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Artwork for banner adapted from "Mister X," by William P. Marks, Vortex Comics • Blog Title from "Serenity" by Joss Whedon _________________________ A fiber artist making wool felt garments and local wool fleece and yarns on the side, Previously, I have been all these things: • architecture office manager • department store clerk • restaurant: waitress, bartender & barback, cashier, busboy, dishwasher, prep cook, line cook, manager • architecture student • engineering draftsman • graphic designer • advertising art director • magazine publisher • fanzine: publisher, editor, writer, photographer, designer • garage band manager • web designer & programmer • database (FM pro) developer • software trainer • non-profit organization staff member • ad salesman • fiber artist: weaver, spinner, tapestry weaver, dyer, feltmaker • reader • writer • sailor • runner • drinker, toker • big sister • oldest child • wife (2x) • swinging divorcee


MAY 16, 2012 3:07PM

Austerity and bad parenting

Rate: 8 Flag

The more I read about the Eurozone failures, the US mortgage foreclosures and the Republicans’ push to cut spending for everyone but rich people, the more I hear Daddy scolding a 5 year old for spending his allowance on something he wanted, but Daddy didn’t like.

Germany is having a field day, running roughshod over the southern European countries that aren’t as “serious” about strict monetary policy. There is also an aspect of the Protestants scolding the Catholics, but I’ll leave strictly religious analogies to someone else. But the social implications of the Puritanical approach to finance are relevant. The US, like Germany is a “Protestant” country psychologically as well - work hard, earn your way, save for a rainy day, etcetera. 

But what happens when all jobs have disappeared? What happens when the financial deacons have eradicated those acts of economic faith in which we can prove our worth? We all go to financial hell, and they will pave our way there, because apparently anyone not born wealthy is guilty of original sin. And they are happy to punish us for it. 

Yes, I get the feeling we are all being punished. There is a religious vibe to it, as well as a strict parent vibe. We are being judged, and judged harshly, for needing food, shelter and healthcare. And we were set up, Daddy gave us an extra dollar on purpose to see what we’d do with it and since we spent it on things he didn’t like, we have to give it back, with interest.  And he really likes that part, taking money from his kids, to teach them a lesson. 

When I think of southern Europe, I don’t think of large gleaming cities with acres of corporate  jobs and financiers. Sure, there are some cities like that - Milan, for instance, and likely Madrid, Barcelona and the capitols. But the products of southern Europe, the jobs and the national incomes come largely from sources other than exports, banking and corporate jobs, incomes that are based on more volatile sources like tourism.*  

Germany is a different type of economy, historically more industrial than rural. This is similar to the rural vs. urban divide in the US, with different needs and opportunities.  Anyone not living in a city has little chance to work in a career that is well-paid, with a secure future and an upward track, that American Dream article of faith. The financiers have sold off the factories and farms in the hinterlands and bought up all the small competitors in the fly-over states. The only jobs left are hourly jobs at the corporate stores, like WalMart, at minimum wages, ridiculous hours and no benefits. Is that Protestant penance enough for them? 

No, we can only go to bed without supper, after a good strapping. Nevermind that Daddy changed the rules, that he lured us with cash and then blamed us for spending it. Nevermind that he would rather punish us than give us a job to do to earn his trust again. Nevermind that he himself spends lavishly on weekends at Vegas and the horse races, but would rather see us starve and thrown out of the house than allow us to feel confident enough to do without him. 

Let’s grow up, people. Greece is thinking of moving away from the Eurozone home, and it will be hard, but they can do it. France just fired their Daddy figure and is making plans to spend their allowance the way they damn well please. Parenting with fear, the Republican way, is being shown for the bullying stance that it is. We have to move away from home sometime, and it’s scary as hell.  But the future awaits. There are some Democrats who want to help us go there,  without making us feel badly about ourselves. And they want Daddy to pay his fair share to get us there.


*Most of the southern Euro countries have negligible exports that would allow repayment of the forced debt. Greece is 123rd on the list of 156 countries, with 20% of GDP in exports. Germany is 88th, with 33%. Here are some more economic comparisons of Germany to Greece. FYI, the US is 148th of 156, with 11% of GDP in exports 

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a rant I have been saving up, and way too long for Facebook one-paragraph outrage.
Ardee, you have a lot of angles and analogies here that I hadn't considered about what's happening in Europe. Everything is so tied together these days in such a way that we can't ignore what's happening multiple time zones away.
Interesting to note that Angela Merkel's rightwing party got handed its austerity butt a few days ago in Germany's most populous state (Westphalia). It bodes ill for her Christian (?) Democrats in the federal election in 18 months or so, unless everything turns around.

I've always thought the eurozone was a sort of polite fiction. I have no idea why Great Britain gave up its "Commonwealth preference" policy to join -- but they've paid for it.
I am just waiting for this to come over the water to a nice country close by Ardee, like America...

And big daddy gets out those strapping young men and sets them loose on us and then blames us when we complain...
D', this is a little jumbled, but maybe you get the idea. And it is all related, in a subtle way that could stand a little more clarity.

Boa, it's interesting that the UK kept their own currency, though. I'm not sure how the situation with Greece & Spain et al affects them, but I think it was a smart move. Maybe I leaned too hard on the Germans - they seem to make better choices in some areas when they vote - getting out of Iraq and ending nuclear power as examples.

Mission, Romney is ready to put us all in a cage on the top of his car and hose us down when we vomit.
Should have made it clear: The Brits joined the EU, not the monetary union. I still don't understand why they did it, but there you go.

As for being hard on the Germans ... no, I don't think you were. I could go into a long rant about why I think that's so, but I won't.
So the War on Women could be looked at as being grounded for staying out too late.

I know it's more serious than that, but you're right, it does feel like we're being punished for daring to be free.
Boa, I think the Germans take on the role of the scolding father of Europe, but the EU financial directors are mostly Goldman Sachs alums. So we can take some of the blame. Still, I'd be interested to hear your rant.

Phyllis, more likely it's Daddy telling us to wipe off that eye makeup and stop going out with the cute biker guy named Barack. I think we're being punished for just being easy victims, a typical power play that bad Daddies excel at - hit a kid, cause you can.
Interesting way of looking at it Ardee. Greece's options all look bad and it's a toss-up whether or not they leave the Euro. It'll be a hell of an adjustment (i.e. more poverty) if they do. But maybe that's their least bad choice.
It's an ugly situation all around. And the problem is, the people that need the help the worst are always the ones that get over-looked.