Wednesday, May 11, 2005

It's all Bullshit

Well, today it has all officially become bullshit. The world, I mean. Life. Life is all bullshit, and the only way to survive is to put on a big pair of boots and become a cowboy. You still have to deal with the bullshit, but at least you’ve got a horse and gun and a branding iron, and you get to let the bull know who’s in charge. Or maybe become a matador…..

United Airlines defaulted on its pensions yesterday. 134,000 people have now seen their retirements trashed. These are average people who put in a lifetime of service with the promise that they would be taken care of after they retired. They’ve just been kicked into the gutter—or at least into the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, which is about the same thing. US Air retirees, who’s pensions were defaulted recently, have seen their benefits cut by 50%. If there is a definition of a crime against workers, this is it.

Now at least people may finally vote Bush and his corporate pig cronies out of office. Oh, wait, we can't vote Bush out, can we? He got reelected, and we got a banksuptcy bill, an attack on Social Security, and a huge tax break for the rich--mana for his corporate friends. Well, it's too late to get rid of Bush but the rest of these corporate clowns masqurading as statesment have got to go.

Maybe Robert Kiyosaki is right. You know him, the snake oil salesman who wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad and all those other get rich now books? He wrote that everybody needs to become an investor because pension plans will start to fail in the first decade of the 20th century. And, I hate to admit it, but he’s the reason I bought investment property before I was even through with grad school, and why I’m shopping around for coffee franchises while I look for a teaching job. With US air, Bethlehem Steel and now United, he appears to have been right, and it makes me sick. My dad was the so called “poor dad.” Like Kiyosaki, my dad was a teacher and minor politician his whole life. Dad is always telling me to get a good job with benefits and a pension plan (I’m 41 and I still don’t have a retirement plan). He always thought small business and investing was a bum deal, a pursuit of money as opposed to life, a selling of one’s soul for greed or a false sense of security. And, I must say, my dad is the happiest man I’ve eve known. He has lived the life he wanted to, lots of time off to scuba dive, sail, travel, bicycle, backpack, ski, fish, and all those other things he loves to do. He owns a house on the river with a good pension and few cares. I’ve known a lot of rich people, and not one of them is as happy, as healthy, as well adjusted as my dad. That’s why I’ve always believed in pension plans.

They are a thing of the past. The head of the flight attendant’s union, echoing Kiyosaki, said Monday that United’s action may signal the end of defined benefit retirement plans. Here I am, getting my Ph.D. in couple of weeks, and for what? If I luck into a low-paying university job—a thankless occupation, teaching, no matter what the so called “education president” says—there are only three things that make it worthwhile: time off, tenure, and a good pension plan. Well tenure is under attack from all sides, class loads are increasing, and now it looks like pensions may be a thing of the past. And they wonder why they can’t attract good teachers (just look at Arnold Schwarzenegger if you want a reason: he’s now going after my dad’s retirement).

One thing is certain: United’s board of directors, its senior executives, the government agency that refused to back its loans, and Judge Eugene R. Wedoff will all of them burn in hell like the worthless scum they are. When you steel from old people there is no torment to great for your sorry pig ass.

What has all this got to do with media studies? Nothing, really. I’m just mad.


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