least we'll have our WONDERFUL health care system to take care of us for that.