Monday, June 8, 2009

Visit to the Rust Belt

Went to a fun wedding last weekend in Hammond/ Whiting, Indiana. It's always nice to see good people get the celebration they deserve.

It was quite remarkable to drive along Highway 41 in Hammond. Seemed like the land that time forgot. Most of the signs were from 20-25 years ago, with no real changes in sight. The relics of the past, with the small lawns and tight streets, are very intriguing, and reminiscent of parts of Milwaukee. Reminds you that a lot of these problems didn't just start when Bear Stearns died, and it makes me wonder if we ever get any version of it back. Having a society based on consumption ain't such a good thing when there's no income and future prospects to consume.

I've been getting this wary feeling that these "green shoots" will be short-lived, and that people get impatient that a long-term problem hasn't been solved in a few months. This country's dumb enough not to see the big picture that an economy based on Ponzi schemes and other bullshit takes a long time to dig out from. If this country does have the sack to take it, we'll come out a lot better, but if we go for the cheap laugh, we are jacked.

Maybe it's the prospects that I see in our state and local budgets, but the second punch is coming in the form of lost services and the needed raise in taxes. Again, maybe it makes things leaner and meaner by 2012, but will the average doofus have the patience to get it.

Then again, I will take one comparison with the last time this country had double-digit unemployment- a killer year from the Milwaukee Brewers. Obviously it's still early, but I like this start, and if J.J Hardy and Corey Hart start hitting, or another starter can get added, this could be a lot of fun. And a lot more interesting and entertaining than some other things that I waste too much time on.

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