The country turned upside down in less than eighty years — not bad!

Posted in Permanent Fail, Predator State at 8:56 am by George Smith

My mother died last week at the age of 82.

This is not her obituary. But it might be one for describing the nature of the wreckage that is the US.

My mother was born in Philadelphia to two Hungarian immigrants. They came from Budapest and neither had high school educations. However, her father was able to grab a middle class job in Pennsylvania, one in which his wife did not have to work and which would enable him to send my mother on to a college education.

They were solidly middle class almost their entire lives and owned their home. They enjoyed lifetime good medical care as well as a long and easy retirement. And their daughter rose into the upper middle class in Pennsylvania.

My mother and father did not have their lives blighted by a constant scramble for paying jobs, long stretches of unemployment and ever diminished hopes.

So in somewhat less than the span of my mother’s lifetime the country went from what my grandparents saw as inspiration and opportunity to a stupid and mean-spirited nightmare whose gifts to the world are smart weapons, war, predatory financial services and history-making bad and/or cowardly leadership. And it has not been a random accident.

Those like my grandparents who enter the country under similar circumstances now look forward to living ten to a rented room. When not attacked outright by one entire political party, they pass on a life of zero opportunity to their children while living as serfs. And they find the locale of the working and unemployed poor getting more crowded every day, sharing the territory with an always increasing number arriving from the downwardly mobile middle class.

Now it’s better to ignore the fraudulent advertising and stay in Budapest. And it took less than one full lifetime.

The President Needs A Challenger (a continuing series)


More broadly, Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion a philosophy that says the poor must accept big cuts in Medicaid and food stamps; the middle class must accept big cuts in Medicare (actually a dismantling of the whole program); and corporations and the rich must accept big cuts in the taxes they have to pay. Shared sacrifice!

But if you ask me, Id say that the nation wants and more important, the nation needs a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And thats not what were seeing.


  1. Chuck said,

    April 11, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Anent that, a recent article http://bit.ly/hWmk2G indicates that Europe is undergoing its own “brain drain”.


    This is what you get when you decide that fooling with real-estate speculation, dicey banking practices and depending on tourism is more important than making things that people can use.

    I think things started going downhill in the 70’s and 80’s when it became the thing for engineers to take evening classes and get their MBA. Soon, it was the MBA that mattered more to recruiters, not the engineering degree or experience.

  2. user_hostile said,

    April 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

    The low point for me was the realization that the Congress would continue to pay itself while soldiers who were putting their lives at risk would not. That message, in effect, said that your expendable. Not that I would expect the military to mutiny, but as the Pentagon Papers showed, when people are dying for something other than their country, they’re going to get pissed. I suspect that if Barbara Tuchman were alive today, she would have yet another chapter added to her book, “: From Troy to Vietnam”. Unfortunately, with the despair I’ve seen tell’s me that Americans will continue to take it, stew in their bitterness, until at some point a triggering event will cause them to lash out in a bloody, civil insurrection. And then the Congress will wonder, “Why did this happen?” I don’t see this anytime soon, but should safety nets be cut and millions of people become homeless at the next economic crash, all bets are off.

  3. George Smith said,

    April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I dont see this anytime soon, but should safety nets be cut and millions of people become homeless at the next economic crash, all bets are off.

    What are the odds the Republican/Tea Party will overplay its hand and let the US default on its debt for a couple days when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling? That could bring about a calamity.

    However, I think we can count on the Obama administration to give them whatever they decide to take hostage. So by my estimation the odds are vanishingly small. But not zero.