Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Dear Crabby:

I was at my local coffee house yesterday waiting in line behind a businessman in an expensive suit and top coat. Two of the waitresses behind the counter were quietly complaining to one another about how their hours had been cut because business just wasn’t what it used to be. One even speculated that she might be let go all together if things remained status quo with the company.

After ordering his coffee, the businessman turned to them and very authoritatively said, “I suppose you’ll just have to learn how to be happy with less.”

I wanted to punch him. Here he was, pressed from a GQ magazine cover with a manicure and expensive leather shoes and satchel and he’s telling the rest of us to be happy with less. I notice that advice did not apply to him. What do you do or say in a situation like that?

- Georgia, ‘the groundskeeper’ – Duluth

Dear Sweet Peach with a Sour Pit:

I too grow weary of the rich who think the rest of us have been put on this planet to simply lick up their crumbs with a humble smile and grateful attitude. The last time I checked, I wasn’t born to amuse anybody. The same advice applies to you. And I am not amused at the insolence of your businessman either. I’m glad you didn’t sock him because then you would have been feeding into his stereotype of you.

Sounds to me like your businessman falls into what I classify as the ‘rich dummy’ category of the human species; someone so pampered and plush in their own existence that they are oblivious to the world beyond their own navel and naturally assume everyone else can just tighten their belts and make due.

To be clear, for this fellow ‘making due’ probably means cutting back on his lattes, down from four to three. Meanwhile, for the waitress it more than likely means she will have to start choosing between spending her limited finances on either food for the family or personal hygiene.

I don’t place faith, stock or merit in people who have all the money in the world to burn, but tell the rest of us who are on a budget how it should best be spent. They haven’t a clue how a dollar is made.

You’re a groundskeeper. You’re rolling in mud, not dough. The exec’ who stood before you yesterday has probably never even had a speck of dirt under his fingernails.

Bear this in mind. A recession is coming and it’s going to affect everyone except the ultra-wealthy. I don’t think your businessman falls into that category. He’s just an uppity upper-middle classman who gives a good show at playing rich because so far his salary has afforded him the opportunity.

But who do you think will be better equipped to weather our current and future economic downslide? Someone like yourself, who’s been pulling her share and then some all her life, or someone to whom a chipped nail means utter catastrophe?

I’ll say this; some of us are in for a rude awakening very soon. Most however, have already had their eyes wide open.

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic

Dear Crabby:

I was driving home and heard some economist talking about the absolute toxic nature of our new President’s economic plan and how it will devastate the already severely compromised U.S. economy. I have to tell you, as a divorced mom of two holding down three part time jobs, it scared the hell out of me and I don’t think I am alone in my fears. What are your thoughts?

-Sharon in Jersey
Dear Jersey:

Get ready because you’re about to be milked!

I think that left to his own devices President elect Obama’s economic policies will cripple the U.S. economy severely. Before being elected, Mr. Obama preached regularly on his pretty ideologies concerning free tuition, health care and tax rebates for the needy. It all sounded good, but you know what they say – too good to be true…and it probably is.

Those same economists who were silent prior to Obama’s win are only now starting to come out of the woodwork with their preliminary predictions of the financial Armageddon that’s fast approaching.

Now, for the good news. I don’t think Mr. Obama will hold true to his campaign promises. He wouldn’t be the first politico to ditch a voter commitment for an electoral caveat. I also don’t think he’ll have a fixed rudder on the economic plan he unveiled prior to being elected, for the simple fact that his advisors have probably since filled in the blanks about how utterly misguided his initial fiscal daydream was.

Recall that Obama first preached how he was going to ‘stick it’ to corporate greed and force successful companies to yield to the will of their workers. In effect, Obama’s America was a socialist one where the status quo was going to be ironed out until we all had the same amount of wrinkles. Sounds good, except for one small problem: no successful company is about to bow to any government, simply because its’ President says so.

For example: if you told IBM tomorrow that they were just going to have to give away 40% of their profits to the less fortunate in order to do business in the U.S., IBM would likely pack up their old kit bag, smile and hightail it over to China where worker wages and expectations on worker’s quality of life remain at a bare minimal. It’s a pity individuals like yourself, who are about to see their taxation go through the roof, cannot afford the same luxury of pulling up stakes to some other sunny retreat on the planet.

The good news then is that Obama’s need for a second term in office will preclude him from acting with more derelict disregard for ‘Joe the Plumber’ than he probably would have if he had sailed into office on a golden parachute of good economic times. That’s good news for everyone.

The bad news is that the economy is going to get worse – perhaps a lot more – before it gets better.

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic

Dear Crabby:

Mister! You got rocks in your head!

We’re not in a recession! North Americans have always come in three classes: rich, middle class and poor. Nothing’s going to change that. While you’re talking about tougher times, you neglect to mention that everyone has it rough at one time or another and that’s just life. Get on with it and stop complaining.

- Geoff in Bradley

Dear Rich Dummy:

Ding! Ding! Ding! Wake up call!

The world economy has been in a slump for some time. The other day, the U.S. government finally admitted as much by declaring that we are, in fact, in a recession.

I don’t know where you get your news from, but it’s rather obvious to me that you are utterly clueless when it comes to commenting about where the economy is headed. To be this misguided you either have to be drinking the 'good Kool-aid' or very well off.

Since you’ve proven your ability to type an email to me, I have to categorize you in the second category. Good for you. Whether you made your millions yourself, inherited them or simple married into money is irrelevant to this discussion.

I just wish you’d bear in mind that not everyone shares your viewpoint or your budget. Most middle class incomes are plummeting. Unemployment is on the rise. Good paying jobs are fast becoming a thing of the past and the price of daily essentials; food, gas, hydro bills, continues to rise.

We’ve already seen the instability of the financial markets reach a point of critical mass. Expensive bailouts are pending for the manufacturing industry. A lot of big chain retailers are also on the cusp of total annihilation.

Where have you been? If the answer is ‘on vacation’, then it must have been a long one! If you've merely been napping, I am here to tell you that you've been asleep too long!

Open your eyes, Geoffrey. President Obama will see to it that you’re forced to open your wallet.

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic

@The Crabby Critic 2008 (all rights reserved).