We all love a little disaster here and there; it keeps us sharp, it keeps us alert. A tsunami followed by a hurricane, and everyone’s up in arms about the environmental emergency and solidarity for our fellow human brethrens. As we are reaching the end of the first decade of the third millenium, I don’t think anything has been so collectively shared as this economic crisis. North America, the European Union, and now Asia – finally something to bring us all together! We can finally rest on our neighbour’s shoulders knowing they are suffering as much as we are. The flipside of the coin, however, is that we do have someone to blame – and for once, this someone is not God.

I am bitter, angry, and slightly (understand: immensely) freaked. I am currently in France, and they say it hasn’t been this bad since the 1973 oil crisis. The unemployement numbers have gone over 2 million (for a population of about 62 million). All around me, I see houses being seized, I see people losing their jobs or splitting hairs to make sure they keep theirs. There is a climate of fear around the Hotel de Ville, usually so vibrant and smelling like Christmas money at this time of year. But 2009 won’t ring another happy twelve months in the wonderful bosom of capitalism. The Christmas trees they sell by rue du Temple are smelling dangerously like fear, apprehension and social distress. At least it’s not as bad as the sulfur oozing from the riots in Greece.

I wish I could say it’s too bad, but it’s not. I know socialism is supposed to be a bad word, but it’s fucking not. This bullshit has been brought to us by those assholes who thought subprimes were the best idea since the beerhat. It wasn’t. A college sophomore could have figured it would backfire badly and that Pain, Loss and Bad Credit would take a permanent residence in our national rectums. When a handful of children screw up and get caught, parents grab them by the collar and drag them home. They’re grounded and won’t have any cheesecake for dessert. I’m calling for economic discipline. It’s time for the government to stop being so lax and no longer give the green light to corporate greed. Do I sound like a bloody communist? Hey, it may be because the unemployement agency called and said that they were currently suspending applications. Companies are withdrawing offers by the second and they’re no longer in a position to give any satisfying answer to anyone. Because I’m a lucky postgraduate, the specific branch of the agency also said they were unofficially suggesting to any academically proficient job-seeker to leave the country. “We’re not supposed to say that, but it’s not going to get any better”, said the 35+ counsellor. “You’ll be way too overqualified for anything that might possibly be offered. You should leave.”

This is so not how I wanted to spend my Christmas.

I don’t think anyone in the United States is ready for any sort of government-supported initiative, but that’s basically what happened with the bail-out. It was corporate socialism. In an era where young graduates are basically required to sit and rot in the basement of their parents’ home – parents that are constantly afraid of being laid off and lose their house over missing a mortgage payment – how come corporate solidarity is acceptable, but social help isn’t? Socialism is only bad when it helps people? Something is definitely rotten in the kingdom of Denmark. It’s time to reign in the delinquent brokers and tell them they’ll have to answer to someone from now on. Possibly someone who wouldn’t give a few hot shots at Lehman Brothers a six-digit number cheque as a goodbye present. It’s not just a question of political ideology at this stage – this policy affected the entire Western World, and I’m not sure Barack Obama himself is now capable of saving his country from the wrath of others. The world is pissed, y’all, and it righteously is so.

And because I like to think of this blog as an interactive one, please come over, and share your new story about being poor! What does being poor mean to you? How many Cuppa Soup bowls can you have in one day? Have you befriended any collectors lately? I bet your supermarket aisles look a little empty. Do tell! Let’s share our stories to keep us warm.

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