Recession? What Recession?

We have a long ways to go. Standards of living in Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico are far below the lowered standards of living we are experiencing since the bubble burst.

I recall a nearly naked man in Brazil, living on the jungle floor outside of town. I recall a haggard 14 year-old man-handling an iron-wheeled wheelbarrow. In it were three buckets of water. The total weight approached 170 pounds. The boy weighed 80.  He pushed it 1/4 mile on an uneven surface to some bricklayers. He stopped every 40-50 feet to adjust his load. I recall the farm laborer, also in Ecuador, going home from work. He dozed precariously on a 2″x10″ plank on a metal rack above a pickup bed. The pickup jostled wildly. I recall the roadside homesteaders in Brazil, the saw sharpener in Brazil, the neighborhood in Marituba, in which, if you had a hammer, you were known as he who owned a hammer, the one to borrow from..The idle young men. The three room house with three light bulbs, dirty floors and one bed for three children. No one in the four families we dined with owned a car. The walking masses. The cowboys of Ecuador. The farmers drying lima beans on the roadway.

We must view the hardships of our recession comparatively.


Losing Wealth

The headline read: Americans Lose 18% of Their Wealth.

Liberals must be delighted. To them, wealth is evil. They constantly castigate those who possess wealth. They concoct ways to take it. They tax it. They make it hard to amass. They think people should avoid it.

With an 18% reduction, liberals must be thrilled. Hard economic times seem to be their aim.

Barney Frank: COO

Barney Frank, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and ardent liberal, made it explicit how government as a stockholder becomes government as manager. American International Group, the large insurance company, received $170 billion lately from “the government”. What did they do with it? Barney found out and he doesn’t like it. Among other things, they paid out over $100 million in bonuses. Some went to employees who were responsible for the company’s sorry condition. AIG says it is contractually bound to pay the bonuses and that if it didn’t pay, it will have to pay to fight lawsuits.

Barney knows better. He said something like, ” Now that the government is a major stockholder, it’s time to act like managers. Maybe there should be some firings.” The House Financial Services committee will thus be the managers of a very large company, in its spare time.

That’s what happens when you nationalize. You get management-by-politician. Congress makes a ditzy manager.

“Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” Frederic Bastiat.

It’s Your Body. Move It.

No one can save your body but you. Appetite is up to you. You pick your foods. You decide when to stop.

Exertion is up to you. You choose exertion or sloth. Only you can move your extremities.

Exercise opportunities abound. You need no fancy gym membership. You have a floor, right? What can you do with floors? Pushups. Leg lifts. Stretches, situps, jumping jacks, rope jumping. You have a street, right? It may even have sidewalks. Walking, jogging and running sites are everywhere. No special equipment is needed.

What is required is your will.

Your BMI, body mass index, is completely within your control. No one has lashed you to the couch. No one force feeds you. Weight is your responsibility. No one but you can make you thin or fat.

No public agency can make healthy choices for you, though we often hear proposals for government to scold fast food, regulate serving size, forbid siting of new outlets, regulate or proscribe entirely advertising, and require subdivision developers to  set aside trails and bike paths. Their ideas for what others must do for you abound. But self-control is something only you can do.

Solving the obesity crisis demands, more than anything, individual responsibility. Take responsibility. Walk. Choose plain food. Imbibe modest quantities. Do not make excuses. Do not let others make excuses for you. You are no victim. Habits are strong but can be changed. Though influenced by upbringing, associates and society, none is a captive.