Sunday, August 01, 2010

Cheer up

We got our property tax assessment the other day. We're not so surprised that the value of our property has gone down, but we were surprised that our taxes have gone up. It's always an ouch! when we see what we owe. Here's something I've said many times. We have paid off our mortgage, but if you think you own your home try not paying your property taxes. You find out then who really owns your home.

But Sally and I have it so much better than other people. We didn't lose our jobs, we retired, and had we not retired we'd still be working, because there have been no layoffs where we worked. So to people who have lost their jobs, lost their homes, it's more than an economic downturn or recession, it's a full-blown depression. I feel very sorry for those folks.

What I'm seeing lately is the split personality of Americans. On the one hand they scream about deficit spending, yet sign up for Social Security, or Medicaid or Medicare when they're eligible. In their day when these programs were planned they were called evil by detractors, as if they'd cause the downfall of our country. But the social safety nets, as expensive as they are, have helped a lot of people and have become part of our everyday lives. Socialism is a dirty word in America, yet we have socialism in several programs, even those programs used by people who scream about socialism.

The Great Depression of the 1930s pointed out the need for programs to provide a social safety net. We aren't in a Great Depression like we were then. Very little is the same. In the worst part of the Depression there was 25% unemployment. Right now we have 9.5% unemployment, which isn't good but it doesn't reach that 1930s level. We came close in that earlier era to a revolution. Unless they lived through it, most Americans nowadays have no idea how depressing a depression can be.

But unlike today, where we have cable channels giving us 24 hours of bad news, in the 1930s, even in the darkest times, there was a streak of optimism. I was surprised to go through the Internet Archive music files, old 78 rpm records, to see there were some very cheery songs to help with public morale. So turn up the volume. If you're still working, play these for your fellow workers. If you're at home using the Internet to find a job, play them in the background while you search.

Good luck to you, and remember, cheer up, good times are coming.

Cheer Up, Good Times Are Coming, Phil Spitaloni Orch., vocal by Bill Cody.

Keep Your Sunny Side Up, Chick Endor.

When You're Smiling, Cliff Bruner.

I'll See You In My Dreams, Cliff Edwards. You may remember Cliff Edwards as the voice of Jiminy Cricket. Edwards was also known early in his career as Ukelele Ike.

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