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Why the Coming Great Depression will be Worse Than the Last One

By       Message David Glenn Cox       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Oct. 2 (Bloomberg)- September's losses bring total jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007 to 7.2 million, the biggest decline since the Great Depression.

The media will not tell us the truth, and when they do it's because it's become old news. The truth just isn't in them; their job, as they see it, is to please their employer and not report the news. If you've ever watched any of the old movies from the thirties, there is always the character of the hot-tempered editor, yelling and screaming for the reporters to get the story.

Today with calm dispassion they say, "You're a damn fine reporter, you're fired! It came down from corporate this morning." Dan Rather is case in point but only because he was a household name. No one likes a person crowing about being right, so I won't. I'll just say that I've been calling this a depression for over a year.

It's not because I'm smart, it is because I'm old. It's my personal demographics. My parents were the youngest children in their respective families and I am the youngest child in my family. My father used to tell me, "The Civil War was a long time ago, but I knew two men who were in it." Both of my parents survived the last depression, my mother in the city of Chicago and my father in a small town in Ohio.

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My father warned me about the coming depression during Bush's first term, so actually the idea for this piece is his. "During the last depression people lived in the country or small towns and knew their neighbors. Now people live in cities and are strangers to most of their neighbors and they own more guns. We owned shot guns and hunting rifles but I don't think I ever saw my dad with a pistol."

My mother told me stories about people sleeping in vegetable gardens in their back yards with shotguns. She also explained about people sleeping on a sun porch. An item long lost to modern architecture, but it was a screened-in porch sometimes referred to as a chase porch or a sleeping porch. People didn't have air conditioning so they would sleep on the porch.

Prisons sometimes give inmates ice cream in the summer; not because it looks cute to see a three hundred-pound murderer eating a Klondike bar, they know that heat in confined spaces causes violence. Today's homes and apartments are not equipped to be cooled naturally. As more and more people turn off the air to save money, or have it turned off for them, look for tempers to rise.

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During the 1930's the country was almost 60% rural; times were bad but most still had food to eat. Even most people who lived in cities still had relatives back on the farm. When my father was twelve he was sent to live on his grandfather's dairy farm because his parents couldn't feed him. Times were hard and he never owned a new pair of shoes until he joined the Navy, but he always had food to eat.

My mother's situation was different. They were city people but they had strong family ties and strong ties with the Catholic Church. My mother attended Catholic school gratis but was required to pitch in when asked. Cleaning, washing, whatever a young girl could do. And when she stayed late she was fed. She remembers the nuns teaching her to sew and giving her fabric. She always hated Shirley Temple because in her movies she could just sing or dance and the depression just went away as nice rich folks would just shower her with love. But when you were a little girl in the real depression, it was a big fat insulting lie.

My mother's first taste of watermelon came from a trash can, and her first taste of steak came after her marriage. Her father abandoned the family. Like for millions of other men, it became harder and harder to go home and look at the faces of hungry children. I won't say that what he did was right, only that I understand. It was common during the depression for men to disappear. They lost their jobs and then their identities, then their pride, and then their souls.

My grandmother died of a heart attack when she was barely forty. She cleaned houses, took in laundry and mopped floors until it killed her. My Uncle Dan took over the family at the ripe old age of fifteen. He promised that he would never marry until his five brothers and sisters were married first. Only because of the strong family and church ties was this arrangement allowed to stand. How many families today could manage such an arrangement? To the end of her days my mother would not tolerate anything negative ever being said about her brother Dan.

The people in that era had the radio and the newspaper. Today we have television, radio, the Internet and the newspaper. But television has gone digital which means when the cable is shut off the TV is shut off. The radio really doesn't do news much anymore, just headlines and sports scores. Newspapers have grown expensive and are not commonplace like they once were. So when you can't pay your bills, where are you going to get your news from? Rush Limbaugh?

Living in the suburbs of Atlanta, public transportation here barely exists. When the unemployed need to travel, how will they go? On the farm the dairy made a daily pick up at six AM. My father was expected to help haul milk cans to the wagon and then could get a ride to school on the back. Already schools are cutting back on school buses, shortening routes and shrinking availability forcing parents to car pool. But what about when the parents can't do that anymore?

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Here in Gwinnett County the county government is looking at a one billion-dollar revenue shortfall. Houses sold under foreclosure are taxed according to the purchase price. So the tax base itself is shrinking. Remember those people whining, "Why should we bail out people who can't pay their mortgage?"
There's your answer, cities and counties across America are laying off policemen and firemen and closing fire stations and cutting back services.

People are going to die. I see more and more people on bicycles and small motor scooters. Our roads here are not designed for them and the result is inevitable. Let's assume you're homeless, where do your children legally attend school? Where you used to live? Or wherever you can get them in? How will you get their shots and their medical records, without transportation? Without those they will be turned away, you know.

More than anything else my father advised that "people were gentler in that era." Even so, riots and food riots were commonplace. Today people pack guns and tasers and pepper spray, ready at a moment's notice if they don't like the way you're looking at them. My father was in a food riot. Men were tossing down bags of Hoover's cracked wheat when someone became offended by the way the bag was thrown down. The people rushed the truck and hell was a poppin.

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)
 

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