Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tales From My Father By Charlie

Oh, hell, so it's not about wine, it's about the economy, stupid! So I met Charlie in the hot tub. He's got arthritic aches and pains like so many retired people. Somehow it didn't take very long to get from physical pains to psychological, emotional, and fiscal pains.. Like most of us, his 401k is down 20%. It didn't take much to get us into a joint rant. Let's see, where to start? Neither one of us belongs to a party - not Democrat, Republican, Independent or Tea Party.  Charlie is angry! About Wall Street, about Washington, about political dysfunction, about the fact that low (no) interest rates devastate retirees, about Congress people who have fat health plans and retirements that we don't have, about waste, about deficit spending and the debt which in the long run lead to the downfall of empires, about the fact that, after retiring from a major drug company, he may have to go back to work, about the dilemma that spending cuts destroy jobs. What the hell happened? What happened to his father's prudence.

Complexity is too much for the human brain, even though consequences are multi-determined to borrow a phrase from Freud. Although there is no single cause, we tend to look for a simple explanation and a simple solution. So if we want to play the blame game, we could finger Greenspan, Barney Frank, greedy mortgage brokers, sub-prime mortgages, Fannie & Freddie, the big banks, CDOs and SIVs, greedy speculators, Washington and Wall Street. Anyway here we are in this mess "Round Two.". Governments bailed out the banks, will the banks bail out the governments?

So here we are, and Charlie is angry. Do you think he is the only one? Do you think the Tea Partiers are the only ones? What did his Dad have to say? Here are the laws of the father. Here are the ten commandments

  • Don't borrow
  • Don't get into debt
  • Never a lender nor a borrower be
  • Don't overspend
  • Pay off your debts every month
  • Work hard
  • Be innovative
  • Take care of yourself, your family, your community
  • Cut back
  • Get a job
There's the rub! How can you get a job when everybody is cutting back? Corporations have discovered that they can have the biggest profits ever by simply not hiring (and firing). Look at Bank of America, where Ken Lewis fired 35,000 of his most competent employees and bought disaster areas such as Countrywide and Merril Lynch retaining the least expensive  and most incompetent employees, only to take home one of those "$165 million bonuses" found only on Wall Street and in the executive suites of big banks. Most of us have been cutting back - Cash is King. And now the government is cutting back. We were on a spending spree encouraged by economists such as Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. Atlas shrugged and the world collapsed.  " I see a flaw" - you're kidding me!!!

Since WWII, thery've called it demand pull. A house for every American and three SUV's in every garage. Greenspan thought it was fine to take out a  second  "home equity loan" when Charlie's father was saying, if you must borrow to buy a house to live in, pay it off asap.  What happened to integrity, waht happened to civility, what happened to bipartisanship, what happened to our country, what happened to the world. Turn over any rock  and you find money. Turn over any financial transaction and you find greed. "Greed is good?" Up to a point! Aren't rapacious capitalism and extreme  socialism ( i.e., communism) two sides of the same coin?

Doe Charlie drink wine? I never asked him, but I wouldn't be surprised. In fact, I'll bet he he's drinking more and paying less just like in 2008-2009. Over 50 restaurants closed in Tucson in the fall of 2008. How many wineries will close this time around. Cheers!




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