Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Just a word of warning before I start. This is not an upbeat entry.

I watched this last night with a mixture of horror, sadness, and impotent rage.

One of my favorite books and movies is The Grapes of Wrath, but it is a bleak story. It stuns me that arguably the most prosperous nation in the world has come, once again, to this point. Shanty towns and Hoovervilles are back.

After this news story aired, I told Ken that I'm afraid this will be what President Bush is remembered for. He said that we can't lay all of this at the feet of Bush, and that this began a while back. I know that's true, but 6 years of waging war without a tax increase exacerbated the problem to where we've now reached this horrible state of tent cities springing up across our country.

I'm so angry that this is happening. I'm angry at the people who gave their greed free rein, and took advantage of the housing market. I'm angry at President Bush for not forcing the rest of us to make sacrifices, and putting the burden solely on our military and their families. I'm angry at those Wall Street and banking bastards who milked the system for all they could, milked it till it was dry. I'm angry at credit card companies who hand out credit cards like they're freakin' Halloween candy to college students . I'm angry at the mortgage companies who made loans to people who should never have gotten them. And I'm angry at all of us for making such incredibly stupid decisions about finances and credit.

I don't doubt that even the people living in these 21st century Hoovervilles bear some culpability in this. Perhaps they made bad financial decisions along the way. But I'm also reasonably certain that there are plenty of people who, through no fault of their own, are forced into this position. It's a domino effect, starting at the top, and finding its way down to the construction worker, the person working for an automaker, sales people, restaurateurs, and on and on and on.

You all know that I try to remain an optimist, and I still believe that we will get out of this. When is another question. In the meantime, this is what is happening to some of our citizens. And we haven't even begun to claw our way out of this mess yet. I think we'll hear more about tent cities and see more images of those who have become homeless. I expect that I'll feel this sense of outrage every time I do.


  1. That is so terrible. It's so scary to think how much worse this situation is going to get. I just pray that things start to turn around very soon.

  2. It is so scary! I do know we cannot continue to take care of the millions who continue to pour into this country to take advantage of a welfare system to which they didn't even contribute.

    I think this sort of sums it up:

    "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
    ~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

  3. I saw a piece on the 'Hoovervilles' and was left feeling exasperated. If the situation is so bad - and even while I have been laid off, put back into the workplace at a much much lower wage, and struggle to meet ends meat/meet? I've managed to keep a family of six out of such atrocities, which leaves me to wonder - then quit pissing away money on PORK and come up with a halfway decent plan to help people.

    Here in WI stimulus money is going to repairing I-94. Hmm. Odd that. I seem to remember sitting on a business comittee that was responsible for designing part of that work in '07-'08. The money was all budgeted, lock stock and barrel. So . . where are these extra millions going for the same work? To pay the same workers twice as much? To pay the same suppliers double what materials are worth? To plop in some extra trees at $50G a pop? To line some politicans election fund? Meanwhile another friend of mine was laid off Friday because his firm doesn't have enough new construction to warrant keeping him.

    This economy will eventually recover stimulus or not. BUT if we are committed to tossing money at the fire, then it should go to help people and not to put a smile on the face of congressmen who are now assured of re-election because they've paid off the Big $ in the area.

  4. Beth, this is a very sad situation and certainly nothing new. One problem is that going after the culprits who cause it is like punching a cloud, there is simply no consciousness of wrong doing. You cannot convince the greedy that thay are in any way responible for poverty. Some one who has never been hungry simply does not know what hunger is. It's no use blaming the Welfare system, that system does a tremendous ammount of good for a tremendous number of people. Welfare is an easy target, but it's the wrong one. The profit motive is the main incentive for business in this country. But the profits go up, not down. The worker should have a better wage instead of being replaced by a foreigner. The aim was to satisfy the shareholder by greater profits at the expense of labor and quality. And now that system has collapsed and people still insist on blaming the little guy and applauding the wealthy. There is enough wealth in this country to prevent tent cities. Where isw it?

  5. It is very sad and depressing, isn't it? I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better.

  6. It was a tragic scene to watch yesterday. One thing I can say, is that the speaker we had tonight at my Project Management meeting commented about how lucky we are to live in this country (he is a citizen, but not native). If this same thing was playing out in Europe to the same degree as here, there would be riots and such going on. I hope we have reached the bottom and start the climb upward. It was encouraging to hear today that Citicorp posted a profit, that is encouraging.

  7. All I can do is thank God every day that my family is OK for now. There are a lot of people that live hand to mouth (my daughter is one) and kids to feed. She was watching kids before her surgery and now has been without income for a month. I am keeping up both households and so glad that I am able to. But what if I weren't here? Would she and my grandkids end up in a 'tent city'? On a happy note...she has found a secretarial job that will dig her out eventually. I'm so afraid for my community, my neighbors and friends. So many have lost everything. Didn't mean to ramble.
    Hugs, Joyce

  8. good entry beth.its getting bad here,but here its many migrant workers,polish,eastern european mainly who are being forced to live in similar shanty towns,many came to the UK because of our "better"life style.now they are paying the price.who is to blame?our government certainly,but also just about every one of us who thought the days of milk and honey would last forever. like you the grapes of wrath was a favourite book of mine.never expected to see such sights ever again.take care love,mort xxxx

  9. I was just commenting yesterday at work that the "homeless issue" has gotten much worse in H-town again. It got cleaned up a few years back when the Super Bowl was in town, but it's really bad again- not just confined to Downtown. Although all the bat-shit crazy schizophrenics all camp out under the awning of the downtown store every night. We have to power was the sidewalk every morning, and sometimes it still smells!

  10. Yep, I saw a report on this on Oprah over a week or so ago by Lisa Ling. I cannot imagine. I told Ian I had no idea, I was just shocked at this development. Its bad, and I told Ian we are very blessed to have what we still have. So many have lost so much.

  11. Beth we have a similar plight here and it is so sad ~ people are having their homes repossessed and becoming homeless ~ to add insult to injury their homes are being auctioned off for peanuts ~ let us hope someone comes along with some answers to these situations ~ Ally x

  12. Hi Beth, We are all, worldwide, in a very bad way of that there is no doubt. Here in the UK we have not got quite as bad as it is with you, we do have a kind of blanket with our Welfare State..very few need to go completely homeless although there are always a few who can find themselves in that situation..I sure do not know what the answer is and what makes me fearful is that I don't know anyone else who knows either..the governments ..all of them.. seem to be trying to spend there way out of the situation but I am not at all sure if that is the answer.
    I will just continue to pray for justice for all
    There is enough of everything for everyone in our world it just needs to be shared..
    Love Sybil xx

  13. We need soldiers. :) They've raised the entry age into the 40's now. While I don't think this would help everyone... it could help a lot of folks... Why not help out our nation (i.e. serve in the armed forces) while helping out yourself as well. Good pay, housing and medical all included.

  14. I find it really surprising that all of these people have no friends or family that are willing to help them. I mean...if any of my family or friends were on the brink of homelessness, I would immediately offer my home to them! I just don't get it.

  15. When is definitely the big question. It recently came up that they were opting to just print more money. Hello...that won't teach anyone how to manage their money any better and will in the long run only be a bandaide to the problem at hand. It is truly sad we are at this place yet again. (Hugs)Indigo


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