Apr 19 2009

The Real Human Toll Of This Economic Disaster

One reason I became permanently fed up with the conservative remnants  of the movement started by Reagan is the fact that they have totally lost the context of the hurt spreading across this country. It was not simply the fact that the right went berserk on DHS in the exact same way the left went berserk on NSA – claims of victimhood and slander against those defending this nation.

What also was seeping into my psyche was how the drama queen shows were a selfish distraction from the all true real carnage piling up in the country. When you compare the self-centered  paranoia of the conservative personalities with the human tragedies playing out on Main Street, the disgust level quickly reaches the breaking point.

In our community we had a horrific reminder of the human toll this economic mess is taking on this nation. It was a murder-suicide (wife murdered), which many think was caused by financial stress on the family. The incident left behind two adult children, now haunted by the deaths of their parents. It was a stark reminder of the stakes at play.

It was a jolting reminder of why those of us thankfully outside the grip of the economic crash, who prattle on about economic theory and the never ending partisan sniping, are missing the most important aspects of this rolling disaster. The DHS drama queen show pails painfully in comparison.

I was extremely saddened to see this recent comment from one of best known and valued readers, Crosspatch:

One family friend is laid off. Their house is paid for but they still have taxes and utilities. Another acquaintance of mine shot himself yesterday. Things aren’t good out here these days.

If one wakes up and looks around, it is becoming apparent America is hurting badly. This story comes from our neighbors across the Potomac River in Maryland:

A Maryland mother and her three children stabbed and shot in their own home. All dead. The Frederick County Sheriff says the killer is the husband and father who then took his own life. Christopher Wood left five suicide notes around the house, describing what the Sheriff called his final thoughts before killing his wife, three children and then himself. In one of the notes the Sheriff says he apologized. “It’s the worst most horrific thing I’ve ever seen,” said Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.

Detectives say the family had some financial problems but what role it played is still under investigation.

These stories are likely cases of financial stress gone wrong, but how many other stories also are? Was this murder-suicide in Wichita Falls due to financial stress? Was this one in San Francisco?  This incident in LA has a strong hint of being due to economic stress.  What about this incident? These are all murder-suicide incidents, and when one googles ‘murder, suicide’ the number of incidents is chilling. Nothing clear on just plain suicides.

The only reporting on this sad trend I saw was in The Examiner, and it was focused on dealing with stress, not fixing the source of our national stress:

The media in recent months has featured horrifying stories of not only increased suicide cases but entire family murder/suicide. It all comes down to being unable to cope, exhausting all resources and feeling like there’s no other way out. Where did all of our support go? Communities used to be much closer knit and if someone fell on hard times everyone pitched in to help.

When we debate issues we need to always remember the human toll can be very high. Sometimes we debate so objectively we focus more on winning the politics than doing something about the building tragedy. It is not important which side gets more credit for fixing the problem, because that path leads to rationalizing paralysis as a way to stop political success for the opposition. When faced with these kinds of human tragedies it is time to accept ‘compromise’ as a way to help others in dire need. It is time to get over purist ideology, role up the sleeves and start making progress. It is time to stop being stubborn partisan and become the essence of the Great American.

As I have noted time and time again, the economic stress is going to keep building for months to come. The human carnage will be building all this time. The left will have to admit its rampant spending has failed miserably, and the right will have to admit it has been too obsessed with conspiracy theories with Obama and the Democrats. Both partisan groups are more concerned with attacking the opposition and denying their mistakes than in fixing the problem. There not only will be a pox upon both their houses, the pox is already eating away at them.

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “The Real Human Toll Of This Economic Disaster”

  1. Jason says:

    Part of the problem is that people treat their respective political party like it’s some extension of themselves. People root for their party rather than rooting for America. What gets lost is the truth of the problem, because people focus on the messenger. America was founded on some pretty simple principles that were laid out in the Declaration of Independence. We need to get back to that before the suicide is complete.

  2. AJStrata says:


    Excellent post. Will probably be quoting you in a post for tomorrow if you don’t mind (links included of course).

    I think we are on the same wavelength here.

  3. Redteam says:

    truly a tragedy about this friend of yours. very sorry to hear of it.

  4. crosspatch says:

    “Communities used to be much closer knit and if someone fell on hard times everyone pitched in to help.”

    This is one reason I sincerely believe government programs are destructive to our social fabric. It is a way of foisting the responsibility of taking care of your neighbors onto a nameless, faceless government. We just throw some cash at the government and someone else takes care of it for us.

    We don’t have close ties to our community the way we used to. We don’t gather at the church on Sunday in as large a percentage of the community. We don’t gather at the cafe in the morning. We don’t discuss things face to face. We sit anonymously on the Internet with stupid sock puppet names like “crosspatch” talking to people thousands of miles away in our echo chambers of like-thinking. And when we are in hard times, there is nobody to turn to because we haven’t spoken to half our neighbors in a decade.

    City council and county meetings are always full of the same handful of “activists” who walk the government further out into oblivion while the average people don’t even participate.

    We need to get more involved in face to face interaction. We need more normal everyday citizens going to school board, city, and county meetings. Find a local independent diner or cafe and start going in there regularly on Saturday mornings. Meet your neighbors. Greet them. Say hello. Simply watching those meetings on community access TV isn’t enough. People need to attend. Why is it that the lunatics are too often the only ones to speak at these meetings? Why is it that the “activists” have so much influence? Because they show up. There’s got to be a better way.

  5. crosspatch says:

    I will give another example of government programs that suck. I know a young couple. They have one child two years old and another only a few months. The husband works but doesn’t make much. He is currently trying to work through a Masters program at a local college and work at the same time. His job doesn’t provide medical benefits. There are a couple of state programs but he doesn’t make enough to afford the one he qualifies for and makes too much to qualify for the one he can afford.

    Government programs try to play the 85% game. They make rules that cover 85% of the cases but there are the 15% who hit the gaps in the programs. You have a standard set of requirements that are issued from Washington that doesn’t take local costs into account. A salary of $50,000 in Arkansas is much different than a salary of $50,000 in Silicon Valley.

    Obama’s plan to tax the living daylights out of couples making more than $250,000 a year is going to hit just about every single household here where both parents are working. This is a place where a 40 year old 3 bedroom ranch house in a post-war baby boom development costs a million bucks. In other words, houses that would go from 100,000 to 200,000 in most of the rest of the country. Both parents must work to pay the mortgage. Both probably make over $100,000 a year as you have to if one is going to be able to afford to live here. Obama’s tax plan is going to hit working middle class families hard because it does not take regional differences into account. It aims at the 85% of the country without any regard for areas where the costs of living and salaries are much higher.

    I make over 100K but can’t afford to buy a home within an hour commute from work. I have two kids to feed and thanks to the survivor benefit from their mom’s passing, we are able to stay in the house we have been renting for the past several years. Without it, I wouldn’t even be able to afford that. And I still had to pay AMT last year because I “made too much”. Haven’t bought a car in 10 years though I am now ready to buy one, don’t have any credit card debt, haven’t contributed to my 401k since their mom passed. We are not “rich” but the tax laws treat me like I am. I am sick of it. Making six figures and still struggling to get by yet we are “rich” according to the government. The government needs to start indexing their expectations and requirements according to regional differences because this “one size fits all” crap out of Washington DC isn’t working for me.

  6. Frogg says:

    There is a human toll in almost all issues (the decision to go to war, decisions about illegal immigration, debt and budget).

    AJ, you’ve lost me on this post. There is a much stronger indication of “psychological problems” than “economic distress” on this sad suicide/murder case from what I have read (including an article about the wife’s blog diary).

    In fact, most murder/suicide situations do have psychological problems at the root.

    And, right now, the Democrats can pretty much do what they want with or without any Republican support.

    If anything, it will be the “grass roots” tea parties that will slow down the economic process (some will say for the better; some will say for the worse).

    uncompromising debates have taken place since our country was formed. Sooner or later, we exasperate ourselves to compromise, or we table the issue for another time, or the issue dies out on it’s own). Most obviously good deals for the country go through promptly with majority support. How long did it take the Constitution to be written and for us to have “a more perfect union”? Would speedy compromise have been a better deal?

    I just don’t think political disagreement is always partisan, radical, or purposely working against compromise. Sometimes the disagreement is just as real as it is strong and stubborn.

  7. crosspatch says:

    I believe a major part of the problem is a generation that has been indoctrinated with the notion that it is somehow the role of the government to take care of them. The job of the government is to guarantee them the “right” of a good home, a good job, a good education, medical care, etc. People who are afraid of the big, scary world and haven’t been taught that it is their responsibility to provide these things for themselves buy readily into this notion.

    Those of us who are ok with being responsible for our own destiny want no part of government telling us how we have to do things. Where do I opt out from being mommied by the government? Better, where do I opt out of enabling the mommying of others?

    It is NOT the responsibility of your neighbors to see that you have a good home, it is YOUR responsibility. It is not the responsibility of your neighbors to see that you have medical care or a job. It is YOUR responsibility.

    I am sick of being so many people’s mommy.

  8. groy says:

    Dumping money into the economy through leftist programs does not and cannot stimulate the economy. They, the entities flush with bailout monies, aren’t spending at the local hardware store or buying domestic products, or even saving homes in foreclosure, they are using the funds to register voters for Obama’s reelection. They are using these funds to launch new community originations dedicated to Obama‘s leftwing agenda. The Banks and/or Wall Street Institutions that horded bailout funds did so with Barney Frank and Obama’s blessing, they are some of the largest Democrat contributors. Facts can be stubborn but, the facts are seldom discussed.

    The fact that so many people are being harmed is the direct consequence of our economic collapse, which was caused solely by Freddie and Fannie forcing lenders to lend to those they knew were not going to repay, whether by means or intention. Some very good friends who were investments Bankers lost everything they had attempting to comply with forced F&F guidelines while trying to maintain a profitable businesses. They knew, but really had no choice, that it was always a lose-lose model because F&F role is their lone recapitalize….that‘s how the systems worked and it was corrupted without much outrage, if any. None of this is by accident or merely incompetence, through the latter is prevalent among them, I interned with these anti-American congressional members in the 1970s doing research on ‘Latin American Political Prisoners‘…they ended up running a bunch us off when we concluded Cuba had incarcerated more PP than the rest of Latin America combined. Tom Lantos, then teaching in SF, called and ask us to change our conclusions, when we refused we were replaced….actually forced to withdrawal from the class. Lantos did not ask us to lie, he ‘suggested we revise the scope of data’ limiting our finding to just a portion of Central American. Ultimately, it became the core of the Boland Amendment, after selective interpretation, those who stayed in this Amnesty International sponsored internship are now in top positions throughout the current Democrat leadership.

    I think your site, which I view daily, would better serve the country by questioning why it is that Obama and the rest of the Democrat Party continues to shield those who brought our economy to the brink of abyss….where is the outrage? Arguing a perceived failure of conservative compassion fails the solution test….fails the test of perspective and is essentially wrong because it has cost us all, indeed I would argue conservative and moderates have paid disproportionately being less dependant on tax payer funded careers, not to mention the cohorts made off with hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars and are now employed by us in Obama’s Administration.

    Sadly, all this is just a part of the problem….without reversing other Democrat policies, most particularly their policy of forcing our dependence of foreign energy, we can recovery, but briefly before energy costs restart the cycle all over again.