Friday, July 11, 2008

Flash! Wonker Becomes Victim of Bush Economy!

Hey, how's that for a headline that could only have been written by a Democrat?

Except that it was just written by a Conservative. Moi. (These days, I'm not entirely sure I want to be called a Republican, although that's how I'm registered.) And of course, it's ironic.

Yep, the swinging axe, the fickle finger of fate has finally fingered Wonker whose skill sets have become redundant, as the Brits quaintly say, insofar as his current employer is concerned. Kinda sad really, since I've been here for 12 years. But the company, a government contractor seemingly snakebitten, contract-wise, is simply not growing, so Tuesday is my last day here.

So it looks like Wonk has become a bona-fide victim of Bush-o-nomics. NOT. Upturns and downturns come and go. The current mess, largely due to the kind of financial de-regulation started, oddly enough, during the Carter years. This was a de-regulation I have never agreed with due to the incurable incompetence of the morons who run financial institutions. We paid the price first in the S&L debacle of the late 1980s, followed rather quickly by the commercial real-estate decline circa 1989-1992. Followed, in subtle ways by the 1999-2000 dot-bomb, exacerbated by 9/11. And now followed again by the collapse of the consumer real estate and lending bubble, currently ongoing. And followed again by the fossil fuel bubble which will blow off spectacularly within 6 months or less.

All this is what happens when a government meddles with things it shouldn't be meddling with while pursuing things it should leave alone. The Securities Acts of the early 1930s put the financial systems in a functional box where they could rarely damage the economy as they did in the 1920s. While irritating to some of the libertarian bent, those acts created a financial system with enough checks and balances to function well in good times and bad. When the various financial institutions were allowed to start mixing and matching again, beginning in the very late 1970s, the seeds were being sown for serial destruction, which we've been witnessing over the last decade and a half.

Added to this has been the perversity of Democrats who, trying to score points with the eco-freaks and Euro-elites, have debilitated the entire energy systemm upon which the U.S. runs. Now the mess in the financial system has gone into the mixmaster with the anti-energy policies of the 'Rats to put the U.S. economy, still the engine of the world no matter what anyone says, into a series of deeper and deeper tanks. Still no sign of intelligent life out there in politics-land, though, except maybe for a few very devious socialist Democrats who are gleefully licking their chops as more and more Americans lose their homes and/or become unemployed. Which, in the current, carefully defined terminology, makes them "victims" who desperately need "their government" to bail them out. (For the latter term, simply substitute "socialists" and you'll see where this Democrat-favored narrative is going.

Which gets us back to the soon-to-be-unemployed Wonker. Here's the deal: I am levered as hell to 8 mortgages which currently are paying zero rents (most are student housing which is empty in the summer, two are my own houses, two are other houses currently in search of new tenants). One of the rental properties is currently undergoing not one but two kitchen tear-down renovations. Another has just developed a backed-up sewer and attendant mold problem. I lent a chunk of coin to the company that's showing me the exit, and am not sure that I'll get it back. Mrs. Wonker and I have been, like most Boomers, dealing with dead or dying parents for the better part of 4 years now which is not only taxing but financially draining.

In short, we're doomed, fated for bankruptcy, will be selling apples on the street corner, or worse, will shortly become homeless people, right? Please, Mr. Government, help! Help!!

Guess again.

In my America, people can pause a moment and shed a tear over their wretched luck. Maybe even take a quick shot of hootch to calm their nerves. They get a good night's sleep, wherever. Then they wake up the next morning, take charge, move ahead, and don't stop until they're better off than before. Because defeat is not in their lexicon. One only has to contrast the thousands of midwesterners flooded out of their homes, with waters still high in many places, in the most disastrous floods in memory; vs. the Democrat-inspired whiners in New Orleans still crying for the Feds to bail them out.

You watch. The midwesterners will get little or no press and little or no help as they buck up and get their situation fixed while New Orleans and its largely left-liberal-populist politicians continue to whine and moan and look for Federal largesse. (Although dynamic governor Bobby Jindal promises to turn this attitude around.)

The midwesterners won't need thousands of formaldehyde-emitting trailers in which to live, because they'll take care of themselves, using anything from tents to barns to house themselves while they do a mass-rebuild of their communities. Little if any of this will make the news. Because it will just get fixed. By the people themselves. Yeah, maybe a few low-interest loans from the government, sure. But those are still loans. The people will do it themselves, because that's what Americans do.

Flyover country is where I'm from. And I'm flat-out guaranteeing you that my current predicament, described above, not only will not put me out of business. It will serve as the basis of future prosperity for the Wonker household.

Am I concerned about my own current mess, particularly in the context of our current serial economic disasters and fossil fuel dependence? Sure.

Am I afraid? Am I doomed? Am I gonna ask Big Brother to save me? No way. Real Americans, along with their friends, neighbors, and community, can help themselves. That's why they're Americans.

I'll keep you posted on my own economic adventures as I join the unemployment rolls. I'm actually viewing this as my greatest opportunity ever. Stay tuned.

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