Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Economy

I have just returned from a trip to West Texas - far West Texas. My purpose in going there was two pronged. "Tex" left his car here in San Marcos for repairs and I drove it out to him in Marfa. It's a long drive out there - about seven hours or so. Even though the speed limit on I-10 is 80, it can tire you out and makes for a long day. I had my camera with me too, and I seldom go anywhere without my camera.

That part of Texas is the high desert - about a mile high - with magnificent light and big sky. It's no wonder that the small town of Marfa has attracted an odd and eclectic set of visitors and/or transient residents who live among the lesser population of cowboys and ranch hands and oil service folks and poorer Hispanics. And there is the Border Patrol people too. But times are hard in this country right now and in this distant patch of grass and trees and adobe houses, there is a lull there too. Although I could easily imagine living in a place like Marfa in a small warehouse with a loft and garage, wood shop and gallery space, I can see its tattered edges. Life is going on there - like it is everywhere - but the margins are thin. In far West Texas people are just barely getting along. And as far away as they are from everywhere else, there isn't much rescue in store for them either.

There is the drought, which seems to be the aggravated circumstance to it all. Trees have died, lawns are dry, and ranchers have sold off a good bit of their livestock. But people just aren't going places like they used to, and they aren't spending a lot of their money either. Every place I went to spend the little bit of money I had, conversations were afoot about who was having a hard time, who was just breaking even, and who was going to lose their business. In Washington of course, there is the jobs bill, and the angry republicans, and so little constructive, intellectually based, long term thinking underway that any rescue is a long way off. I suppose that our system facilitates a culture of short term thinking and short term gratification for those whose grasp on power is at risk every four years. How possibly, when your objective is to stay in office - and absent the high moral sense of duty and honor these offices call for, can one think of anything that is not going to benefit you within that term. How sad that the real World doesn't work that way. It's no wonder that the loudest voices in Washington are the ones who walk in there with the deepest pockets.

As long as our Domestic multi-national corporations are allegiant to themselves and not to the country from which they were born, and Wall Street, banks and insurance companies, energy producers and automobile manufacturers are allegiant only to their stock holders, and cities and counties and states continue to pursue their economic objectives by raising funds by ever more imaginative means - bleeding the turnip and trekking forth into debt on the promise of future growth, and when we just print more money on the printing press to pay the light bill, and when across the land the stock holder has the power and the absence for foresight to plunder the customer, we are all sadly doomed and "Camelot" will fall into rusted ruins.

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