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by Peter Stern Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2009 at 5:34 AM

What has occurred throughout the U.S. is not only an economic meltdown, it is a complete national lifestyle change.


Soon American dictionaries may have a new definition for this word, perhaps something like:

"...a process by which a Federal Government relieves the financial disarray, monetary chaos and general overburdening of banks, CEO's who fly around the globe in their luxury jets, delusional [auto] manufacturers, the elite corporate sector, private individuals, those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and can't find new ones, homeowners who during the past decade have paid too much in ever-increasing taxes, those who have been bludgeoned by astronomical daily living expenses, corrupt agencies and officials, passive legislators, dimwitted buyers and investors, con-men out to make a buck illegally, and anyone who does not want to be held accountable for their extravagant credit over-using lifestyles and personal ongoing expenditures, a.k.a., people with their hands ever-outward and upward."

Ever hear of the saying, "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword." ? Generally, it's true.

The current economic situation did NOT happen overnight. Few spoke out about the financial travesties occurring throughout our nation. Our Congress, during this period, looked the other way and permitted a hands-off, deregulated form of imperialistic capitalism to take place in our nation and around the globe.

The so-called financial specialists surely observed what was occurring, yet they did NOT speak up. We heard nothing until 1 year ago when finally the economic travesties that were for years hitting the lower and middle classes finally started to tear apart Wall Street, wealthy corporate and industrial sectors.

Why did this economic tirade continue so long? Simple. It was the long, salivating tongue of greed that licked itself into every corner and orifice in American life. The almighty dollar.

A poem I had read in college, 'American Primitive' comes to mind in which the author William Jay Smith states:

"Look at him there in his
stovepipe hat,
His high-top shoes, and his
handsome collar;
Only my Daddy could look like that,
And I love my Daddy like he
loves his Dollar."

Perhaps, more than other considerations, this poetic stanza embellishes what transpired during the past decade in our American society and what the focus was for so many from the top to the bottom of our societal strata. Too many people looking to get something for nothing or for doing little. Too many corrupt and/or unethical government and business folks stepping on too many others to attain huge profits without the presence of accountability or oversight.

This is a terrible financial jolt that has happened to many Americans. So many have lost everything they had. In addition, the poor economy and loss of jobs has given birth to a whole other "underground" culture that flies under the radar of government statistics and aid availability. Many lost their homes and are living in motels, garages, in shelters or on the street. It will be a long time until the economy is corrected and those who want jobs can get them.

No doubt it could all have been avoided.

It is an American Tragedy and it is not yet over. It is a sad time for all Americans.

After the dust lands from all the economic disasters and "Bail-outs" the real question is "Will we finally learn the lesson?"


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