When I went away to college, the dining hall was run by a company known as Saga Foods. Palatable, but not special (except for my dining companions). Except on Saturday night. Saturday was steak* night. Saga Bill would stand outside all afternoon in the Northern Illinois cold grilling steaks over several charcoal grills. Several times I noticed a phenomenon. Just when I got to the point in the serving-line where one would normally be handed their steak on a plate, they ran out. Boom. That's it. I got the alternative choice which no one had taken - Liver and Onions. Now, I like onions well enough, but I never developed a taste for liver. As a matter of fact, I couldn't abide it at all. It was not that I hadn't tried. But the important thing was that the change-over came just when I got there.
Several years later, when I went into the Army it happened every time I turned around. I waited my turn and when it got to me to be my turn, the whole game changed. When I was inducted, the rest of the guys boarded an airplane to fly off to basic training. I was unceremoniously abandoned to fend for myself. In WOCS (Warrant Officer Candidate School) we were hazed constantly by upperclassmen. The practice stopped when my cohort became upperclassmen. When I got to Vietnam, all the others were assigned leaving me standing by myself.
Now, It is about to happen to me again. I have lived my life pretty much by the rules. Behaved myself. Gotten myself out of all debt. Stayed with my job for 25 years. And I am getting toward the portion of the line where they serve the steak - retirement. I never expected much. Just enough to get by on. That miscellaneous cut of meat that is tough, but tastes good enough. But I expected to have some rest (and escape from the ingrateful complaining people adults and children who make up most of our educational system). But as I approach that point in the line, I see the steaks dwindling. The Politicians, the media people, and their cronies have taken the biggest ones for themselves; and more important than that, they are throwing the rest in the trash. They are debasing our currency to buy themselves one more election cycle. They are going to loot our retirements directly by taxation and indirectly by debt so they can get votes and contributions (read bribes) from groups like the UAW and others. They are going to prolong the agony of that meltdown at the expense of my future.
It's not just the stock market, but that doesn't help. That was just a place where people and retirment systems could store their wealth. With everyone trying to escape from being stuck when Obama and the Democrats (in particular, but no exclusively) raise capital gains taxes, no one is buying, so the price goes down and wealth just evaporates.
It is the money itself. Whether the bailout comes from loans from the Chinese ( interest is the largest item in the Federal Budget) or from printing and circulating unbacked currency, our National Treasury is being depleted and our money is not worth as much, will not buy as much, will not support us as much or as long as we planned.
It will not repay our sacrifice in scrimping and saving to accumulate it. And we at retirement will never be able to rebuild our individual wealth.
Whatever I have saved, What ever I have put away, Whatever retirement I have accrued, is about to be liver-and-onions. Just so the politicians can have one election cycle. Just so the UAW can have its overpaid and under-worked jobs for another three months. Just so the executives at AIG can have one more banquet.
And, don't get me started on that line over there for Medical care. Good Medical care is about to run out too. Just wait until the Politicians fix that one.
*Steak in the sense that they were once beef from real cows. The cut of meat wasn't really a good one, and they were tough, but they had sat in the juices and tasted good enough.