Our Hostage Economy

Administration official: #S&P admitted $2 trillion error in analysis but still downgraded U.S. http://t.co/1SVT2rH@cnnbrk
“This is a facts be damned decision,” administration official says of downgrade http://t.co/HUPp1pt@cnnbrk
#S&P also cited dysfunctional policy making in Washington as factor in downgrade http://t.co/vvqAcdP@cnnbrk
“Plan that Congress, Administration agreed to falls short,” S&P says in announcing U.S. downgrade http://t.co/vvqAcdP@cnnbrk
S&P has downgraded U.S. credit rating to AA+ from top rank of AAA http://t.co/fRDnWsv@cnnbrk

Rather Machiavellian thoughts crossed my mind last night while ruminating on yesterday’s stock market drop:  Remember how the 2008 election was pretty much sealed by the collapse of the economy and millions of people being laid off?  Remember the pain we’ve suffered the past two and a half years trying to recover from it?  Well, a recovery of sorts did hit this spring; I know, I moved to an area with 13% unemployment (didn’t realize it; was employed at the time) and hiring has picked up since January.  I know ten people personally who’ve been hired since then.  But in the past two weeks we’ve seen drama, filibustering and grandstanding over the budget.  It was a power play, plain and simple:  We own the House now.  Then yesterday the market crashed; headlines today:  ‘”The biggest crash since 2008.”  What if this is all being manufactured to stop the economic recovery that was in place, albeit slow, so that in another six months the stage is set for the next election?  Yes, you read that right:  What if political parties are holding our economy hostage for money/power reasons?  Before you say, “That’s ridiculous!” and stop reading, there were people in very high places who knew exactly how Wall Street was bundling risky mortgages into investments and how mortgages were being loaned before the collapse late 2008.  They allowed it for two reasons:  1) Money  2)  Power (and weren’t too concerned about John or Jane Doe).  Enron and Kenneth Lay come to mind here as well, but the Universe gave Mr. Lay his due in the end too.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron

You know that little story of phone hacking from across the pond where the whistleblower just mysteriously turned up dead recently?  What was that about?  1)  Money  2)  Power.  In case you think stuff like that doesn’t happen in 2011, it does.  Truth *is* stranger than fiction.

Three things happened in my world yesterday:

1.  Received an email from a fellow job seeker who’s been out of work less time than I have that read, in part, “My only option at this point is suicide since I have almost lost everything I have ever worked for my whole life.  Gee, you would think I could have at least been an alcoholic or a drug addict.  At least then I would have a good excuse.”  That’s from divorced Jane Doe with children, Mr. Politician.

2.  Went to the Tampa Bay Rays Tweet-Up yesterday because I need to meet more people in this area.  [Backdrop:  Two corporate recruiters at a networking meeting said 7/27 they’re still getting 700-1000 resumes for every opening.  The economic collapse broke the entire system; HR doesn’t have the resources or time to go through all the resumes.  The only way you get a job interview these days is by knowing someone on the inside or being referred in by someone.]  I witnessed a transaction between vendor and consumer that made me smile:  vendor hands consumer product, consumer examines it.  Vendor comments on this and consumer says, “You do your job; I’ll do mine.”  It was such a concise way to say, ‘You’re trying to sell me this; fine.  It’s my job to inspect it before purchasing.’

3.  Attended first Rays baseball game yesterday; here less than two years and past year has been focused on job search.  Didn’t really know much about team or players and truth be told, I’m a football baby.  Have watched way more football than baseball, although I enjoy a live baseball game.  In the eleventh inning, the Toronto Blue Jays went up by two runs and I thought that was it, tweeted out, “Looks like the Toronto Blue Jays just won; home run, up 6-4. But @RaysBaseball show some great movie clips for inspiration! #RaysTweetUp”  But the players didn’t see it that way: went on to tie it in the bottom of the eleventh and went on to win the game!  It was a great game; extremely inspirational.  There were 14,000 camp kids there.  Have you been to a game with 14,000 kids screaming, pounding, slapping noise sticks?  It made me laugh & smile at the same time.  The insistence of youth.  Later I watched the news specifically to see the recap and it turns out it was rookies who won the game.  Coach said, “Just because they’re young doesn’t mean they’re not good.”

How do these stories relate to our economy?  Like this:  there are unemployed people out there who are ready to give up, pack it in; this is a reality America and, btw, business owners, these are your workers, neighbors, family.  We all need to really inspect what we are hearing and what is happening; seen a lot of ‘spin’ ads already on the Internet even though we’re fifteen months away from an election.  There have been a ton of doom and gloom headlines this week; hinting of another recession.  Like yesterday’s consumer, we really need to look at this and see if we want to buy it.  Someone tweeted out last night, “I’ve been in the house all day.  Has the world come to an end yet?”  That tweet said two things: 1) I was doing what I needed to do, 2) acknowledged the current negative hype.

My suggestion is that we channel those young Rays players, not buy the hype and decide, “No, there’s not going to be another recession.  I’m going to do something about it.  I’m going to win this game.”  Part of me wondered last night if it was their very inexperience that kept them fighting vs. an experienced player who would see two runs up in the 11th inning and decide the game was over.  Maybe that’s what we all need to do now.  We know what the past three years have been like.  We’ve lived by the headlines, etc.  Maybe it’s time for people to consciously decide to buck all of it; the prognostications, fear based headlines, Wall Street, etc.  Are we going to do something or are we going to just lay down and die because a headline says there may be another recession?

So what can you do?  If you’re a business owner/manager, proceed with the plans you have to hire people.  CNN is running a poll now:  Which is a bigger concern for the US economy?  Unemployment or Debt.  72% of 200,000+ say unemployment.  So if you are in a position to put people back to work, do it.  Just do it.  That means the owner, hiring manager, HR person and everyone involved; do what you can do to put people back to work.  Now.  Do not allow the recent shenanigans of the past two weeks to change your plans.

You know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me?”  Well, we’ve already been Wall Street’s bitch once America and paid the price the past three years; are we going to be their bitch again?

Here’s the change I’d like to see in 2012:  It becomes “By the people” again.  Where all people realize the power they have to make a difference, to make things better.  Along those lines, I invite you to take up the 28 day Good Deeds challenge:  http://socialbutterflyguy.com/2011/08/03/28-day-challenge-good-deeds/  I started today, but that’s my next blog post.

A very intelligent man I met at Social Fresh Tampa, @cspenn, tweeted out late last night, “Gold at $1,677/ounce. Dow -512, S&P off 4.8%. Signs and portents or transitory panic?”  My response is well-timed manipulation.  Quite frankly, I smell a rat.  (But what I want?  I want Justice.)  The S&P?  It’s really about this:  creating fear.  Oh the debt crisis!  Oh the stock market!  Oh the S&P!  Oh stop in your tracks, freeze, don’t do anything, quiver in fear until it’s over!  It’s an attempt to halt our economic recovery.

Saw the movie Limitless last weekend, where Bradley Cooper’s character takes a drug called NZT and can then process enormous amounts of data quickly to identify the underlying patterns and results.  We don’t need NZT; we just need to be acutely aware of everything around us:  when we’re driving down the street, at work, in a restaurant or store; what are you seeing, hearing, reading?  What are you allowing in and believing without consideration?  Are you accepting the news you read wherever as the truth?  Any star athlete, successful business person or life coach will tell you it all starts with what you believe.  Here’s your NZT America:  Take your favorite talisman (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/talisman) to your favorite place:  beach, lake, mountain, park, garden; wherever you feel at peace, shut your eyes, breathe and start praying for what you want.  Visualize your perfect reality.  Then take action to make it happen.  Please help others along the way.  It’s time to free our ourselves and our economy America.  Balls to the wall, let’s do this!

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7 Comments on “Our Hostage Economy”

  1. janel10 says:

    I do believe the Money and Power people are ‘playing’ with us. They have no regard for the working class American, as they have the money.
    I just wish Americans would realize what Power in numbers we do have. Just as a sample, if every middle class citizen would stop paying their mortgage for one month, I just wonder what would happen. This is just a sample, not necessarily something we should do.
    On to my job search, things will get better…

  2. Angela Ashe says:

    Clear. Informative. Intelligent. Entertaining. I’m thinking now. This is blogging at its best!

    • Karen Baglin says:

      Thank you Angela! Asking people to think critically about this situation was my intention, along with encouraging peeps to take action within their sphere of influence. Thanks for supporting my blog!! 😉

  3. Good post, Karen. My favorite part and the part I think drives the post is this: “We don’t need NZT; we just need to be acutely aware of everything around us: when we’re driving down the street, at work, in a restaurant or store; what are you seeing, hearing, reading? What are you allowing in and believing without consideration? Are you accepting the news you read wherever as the truth?”

    My only wish is that you didn’t end it with the concept of a talisman and using visualization to create more beliefs. I get what you’re saying, but I believe that the urge to use “magic thinking” versus “rational thinking” is a big part of the problem you’re writing about. It is up to us to be “acutely aware”, as you point out… to be discriminating and to see things as they really are, not how we would like them to be. We can only be effective in defining action plans that will REALLY work, if we define them based on the reality of the situation. If we wish that things were like they were in the 1980’s, we are the ones deceiving ourselves, not the politicians, nor the corporations, nor the manipulations of the market.

    • Karen Baglin says:

      Thanks for your honest and thoughtful comment Wendy! Ironically, the post didn’t originally have this ending. I added it a few days later and then thought about deleting it afterwards because it may seem too ‘out there’ for some. Here’s why I left it: Deepak Chopra says everything manifested begins with a thought. The opening words of Three Feet from Gold are “You can do it if you believe you can. You control your destiny.” Often when people have doom and gloom bombarding them on a regular basis they go into fear-based mode and will contract their thoughts, actions, forward movement until they think it’s safe. That’s the fear paralysis I referred to. If we all do that, there will be no forward progress. It doesn’t matter if it’s starting a business, growing a business, writing a book, having a baby, moving to another location, you name it: it all begins with the thought, “I want to do (insert thing here). I’m going to do it.” Or I want to be a (insert here). First thought, then action, then manifestation. Everyone has the power to do that. Yes, we need to be very realistic about the environment in which we’re attempting to do it, but nothing is ever achieved without first the thought of it and the corresponding belief that it can be done. I was trying to encourage people to access their internal power. Perhaps I went a little too new age-y with it. Total segue, I was actually referring to the mid-late ’90’s: we weren’t at war with anyone, everyone was working, the economy was doing well and our country ended that decade in the black, not the red. Thanks again for your comment; hopefully our discourse will help people to really think about what they can and can not do!

      • Funny that you added the ending… but I DO understand what you’re getting at. Fear can and does paralyze. Thought does precede everything. A quote from Tibetan Buddhism that provides an interesting spin to help remember the power of the mind (for positive and negative) is;

        The mind in Tibetan teachings, is called kun je gyalpo, “the king who is responsible for everything.” Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche said, “Samsara is mind turned outwardly, lost in its projections; nirvana is mind turned inwardly, recognizing its nature.”


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