Heaven Can’t Wait


In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash” — Jean Shepherd

Mindfulness is the new buzzword these days as people try to find a way to de-stress themselves for them perils of everyday life. The plan is to focus intently on your current circumstances and uncouple yourself from the past and future. The challenge is people tend to live in those unattainable realm while ignoring the what transpires within and around them. It is an attempt to live by the philosophy which posits that you have lived your life so far to embrace the moment in which you exist.

It is truly intuitive to live this way since the past cannot be undone nor can the future ever be perfectly imagined. Yet, because of humans’ proclivity to amass as much stuff as possible, we have embraced life in an extreme fashion when it comes to how we have employed living in the moment and how we have tricked ourselves into thinking the problems and solutions to our inner malaise are to be found somewhere in our vast universe.

When Bernie Sanders speaks of the system being rigged, we applaud because we’re not part of the canard, and the only fix lies in the upheaval of the system. When Donald Trump exhorts the crowd by promising them everything they want with no effort on anyone’s behalf, they scream with delight because they feel the time has come for some entity to come down and kiss all our boo-boo’s better. But what if the cartoon character, Pogo, was spot on when he decried the enemy is staring us in the mirror?

There’s no doubt wages have been fairly stagnate since the late 1970’s. At the time, inflation started eroding purchasing power. Nonetheless, the public’s appetite for goodies never abated. Concurrent with this downward personal income decline, the system came up with a surefire way to salve our greedy little hearts.

Our deliverance came in the form of installment credit. It’s no coincidence at the time wages began to stagnate credit cards began their march to ubiquity. Thus, we have incurred a enormous lien against ourselves merely because the human race is compelled to get the biggest and best available without giving a damn about the ultimate consequences. Talk about mindfulness. When it comes to buying stuff, we’re all about being in the moment.

Since 1980, the Congressional Budget Office indicates the growth of median household income has increased 200% for the top one percent while income growth for the rest of the country has seen an approximate 50% rise. For most of the 99% however, this increase was wiped out by steep increases in the cost-of-living index. So what is a country to do when its population needs that new stuff fix?

We use the credit card, early and often. Personal credit card debt has increased to nearly $900 billion since credit cards first began being used in earnest in the 1980’s. It’s no wonder people are getting trampled whenever the stores open on Black Friday.

Another point, though, since the country is in the midst of a rock-em sock-em presidential campaign. We’re shopping here, too. So far, though, I’m not hearing much about how much in debt this country is and how this might be reversed. It’s nearly time to have a party as we inch ever closer to the magic number of $20-trillion. But what do we care?

The trade deficit also remains a problem not likely to be addressed. If we didn’t want the stuff made overseas, we wouldn’t be clamoring for it. And all the while the candidate’s bemoan the fact manufacturing jobs are leaving in droves. Don’t they understand that if the stuff was built in the US, it would be that much more expensive.

Let’s leave well enough alone. We’re broke, in debt, and dissatisfied with government. No wonder we have such trouble living in the moment.

Eric Blumberg is a former radio news reporter and talk show host who now teaches communications and writing at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City. See ericblumberg.net.

From The Progressive Populist, April 15, 2016


Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2016 The Progressive Populist

PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652