Monday, August 22, 2011


As stated elsewhere, America is a consumerism society ( Knowing this , companies do all they can to get us to want ever "more," "more" whatever. But we are well into the new normal of this country where we cannot always want more. We are going to have to decide when enough is enough. When we are happy with what we have and concentrate more on maintaining that. The effect on the economy of the country of not always wanting "more" will be severe. In fact a new economy will have to be invented.

There are people who have decided that we have far too much government. Unfortunately our previous president ruined the economy of the country, and we now have Federal revenues of what they were in 1950 as percent of GDP, though we have twice the population we had then. In the meantime in order to keep the country from sliding into a 1930s style recession, our government spent a lot of money; however, the situation is so dire that our government is running up huge deficits that are making some people very nervous. A recent article suggested that we need to cut the Federal budget by $7.4 trillion over the next decade. If we do this, it will put us into a deep depression at least as bad as in the 1930s.* Think of things we have now that we didn't have in 1950, for example, but with twice the population we will have to go back farther. So one better think of what is enough to make you happy and try to arrange your life to protect that. Even the Debt Ceiling Compromise, if totally enacted, may put us into a recession toward the end of the 10 years:

The topic of "more" has been in some movies too. For example take Key Largo. At a point in that movie Humphrey Bogart says to Edward G. Robinson (the crook), "I know what you want." Robinson replies, "Whaaat?" Bogart replies, "You want more. That's what you want." Robinson sort of looks off into space and says, "Yes, yes that's what I want. At least I always have." These are not direct quotes but close enough.

Another is The Treasure of Sierra Madre. The grizzeled old prospector says to his two tenderfeet, "Before we go to search for gold, we have to set a goal for how much we want." The tenderfeet don't like it, but go along. In the end the grizzeled old prospector has none of the gold but is being well taken care of by a tribe of Indians because he saved one of their children. He is happy. One of the tenderfeet who has the gold, Humphrey Bogart, gets captured by benditos who don't know what gold dust is and let it be carried away by the wind while Bogart gets killed. The other tenderfoot leaves the gold to go in search of the wife of a dead prospector and apparently he is happy too. I very much like both of these movies because of their morals.

*Recall that Social Security was in existence then but there was no cost of living increase.

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