This is nothing new but still… it amazes me how people can see the world in such different ways.
For instance, I woke up today and read this CNN gem:
“Take Vermont. Only a few months ago, unemployed Vermont residents could collect up to 86 weeks of jobless benefits.
Now, they are eligible for only up to 60 weeks.
The reason is that Vermont’s unemployment rate has dropped below 6%. Good news for those lucky enough to find work, but small consolation to the jobless still looking for a position.”
Now, this is probably as good as it gets. This is the ‘cup half-empty/half-full’ difference between me and these people. 6% unemployment is what we used to call ‘full employment’ in the good ol’ days of Clinton. Ah, but that was before. Nowadays Tami Luhby, senior writer from CNN looks at 6% unemployment and all she can see is that those poor unlucky people who are looking for a job will get only 60 weeks of money from their peers.
Time for the elite 94% ship in a bit more, right?
On a different but not less outraging note, I was channel browsing yesterday and ended up catching this ‘House Hunter International’ episode named ‘Searching Nicaraguan Riviera’ (I think you can watch it online from the link above).
That show tells the story of this couple of ‘nomad surfers’ who are looking for a condo in Nicaragua. Harmless right? Good for them. However, throughtout the episode we keep hearing this line that what they are doing is ‘retiring early’ and only living month to month by doing odd jobs. ‘We decided to enjoy life now and work harder later’. Cut to the scene where they catch a wave and buy some lobster from a local dude.
Hey, I bet that most of the public will think this is a smart, honest couple. Smart? Maybe. Honest? That depends.
You see, our system works because people save for their own retirement early. Without compounding that money in a 401k or whatever financial instrument you prefer, it is basically impossible to save enough money to keep you afloat once you can’t work anymore.
Of course, this is not a written rule. It is what we used to call ‘the way things work’. Until some time ago parents would tell kids that’s what they had to do and if they don’t they would end up poor and miserable like uncle Richard.
Unless someone else pay your bills right? Yeah, all those stupid schmucks who spent their youth building cities, researching cure for devastating diseases or simply coming up with the new iPad or a hybrid car.
Is this fair? Is that the egalitarian society that my tax dollars are financing?
At the end of the day, I see only one salvation for our current democratic system. Welfare of all kinds will have to be more limited and targeted. From medicare to social security, from food stamps to public schools and unemployment insurance, we *need* to find a way to account for the means and not only the end. We should help the few who were truly unlucky (who clearly are out there) and not the ones who decided to ‘retire early’. Be it by surfing in Nicaragua, spending their life living in their parents basement or pretending to be artists just to avoid any actual productive work.
You see, Liberals only care about your current situation. You are unemployed, you get X amount of dollars. You are over 65, you get Y amount of dollars. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done up until that point.
That is unsustainable and if nothing else, incredibly unfair.