Politicians on both sides of the aisle, conservative, liberal and progressive alike are wringing their hands, pounding their chests and jumping in front of every live microphone available to display their concern and worry over the economic crisis. They say they are fighting for the middle class family. They say now is not the time for partisan hatchet jobs and politics as usual.
Yet while they proclaim this the stimulus bill President Obama wants to pass didn't receive a single republican vote in the House. Banks that cried "bail us out or we're going to collapse!" are throwing multimillion dollar parties at the Super Bowl and having upscale corporate retreats in West Palm Beach.
And the middle class family, the people these elected officials claim they want to help are literally killing themselves.
By now we've all heard of the families in California both last week and over the past couple of months where the father and in some cases the mother as well kill their kids and then themselves. In Ohio last week another case was reported and while authorities there will not confirm the reason, the common thread throughout all the families is job loss, loss of savings and inability to provide for their loved ones.
"Murder suicides may be the tip of the iceberg" says Sampson Lee Blair a Sociologist at University of Buffalo. "There is" He continued " a clear association between suicide rates and the state of the larger economy. High levels of stress arising from job loss are compounded by the level of responsibility that goes along with being a spouse and for being a parent."
At a recent meeting in Geneva, World Health Organization Director-General, Margaret Chan, said "We should not be surprised or underestimate the turbulence and likely consequences of the current financial crisis," She also went on to say, "It should not come as a surprise that we continue to see more stresses, suicides and mental disorders.''
And while these experts in the field of health care and human behavior are counseling us and warning us about what could arguably be called the annihilation of the family unit, our elected political officials, the people many are putting all their trust in and seeking out for help are engaging in the very partisan hackery and politics as usual they claim to eschew.
Republicans want to push more of the same old tax cuts, failing to realize that they simply don't work. Trickle down economics never did work, at least to the grand effect they were supposed to. If it did, we wouldn't be in this predicament. They had years in the Reagan and Bush the First administrations to get something going and they didn't. They had six years in complete power with George W. and I think we can see where that went, down a deep, deep hole.
Yet they'll be among the first to cry foul when people and pundits alike start calling them crazy. But what else can they be called when the very definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and yet expecting different results all the time!
President Obama said last week he'd be willing to discuss their concerns and make certain concessions if necessary and as he sees fit. And he even did have removed from the bill certain things that the republicans said were dealbreakers. Did this change anyone's mind? Did this get the President at least one republican vote? Not at all.
He has reached out to the Republican Leadership and has truly wanted to begin the necessary bipartisan work to get help to the millions of people and families that desperately need it. And there's John McCain saying the same old buzz words "There's too much spending, too much unnecessary spending, not the right kind of tax cuts and no end game"
Translation: The liberals want to spend your money to fix things, how dare they! Not the right kind of tax cuts, I mean, what does a family of four earning fifty grand a year, that is if they still have the jobs to earn that much, what do they need with a tax cut that would be better given to those who earn twenty times as much, right?
Again, trickle down economics never work, they never have and they never will. And while President Obama was excoriating the banking institutions who took corporate retreats and tried to take ownership of a new multimillion dollar plane, two families, one in California the other in Ohio, were shot to death by their patriarchs. Each were facing economic issues never before experienced. Each had children to care for and though one of them got their job back they were told that with the current climate at that company, it would have been better if he "blew his brains out". Advice, it would appear, he took to heart.
I think President Obama gets this more than most. And to him I would only want to advise him to be careful with the exceptions he's making. His opposition is not looking at his concessions as niceness or genuine concern, they're viewing it as a weakness they can use for their advantage.
I wonder how many people will die, how many fathers will feel the enormous impotence of will, embarrassment and stress it takes to put a gun to their child's head and pull the trigger thinking that there is no way out and their life, up to that point, was as good as it was ever going to get. I wonder what that one person will be thinking as they swallow their own bullet knowing that this wasn't how it was supposed to be. This wasn't what he wanted for his kids and himself. He was a hard working man with a dream of giving his kids a better life than he had.
Now all that's left is the remains of what he once was in a life that was once his, bleeding out in a home that was once his until the bank foreclosed on it and he couldn't bring himself to tell his wife and kids they now had no where to live.