Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Et Tu Caesar?

When I was younger (as opposed to when I was older?) my aunt and her crew had a family dog named Caesar.
I wouldn't get to see the friendly bull dog very often, Caesar not my aunt, because they lived in a far off land called New Jersey.
Okay, maybe it isn't all that far from Queens, New York but they lived a nice distance away in Jersey and up in the mountains overlooking Lake Hopatcong.  Getting there just wasn't that convenient so we ended up visiting only on certain special occasions.  And since we had to pick up my grandma as well the entire trip became a production, don't ask!
Like any family my aunt and company had their interesting dynamic but generally they were good people.  I say were because too many of them are gone due to cancer and that includes my mom and her brother.  I guess it isn't surprising since they always had a cigarette in use or on deck.
But back to our family outings.
It was always something when we visited the Hopatcong group but one of the constant cast members of those days was Caesar.
No matter where we were the lumbering mostly quiet bull dog would be present.
We might be sitting around the den watching the television when a malodorous vapor permeated our nasal passages.
Since this was family we naturally figured one of us must be the culprit but before anyone was singled out someone in the room would yell, "Caesar!"
Now it didn't matter if Caesar, who was minding his own business, was asleep, or even in the room it was obvious that the old dog was to blame.  But his punishment was nothing more than finger pointing and 'tsking.'
And let's face it, to a dog it meant attention and he naturally ate it up with a gleeful wagging of his tail.
Despite the stress involved for reasons too personal or private to mention here those were fun times.  Blaming the dog was easy and could be done without fear of successful contradiction.  The real culprit, if other than Caesar would always get away without so much as a scolding.
And that brings me to our country's current socially charged situation, the middle class, the economy and unemployment.
While most Americans were minding their own business trying to make a living the so-called upper classes were tweaking the rules and pulling the strings of their puppets in Congress.
Deriving great wealth from derivatives that many of them didn't even understand they slowly but surely changed the dynamic fragrance and landscape of America.
The result of their machinations is now clear and has been for over two years, the world's economy stinks!
In order to fix things and make sure it never happens again many ideas have been brought to the table.
Many fingers have been pointed and many arguments have been made.
But many people are still hurting and will be hurting for a long time to come.
So what is the fate of the real villains who fouled the air of the economy?
How have these emperors of Wall Street and big bank board rooms been punished?
Many if not all will be receiving their usual obscene and totally undeserved bonuses any second now.  Others too embarrassed to accept the large outlay of former tax payer dollars are being compensated with  huge raises.  One can only assume the deferred bonuses will come next December, if not earlier.
And the tax breaks they received under former President Bush and company will now continue for another two years!
And will any of that money be used to hire more workers?
Please!  You can't be serious! (Go ahead and say it, I'll wait...)
It is this, "I come to bury the middle class, not to hire them" attitude that hurts the most.
And to add insult to injury this new found addition to their wealthy portfolios will be handed down to their heirs at reduced tax rates when they finally pass on.
Millions of formerly hard working Americans are lining up at the unemployment offices for their weak weekly stipend.
Others who have exhausted their 99 week meager handouts are still trying to find gainful employment in a business world all too happy to take advantage of their dire need for even minimum wage.
The American middle class trusted the government and the business leaders of the country to compensate them for their dogged loyalty.  They were and are sadly naive!
We may have blamed Caesar for that which he did not do but we loved him and took care of him!
So who is to blame for the true malodorous stench filtering through our economy today?
The old bull dog may be gone but the aroma lingers on and in the end the innocent among us are the ones taking the punishment.

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