Christmas As Usual

The  commercials on television this year for Christmas 2009 have already started. They seem especially odd to me this year. It seems that it is business as usual. It’s as if nothing has changed in this country from previous years. The ads ignore the horrible financial disaster that many Americans are going through. The ads ignore the ridiculously high unemployment rate in this country. The ads ignore the suffering. It’s like nothing happened. How can that be? Has it been like this for years and I just didn’t notice it? Or, has what happened over the past year in this country really changed things?

The “too big to fail” banks have been bailed out and they are making money again. They are giving out billions of dollars in bonuses to their employees. The wall street firms are doing the same. ( I refuse to capitalize “wall street” anymore. They don’t deserve it.) The incompetent, greedy idiots on wall street who brought this country to its financial knees, still think so highly of themselves that they actually believe they are worth the ridiculous bonuses that they get. They think that by creating, marketing and selling trillions of dollars of worthless derivatives they are actually contributing something of value to this country and should be proud of themselves. They are not.

I know that stores like Walmart, Target, Kmart, Kohls, J.C.Penney, Macys, etc., have to sell as much stuff as they can. That’s what they do. That’s how they survive. Besides, if they don’t sell lots of stuff, and we don’t buy it, millions of people in China will lose their jobs. But  the ads just strike me as very odd this year. I can’t exactly put my finger on it. I guess in a way, it’s just like pretending that things are the same as they always were. It isn’t. I never liked Christmas marketing prior to the Thanksgiving holiday anyway. Is Christmas shopping just one more fraud that is being perpetrated on this country? Do we really need this insane shopping period between now and December 25th every year?

Is there a better way to celebrate this holiday without all of the credit card debt and other spending that a lot of people can’t afford anyway? Since the credit card companies, owned by the banks that the American people just bailed out, have raised interest rates on many accounts to a mind boggling 30%, will people be falling off their chairs in January when they get their credit card bills, hurting themselves in the process and needing to go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital? (At least the ones that are left that still have health insurance?) Will the health care insurance companies be raising their rates again because of all of this? You bet they will. It’s a vicious cycle. Maybe congress should have put some rate limits in the Credit Card Reform Act of 2009. Duh.

I know a lot of people who are unemployed, under employed or at best, living on the edge of economic oblivion and struggling to survive. They are one paycheck, one illness or one accident  from financial ruin. And yet nobody talks about it. There are people like Bob Herbert, Paul Krugman and Charles Blow in the New York Times that write columns about it, but the people who are experiencing the real pain and suffering don’t talk about it. At least not to me. They suffer in silence.

Do you think the clowns in Washington, D.C. who supposedly represent us are worried about any of this? They have spent all summer and fall trying to reform health care in this country. The final bill that came out of the House of Representatives should be titled, “How I spent my summer vacation.” They threw commonsense out the window when they began the debate and were never able to find it again. The bill that passed may be progress and it does fix some problems, but it is totally lacking in commonsense and much more complicated and stupid than it needs to be. Are these the people who are going to put people back to work so that they can spend a lot of money on Christmas 2010?

I’m very disappointed. Our new president and his party are squandering an opportunity to really make a difference. It reminds me of the Newt Gingrich days in the ’90s when the Republicans won control of Congress and were going to do all these amazing things. They didn’t. I supported Obama for president.  I still have his bumper sticker on my car. I want him to succeed. But he obviously doesn’t get it or he would have done something by now to stimulate employment.

He has had over a year to try and put the economy back on track for working Americans. It seems that it is the last thing on his agenda. We need some sort of incentive for businesses of all kinds and sizes in this country to stop sending jobs to China. We need to start doing things here in America again. Where are the green jobs that the president talks about? They are needed now. Today. Not two years from now. Our roads, bridges, underground infrastructure, and railroads etc. are falling apart. Millions of jobs could be created by fixing these problems. If more people need to be trained, and they do, let’s train them.

There is no reason in the world for so many people to be unemployed when there is so much that needs to be done.

What are we waiting for? Everyday that goes by is another day wasted. Let us seize the day. The Great Recession will not end until Americans can go back to work at jobs that pay a living wage.

A few days ago, I found a 1946 Roosevelt dime in my pocket change. I was very surprised because most of the 90% silver coins went out of circulation in this country years ago. Where is Franklin Delano Roosevelt when you need him?

What do you think? Does Christmas 2009 seem a little different to you?

2 Responses to “Christmas As Usual”

  1. andy says:

    Some of the big commercial radio stations have already switched their programming to Christmas music. I discovered this at the local convenience store when adding money to my train/bus card today.

    I agree that it’s too soon, and the contrast between the ads and reality is sickening.

  2. John Tedder says:

    “The contrast between the ads and reality is sickening.” That is a great way of saying it. Thank you. I was at a friends house last night and everyone was discussing providing gifts for a child in an orphanage type of environment instead of exchanging the usual gifts with each other. I thought that was a great idea and we are going to do that.

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