Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dorothy, of the Great Depression era, views Magritte's "The Lovers"
while contemplating how the economy is impacting the wealthy's
collections of famous artists in the face of declining prices.

(It's two days since the election. As the euphoric distraction its outcome provided ebbs, the stock market resumes its march to the sea and new depths with the Dow dropping 929 points in two days. )

It's difficult to imagine why anyone would want to be president of the U.S. with its economy in the sewer. Obama has the towering task of salvaging the nation while minimizing those who will crash and burn in the process. And sadly, success is not a given.

Stories like the one out of New York City are becoming a national trend. Consider what's in store for residents there in dealing with the growing fiscal crisis:
  • 3,000 city jobs will be cut; 1,000 fewer police. An additional $60 million will have to be raised through tickets given out by 200 newly hired traffic agents.
  • a 7% property tax hike effective 1 January and cancellation of a promised $400 property tax rebate.
  • a proposal to increase income taxes by 7.5 or 15 percent!
  • this in addition to proposed sales tax increases.
Meanwhile, jobs are being hemorrhaged nationwide at alarming rates. Employers are cutting back on health insurance benefits and eliminating their matching 401-K fund contributions. At a time when more and more revenue is needed by financially strapped state and local governments, sources of those revenues are drying up.

There's a bittersweetness in the doom and gloom of the difficult economic times ahead. For the wealthiest nation on Earth there seemed to exist a bottomless pit of endless wealth to be tapped, created from unregulated markets and speculators in derivatives; faux riches created from mortgage schemes to profits derived from the manufacture of bombs and the weapons to deliver them that contribute nothing productive or "useful" to the economy but the destruction of entire other nations.

It all seemed so limitless, so easy. Done with so little sacrifice save for those who gave their lives and/or futures in defense of the prosperities we so enjoy(ed) or those who stayed home applying 3 buck, 50 cent magnetic "Support the Troops" ribbon stickers to their SUV's rear ends.

But that is all changing. Sacrifices are coming due in extremes never anticipated. Aside from the tens of thousands losing their educations or retirements, health care, their jobs or their homes, a recent auction of art work by Christies was expected to sell for $104 million. That was the low-end estimate. At the end of the evening, the total take was less than half that -- a paltry $47 million. It would appear even the wealthy are sacrificing.

One of the evenings few works to bring in more than its low end estimate of $3 million was Rene Magritte's 1947 gouache entitled “Empire of the Lights” which went for $3.5 million, making Dada suspect it was purchased as a nostalgia piece in memory of an earlier, more bountiful era perhaps.

Depression Dorothy studies Magritte's "The Empire of Lights," wonder-
ing how much longer before it becomes "The Empire of Darkness."

Yes, it's difficult to imagine being president of the U.S. with its economy in the sewer.


enigma4ever said...

But he is the right man...calm, steady...wise,thoughtful....listens to people and advice...

Imagine if it had been McCain't at the helm at this point....omg...

I would be packing....heading for the borders...scary....

we have many dark times ahead..and much mess to deal with...74 more days of the Bush Regime to get through...

Dada said...

Enigma: Right man? Absolutely, I can't imagine a McCain/Palin team overseeing our future thru these most difficult of times ahead.

And I venture to say, if it came down to a race to the border(s) between the two of us, it'd be one helluva close race (being as I'm about as far away from Canada as you are from Mexico! -- of course, I'm just kidding, I'd rather land in the middle of a Mexican drug war that a McCain-Palin American "bailout")

Fran said...

I hope people remember, as we watch the economy crash & burn (I believe the full impact has been repressed, to the best of the Bush admin's ability)-- they tried to hold off the total tanking before the election....

It is the Decider's actions and failure that got us into this mess..... Obama will have to bring in the rescue squad to try to fix this.... 8 YEARS of abuse & neglect.

Bush started with a budget surplus when he stepped into office.

meldonna said...

I heard someone suggest Obama should utilize the online army he built on the road to the White House to see us through the days ahead, and being a five-dolla here, five-dolla there member of that army, I think that's a great idea. Grassroots put Obama over the top; why not harness that spirit?

I'm with enigma -- I think Obama's got the smarts to surround himself with other smart people; it's on the rest of us to keep the pressure on the remnants of the Repugs so they aren't able to "Jimmy Carter" our new prez...

...and needless to say, good to see you back, Da.