Christmas Shopping In The Shadow Of The Impending Fiscal Cliff

I know that some of you have been spending your time watching Honey Boo Boo with a pile of McNuggets in front of you and have been unaware of the financial tragedy that’s about to happen to all of us, so I’ll take a moment to explain. The ‘fiscal cliff‘ (as it’s been coined) is a major crisis that will happen on January 1st, 2013 and consists of a series of tax cut expirations and automatic taxpayer expenditures. These things are -as of yet- unavoidable if the President and Congress can’t get their shit together and come to an agreement.

Now, have you ever had a conversation with someone and no matter what your response is, theirs seems to go in a series like this:

“You have to do what I say because I say so”,

“Fine, if you won’t do what I say, then I won’t agree to anything you say, either”,

“OK, this is getting serious, I really think it’s time for you to do what I said now”

“You see what you did? If you would’ve just done what I said, this never would’ve happened!”

Well, these are the responses that the President has been getting from the Republican-majority Congress the past four years and now, we’re at the “OK, this is getting serious…” part. The problem, though is that Congress has been spending so much time filibustering everything that Obama has asked for (without having any real discussions about how to fix any of the problems that we face) and now when they are saying that “we need to come to a compromise”, what they are really doing is trying to get the President to ‘compromise’ to what they want (you know – how to protect their incomes and fuck the rest of us). Many people will say I’m reading too much into it, but look at the news right now – they’re still in a stalemate. No real progress is being made on this even though the fiscal cliff is due to arrive in just over a month.

Meanwhile, back at the Batcave, most sheeple are still milling about, unaware and giving their money to corporations unbeknownst to the fact that all the owners are freaking out and will hold on to that money to keep themselves from drowning in this crisis.

I just recently had a conversation with my nephew (21yrs old) about the re-election of Obama and the economy. He leans more towards republican views, whereas I lean more toward Libertarian views. He is under the impression that if you help the rich retain more of their wealth, they will spend more on their businesses, thus providing more jobs and therefore improving the economy. My response to that is that the rich have become rich by learning how and when to hold on to their money. They have made it their livelihood to KEEP as much money as they can. They enjoy tax benefits because they can retain more money from their business(es) and therefore, it becomes less work for them. Think about this for a second – if you had the opportunity to vote a policy in that helps you make the same amount of money from one business as you do from two – why would you want to take on the extra work and risk of the 2nd business? You would vote for the 1 business policy. That’s what they do.

Now, if you remember the economy of the Clinton Administration, you would know that when he raised taxes on the rich, lowered taxes on the poor and took away the added expense of unlimited welfare, we had a booming economy with zero deficit. Why? Because the middle class spending drove the economy the way it should. When the middle class (the mass majority of Americans) have more money in their pockets, they spend more on goods and services that creates larger demand and therefore, more jobs. But not just more jobs – more economy-strengthening jobs. When the middle class has more money to spend, they have a tendency to pay more for goods and services on a more local level, rather than feeling that they have to sell a bit of their souls to save money at big box corporate stores. In short, they make more morally-driven purchases.

I learned a long time ago that in order for anyone to be successful, they have to have a side hustle (a secondary means of making money) and right now, it’s becoming more of a necessity rather than a means to find success. I’m actually trying to take that one step further and ONLY work for myself rather than working a job and keeping a side hustle. We are all about to get hit hard in our pockets and the best way we will be able to recover from it will be to seek real government spending cuts, tax reform and most of all, to create our own products and services and run our own businesses, rather than working for a major corporation that buys all of [the products they sell back to us] overseas.

So, back to the point I am trying to make with all of this. This is a struggle of local vs. global economy and we are all due to lose if we don’t all share in a major effort to fix how our government controls our assets. This past Black Friday weekend, we collectively spent a record $59 billion in total revenue that will hang suspended in the corporate accounts until this is all sorted out. That means this money will not circulate in the economy the way it should.

The only smart thing that George W. Bush said during his presidency was to keep spending your money because that’s how the economy keeps moving, but I have something to add to that: Maybe this year, when you’re doing your Christmas shopping, you should concentrate on buying things for your loved ones that don’t depreciate in value or can help them learn how to make more money for themselves or even just a book on how to save more money on their bills at home. Trust me when I say that we are all going to need things like this very soon. Please just stop for a moment and think about whether the gift you’re about to buy will add any real value to the receiver’s life. If not, then maybe you can help them invest in their future instead – preferably a future that they can make for themselves, rather than one they have to rely on their boss to give them. Or maybe you can try to just buy from the smaller, more localized shops. 

The fiscal cliff is coming and no matter what decisions the President and Congress come to, we will all have to sacrifice financially because there are too many of them and none of them are willing to give up their personal lifestyles in the best interest of the rest of us. It’s time to change they way we use our money because it’s about to get bad for all of us. Sacrifice will have to be made and as long as we allow the government to retain power over our money, WE will be the only ones that will have to sacrifice – not the politicians. I think this is a national community and we should all share in the sacrifice equally. I have a few suggestions, but I won’t go into that right now. Keep an eye out, though – I should have that post ready for you soon.

In the meantime, my wife and I will be planning our moves for Christmas this year and how we will be moving our ‘side hustles’ into the new year.

“Fuck the G-ride, I want the Machines that are makin’ ’em”

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3 Responses to Christmas Shopping In The Shadow Of The Impending Fiscal Cliff

  1. Dave says:

    Any economy where people consume more than they produce can never be sustained, no matter how economists choose to spin the figures. Going out and buying more shit does absolutely nothing in the long run. Our countrys economy is a disaster precisely because it’s engine is driven on the false premise that the more everybody consumes the better off we’ll all be.
    The money-commodity economy as whole may seem to go through periods of boom…but it’s like firewalling the throttle in a car that’s running on fumes. It’s just not going to hold out. Thus you wind up with situations like we’ve had for about the last decade-and the owners of this country have sold us on the idea that our buying power is going to save capitalism from its own systemic internal contradictions.
    Me having more money and going out and purchasing more goods and services (that I probably don’t really need in the first place) with the idea that I’m helping someone else get a job…it’s like buying cotton from the kindest slaveholding plantation owner. In the end it’s really the owner who prospers.
    Your words about self employment-a side hustle-are more spot on than I think you realize. People producing and consuming goods and services via untaxed, unregulated “grey” or black markets (agorism), coupled with common sense frugality and a good old fashioned D.I.Y. ethic…can not only mitigate the current shitstorm Americas unbridled consumer culture has landed us in with an unstable, unsustainable economy, but it can also provide a jumping off point for a quaint idea espoused by those crazy anarchists in days of yore; that of a new society and economic relations emerging from the shell of the old.
    Great post. I really dig when you write about stuff like this. I mean, I always like the stuff the two of you write about. But it’s extra rad when you come out and lay it down now and then. It’s great to see the both of you posting more often too.

    • 1oddpapa says:

      Not only does the ‘side hustle’ hypothesis work for the economy, but I think when people take better hold of their own finances, that prompts them to want to be more involved in how the government will handle their tax money, so I believe if we all took better control of our personal income, there would in-turn be more invloved, better informed voting turn out across the country. Not only that, but I also think that could be the first step to breaking free of our current monetary system and working toward a system that’s more symbiotic with each other and how we deal with our environment too. I really believe it could help us evolve into a more resonsible society overall.
      Thanks for the kind words.

    • 1oddpapa says:

      By the way, I don’t know if you’re aware, but there’s actually four of us doing this now. Of course, there’s Sara & I, but our friends Jason and Adam are doing the ‘Preposterously Ignorant’ and ‘Graphic Content’ posts. It seems to be working out well and I feel like a big-shot magazine editor now. We used to want to start an online magazine, but it seemed too far out of reach – I guess this is our first step to actually pulling something like that off.

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