Saturday, October 31, 2015

They walk among us

Yesterday, I received a phone call from a friend who I had worked with twenty years ago.

Time and fate have not treated him well.  He and his wife were casualties of downsizing.  There is little demand for professions in their fifties.  It gets worse when you were cast overboard by your company.  It continues to degrade the longer you are unemployed.

He had one job as a process engineer with an outfit running on a shoe-string budget.  He quit due to inability to see eye-to-eye regarding proper safety-lockout systems.  He was not impressed with home baked, Rube Goldberg trip-wires yanking switches off.  (Note: Proper process guarding is defaut-off, like air brakes.  Air pressure lifts the shoes off the rotors so the wheels can turn.  Loss of air pressure throws the brakes on.)

Feel the Bern

Somewhere along the line they decided that Capitalism was not working for them.  They figured out that following all the rules simply made it easier for “The Big Guys” to strip mine their assets.

They are now Socialists.  They are proud of it.

My friend’s wife was a community activist “up North”.  She just got a job in Lansing.  Most of her work will be done via telecommuting but she needs to spend a couple of days a week in Lansing.

Her job does not pay much.  My friend asked if I had a spare bedroom that I would let his wife sleep in on a regular basis.  I had to tell him that I could not help him for a variety of reasons.  I then offered to check around for some low-rent housing.  He declined.  She needs no-rent housing to make this job work.

The challenge

The challenge for me is that I like to think I am pro-little guy.  But something just struck me funny about my friend’s request.  I had a hard time listening after he told me she did not want to pay anything.

His argument is that money is fiction.  The Fed can conjure up $700,000,000,000 (TARP) with the snap of their fingers.  He would have preferred that they just give every household $7,000 but they did not.  Since money is fictitious, it can be safely ignored.

Further, he sincerely believes that we should want inefficient government.  After all, they (and community activists) will be the only middle class left and we want a vibrant middle class, right?

I have been luckier than my friend.  I am no smarter than he is, just luckier. There but for the Grace of God walks Eaton Rapids Joe.

But I think he is just plain crazy.

Money does become a fiction under his scenario.  But so does the food on the grocery store shelves when the stocker on midnights gets a check regardless of whether he shows up to work or not.

The waitresses won't serve food in restaurants.  The truckers won't bring gas to the stations.  The linemen will not brave the weather to repair the power lines.  Why should they?  Money is a fiction.

1 comment:

  1. It takes a lot of nerve for someone to ask if they (or their wife) can stay at your house a few nights a week for the foreseeable future without offering any sort of compensation. Were you expected to feed her, too? In no stretch of my imagination could I see myself asking that of my best friend, much less someone I knew 20 years ago. The Bernie supporters are all loons, plain and simple.