The Early Dark

I haven’t been writing lately, even though there’s much going on in the world and in my life.  Times have been hard.  Personally, my living situation has gotten precarious, and I have lost my bed at the shelter.  I am now on an ‘overflow’ mattress on the locker room floor.  I’ve been at the shelter for almost a half-year now, and they want me gone.  This is reasonable, it’s just difficult in that I am close to a permanent resolution about my housing situation.  It’s a typical ‘Murphy’s law’ type of situation .. the closer you get to a solution, the more unexpected problems crop up to get in your way.  This, more than anything else, has kept me from writing, but it is better to face a hard truth than to avoid it, so … back to it.

With Halloween’s passing this year, we also had the setting of the clocks back to standard time.  Oftentimes, at sunset, I have been going up to Hubbard Park and watching the day turn into night over Montpelier, and so I have to do this an hour earlier.  Hubbard Park is an undeveloped wooded hill which is right in Montpelier and overlooks the city.  I now do this between 4 and 5 PM rather than 5 and 6 PM.  The flow of traffic is different and not quite as heavy which takes away some of the visual splendor of the moments, but it is still a peaceful and pleasant thing to do.  And, also noticeable, is that the air temperature at sunset passes into a chillier ambiance than was present during September and October.  Soon, it will not be warm enough at sunset to continue doing, but for the moment, it provides a perspective that is elusive for many; the drama of the the cityscape laid out before one with, at the same time, the majesty of surrounding woodland.

And although such bucolic interludes are pleasant for me, I have not failed to notice the worsening of life in America as we move ever deeper into a financial morass which is not likely to have a benign resolution.  Foreclosures on housing continue to mount, with the third quarter of this year being the worst yet.  California slides further and further into a situation of no return.  And California, with its huge deficit, is just the tip of the iceberg as all the states are trapped in a similar situation due to the lessening of taxes on devalued properties and a lessening of taxes on sales of items at the retail and wholesale level.  And ironic symbols are beginning to pop up which demonstrate the folly of the philosophy behind the bailout, such as the number of bankruptcies in America is now similar to the number of divorces in America, and the growing number of families relying on food stamps to get by.

And, just for the record, let me say that a “jobless recovery” is a contradiction in terms.  Without people able to work permanent and full-time jobs, there is no mechanism to sustain any aspect of this so-called recovery.  With the U3 unemployment rate (receiving benefits while seeking a new job) over 10% now, and the U6 unemployment rate (total number of unemployed) estimated at 20 to 22% of the workforce, and with 6 applicants now available for each available job, it is clear that our beloved nation is quickly sinking into a third world country scenario.  It is a downward spiral with nothing in place to change its direction.

If the money (estimated in the trillions to the tens of trillions) which has been given to Wall Street and the banks “too big to fail” had been given directly to the taxpayers (and, after all, it is THEIR money being spent here), mortgages would have been brought current, credit card debt would have been brought current, and people would still have savings left over to fuel the banks’ need for cash.  And although this would have been completely unjust and unfair to those who had been frugal, it would have had the benefit of at least addressing the problem.  Clearly, all the steps which have been taken so far have not as yet had the slightest influence on the root cause of the problem, which is an employed citizenry with some discretionary spending at their disposal.