Thursday, February 03, 2005

they break it, we own it.

I avoided the halting, robotic tones of our POTUS last night. I couldn’t take it. Last year, my distaste of the POTUS drove me nearly insane. I’m determined to hold on tightly to mental health so I told A—that we weren’t watching it. Not when everything he says is lies and stupidity.

Bitch, PhD has a nice summary of what this crap ‘ownership society’ means – “you’re all on your own, fuckers.” Think your employer owes you anything? Think again – pay for your healthcare all on your own – you own that. Think insurance companies have an obligation to insure you? Think again. You own it. Think your government has an obligation to make sure its citizens face the future with some kind of net in place so they don’t end up beggars in the street? Too bad – you own your own future so you better make damn sure you can afford it.

That’s what ownership means – those who can afford to survive. Those who can’t – too fucking bad. I wonder if anyone knows what an ownership society looks like.

So what are we (those of us under 55) to do? Most likely we’ll stare blearily at the numbers flashing in front of us and we’ll say, ‘Dude, I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.’ We won’t realize that the benefits our meager suck-ass jobs give us are on the chopping block in about 4 years. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be 39 – too old to suddenly refinance my quite comfortable pseudo-middle class life.

This morning a coworker and I were trying to figure out the details of this Social Security plan on the front pages of the WSJ. Some questions – is this mandatory? What do they mean when they say ‘voluntary’? Like, what happens if, in 2010, I say to the government, “Screw you – keep my money where it is and when I’m 60 I better see it.” What happens then? Where are they getting their numbers? What happens if I die – who gets my benefits then? Where does my money go? Would my beneficiary get survivor benefits? What about disability? Would I be able to roll over whatever money they’re talking about into my current Fidelity 401(k)? I’m totally confused. And if they want to start doing this with fucking health care insurance, I’m totally screwed because that’s already a labyrinthine tale of “Huh?”

Our City on the Hill is beginning to look like a Besieged Fortress, lit on the inside while the growing masses get hungrier and angrier down below. Certain communities are used to this. For them, society has always been like this. They’ve always lived on the margins. But we’re not used to it, are we? We’ll freak out. When the middle class starts looking more like the poor, I’d like to see who’ll be left to take our side. When are we going to wise up and start asking ourselves ‘In whose INTEREST is it to dismantle what little social safety nets we have?” Who profits? (Think the long game, people – long game.)

Do we want to wait that long or is there something we can do NOW to stop this hysterical juggernaut into insanity? (Remember when the world maintained an appearance of rationality? Remember when we didn’t dread every new sentence emanating from our Fearless Leader’s mouth? Remember when life was actually good, or at least not like some horrific Ayn Rand novel)?

I’d really love to see us stop being sheep. Really. Stop it.

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