The Fluttering Pulse of Entitlement Nation (July 14, 2009)
This Bastille Day report from Orange County, California is rich in insight and warning.
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Here is Janet's commentary:
Last night my friend and I went to our local county fair. I could tell attendance has dropped off at least 30%. I go to it every year.
Thank you, Janet, for this insightful report. Strong values are indeed an under-appreciated "asset" in an economy which promotes credit as the key to "the good life."
Since our friends and neighbors know we "waste not, want not" (i.e. dumpster-dive) then they've gotten in the habit of giving us the half-used contents of their fridge when they go on vacation or attend to business out of town, etc., rather than dump the food in the garbage as they would have done in the past.
As a consequence, we've received perfectly good yogurt, chicken breasts, potatoes and beans while some other friends shared some cherries they bought on sale. I went to the locally-owned grocery store yesterday and bought bananas and zucchini on the "slightly damaged/bargain" shelf plus some round onions, more cherries (79 cents a pound on sale) and a few other items for $6.22. We won't need to buy any more food for some time, as our "scarlet-runner" green beans are starting to produce in quantity and the peach tree crop is about ready to harvest for pies. The lettuce, bok choi, cucumbers, amarynth, green onions, Russian kale and other goodies are coming along as well.
Janet observed a background of anger and resentment that the Great American Credit/Bubble Machine has ground to a halt. She also notes that the sense of entitlement--that we "should" be able to buy whatever we want whenever we want, that our houses "should" rise by $100,000 a year every year, that we "should" be able to eat out every day, etc.--is still intense.
Shall we add to that already-long list that we "should" get "free" medical care (despite knowing full well nothing is actually free), "should" enjoy low taxes (except for "rich people," of course, meaning not the people who make $100 million but those who make $150,000), and "should" have employment?
We hear a lot about a "re-set" of expectations, but Janet's report makes me wonder if this much-hyped re-set is as shallow and superficial as the "news" spewed by the mainstream media. Maybe all people really want is a quick return to "good times" and easy money with a minimum of sacrifice.
Based on the analysis I've laid out in Survival+ (see below), I think the re-set will be far more profound: a return to these "rights" and "entitlements" and these alone: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That's it, nothing else; no "free" anything.
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