Tuesday, August 9, 2011

That's Typing Tuesday #14: D.W. Griffith, Economic Meltdowns And The Politics Of Compromise

"That's Typing" Tuesday, in which I share unpolished, unpublished writings from my vast store of unpolished, unpublished writings. On Tuesdays.

I don't know what you were up to yesterday—me, I was watching my 401(k) go down the tubes. Again. That's twice in the last three years.

Last time (way back in 2008, if you can remember that far), things got so bad, we were about a week away from trading beaver pelts for food. This time? Well, let's just say if we have to resort to cannibalism, Katie-Bar-The-Door could last a pretty good while on my carcass.

But that won't do me much good.

They used to say Social Security was the "third rail" of American politics. Now it's compromise, the dirtiest word you can still say on daytime television, as long as you never admit to engaging in it. But while I can appreciate idealism and adherence to principle as much as the next guy, in this case, compromise
is the principle at stake—else we're all just frogs swimming across the river with a scorpion on our backs.

Anyway, in honor of the latest economic meltdown, here's D.W. Griffith's 1909 short
A Corner In Wheat, a National Film Registry selection that stands for the proposition that the more things change, the more they stay the same.


Erik Beck said...

Back when I had a 401(k) and the economy was tanking in late 01, we had a meeting with our rep. He kept assuring us that everything was fine and that we all had good investments. I asked him, "What about a company like Capital Consultants?" He went completely pale and couldn't speak for almost a minute and had to rally to explain that not all companies were like that.

Capital was a company in Portland, OR, near our store (Powell's) that my college roommate had worked at. Well, until the week before, when he had been greeted at the door by the FBI and SEC. My roommate wasn't involved, but they had some ugly schemes going and they were shut down. This was just after Enron as well.

Ah, the glory of retirement portfolios being dependent on the stock market. Good luck with yours. I hope you fare better than I did. My 401 continually lost money the whole time I had it.

But, it is a great excuse to post a great Griffith short, one I own on videotape.

Mythical Monkey said...

I worked on some bank enforcement cases back in the day -- I couldn't help but notice that the fraudsters and slicky boys who run any number of American banks and companies have an interesting philosophy about the role of government in the economy: when they're making money, regulation and taxes are evil, but when they lose their shirts, they're the first ones to hollar for the government to save their tails.

There are no libertarians in foxholes.