Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's The Economy, Stupid!

At the end of my last post I said Bill is gone and Nate is back, and it wasn't more evident than last night. The tips of my fingers hurt, the soles of my feet hurt, and I feel fantastic.

Nate and Paul came into my calm day of watching free Netflix movies and reading in a whirlwind of energy and musical inspiration. It wasn't long before we were writing songs again, Nate and I on guitar and Paul on drums. We now have about 5-6 songs to flush out in the coming week.

Around 11, we needed to pick up bagels for the week, so we headed downtown. The dumpster on Bedford flowed with cinnamon raisin, poppyseed, sesame, and garlic. I had a field day again. There has never been a time where I failed to retrieve bagels, and this time we scored about a dozen. We hopped the train to Manhattan because Nate was craving Mamoun's Falafel. Paul went home, and us jobless rogues decided to go for a walk around Manhattan.

We walked around the village, Washington Square, up to 14th St. to the Trader Joe's to see if we could score some produce (1 a.m. is not the time to find free produce) down to Alphabet City, to the Lower East Side, down to the South St. Seaport, where Nate worked in the summer, and into the financial district.

Nate is a stanch Ron Paul supporter, and for most of the night we talked about the economy. We both oppose the stimulus bill. For me, it seems illogical that a massive amount of spending will "pump up" the economy. Nate was telling me about an Austrian economic belief that pulls government out of people's lives and forces everything to be very competitive private businesses. This way, quality is improved and people have the choice between different companies.

I still believe in government funded education, police force, and health care, but I could see where he's coming from. The solution to a better economy is LESS government intervention, not more. At this point, we're too deep into this economic shit to do this, because of the national debt and the unpaid mortgages, but we'll see if this stimulus package actually works.

New York is beautiful because of the independent businesses. Every place around me is run by a family owned enterprise. Granted, quality is definitely sacrificed in a lot of instances, but there are about a dozen different groceries, laundromats, coffee shops, etc. Nate's belief is that no one takes better care of you than the community, so a privately owned hospital has incentive to take better care of their patients than a government-owned universal health care plan. The problem is that HMOs are in control of most of the medical practices today and it's destroying any sort of independent medical practice. Also malpractice lawsuits make it almost impossible for an indpendent doctor to exist.

As we walked we talked about this, and I learned a great deal about economics. It was never a field that interested me, but it is very critical right now to have a good understanding of what's going on. I just watched a video on cnn.com that kind of alarmed me, but it's probably true:

Yes, this election motivated many young people, but what are they doing now? Do they know what the details of the stimulus bill are? Are they going to be critical of Obama, or simply live unconcerned now that their celebrity is in office? I like Obama a lot. I think he truly does care about people and not power, and I know he did a lot of community service and worked closely with compassionate people. I don't think he will repeat the Bush disaster, but at the same time, I'm not letting him off the hook. If the people aren't critical of the government, who will be?

South Street Seaport is beautiful at 2 a.m. We stood under the Brooklyn Bridge and you could faintly see the Statue of Liberty through the night fog. A small freighter was coming in to dock, and the quiet streets of the financial district were the most desolate places I've seen in New York. We walked to Wall Street and stood in front of the Stock Exchange, with a huge American Flag across the front. We read about J.P. Morgan and all the historical facts concerning the beginnings of Wall Street. We took pictures in front of it and headed down to Ground Zero, passing French retail stores along the way that sold $300 sweaters and saddles. The observation walkway was blocked off, but we checked out a picture of what they intended the new site to look like:

Putting things into perspective, I'd rather be unemployed at this point in my life. I can get by on basically nothing, and work is going to come soon. I just have to REALLY persevere. I applied at Philip Glass's recording studio yesterday, and it was the only place to get back to me:


Thanks for getting in touch about our studios. Unfortunately, we're closing our doors for good at the end of the month. Best of luck out there...


Christian Rutledge, Studio Manager
632 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012
212.353.2000 www.glassnyc.com


  1. "HMOs are in control of most of the medical practices today and it's destroying any sort of independent medical practice. Also malpractice lawsuits make it almost impossible for an independent doctor to exist."


    "Nate's belief is that no one takes better care of you than the community, so a privately owned hospital has incentive to take better care of their patients than a government-owned universal health care plan."

    False. Personally, I was left to rot with an imploding appendix on a stretcher in a hallway by myself for 2+ hours. This was at New York Presbyterian, a private hospital and consistently considered to be one of the best hospitals in the country (and in my community). I feel this was wholly because of the confusion about my health insurance status. I had out-of-state emergency coverage and at least twice the ER doctors asked me "Now, you're sure you have insurance?" Because, apparently, without insurance I couldn't afford to slowly die in a hallway. Or sleep without a blanket or was told I couldn't call my family because it was an out-of-nyc area code.

    There is no reason why this mythical 'community doctor' (that doesn't really exist for most people any longer) can't exist within the realm of a nationalized health care system.

    Especially considering the disastrous financial situation are in where people can't AFFORD to be sick, it is of the utmost importance that we insure that everyone in this country has access to health care. This is not feasible any longer through this mangled, capital-driven privatized system we have now.

    For example, one of my mother's co-workers was laid off after 20+ years at Blue Cross, she and everyone else believes this was because her health costs were too high (costing the company too much $), as she required dialysis every few days or so. Her supervisor has repeatedly stated that her health condition has not nor has ever affected her job performance. But, still laid off. From a fucking health insurance company!

    Community doctors my ass. The government must take steps to ensure equal coverage. And Austria isn't so wholly privatized either - public health insurance is mandatory and "Equal accessibility to health care services for all and the solidarity in the compulsory health insurance scheme are -- even under budget constraints -- unquestioned values." So, really?

    Here's the website for that last bit: http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/MeetingAbstracts/ma?f=102274617.html

  2. I whole-heartedly support universal health care for this reason. I think privatization is good when you have a choice, but when something like your health comes along and you may not be able to afford health care, a universal coverage plan would be better.

    For example, my dad has hemophilia and has been on medication for 40+ years. He's been paying for health insurance, but it's going to run out. There's only a certain amount of health care they can give you. If you use up all your health care, that's just too bad for you. He's going to be dropped and my mom's health care plan is going to have to pick him up. It's complete bullshit. Not only that, it's not like he CHOSE to have hemophilia, but he still needs the medication. So what can you do about that?

    I think there are certain things you're entitled to, such as education, health care, and protection. The government should be in charge of these things. Maybe privatization will work in certain places, but not everywhere. This is why I said "Nate believes" instead of "we believe." I'm simply playing devil's advocate

  3. Comparing Austrian economics to the current state of the COUNTRY of Austria's practices? Really? Look up Austrian economics before you comment on it. Mises.org

    Im sorry, i hate debating online,and i am not going to respond to anything else said here, but that is proof right there how little either of you know about what i am into. So, really nogic, why debate kleeb on second hand quotes made about things i've said....thats just silly. I can't help that he felt like typing out what he thought i said (some of it may be correct) or what it made him think about. I can only defend what I BELIEVE not what someone else gets from what i believe. So, take apart things i believe IN PERSON and IN FRONT OF ME, WITH ME PRESENT not second hand. TANKS cuple too tree

    love you, and im not angry, just alittle weirded outttttt

    oh and dooo me a bigg favor, both of you, don;t get all WHOAAAA DUDEEEE CHILLL OUTT JEEEZEEEEEE NOT EVVVERYONE THINGS LIKE YOUUU that's some scarrry reverse psychology shit and it freaks me out.

  4. I'm with you with your semi-libertarian view there kleeb.

    The stimulus bill sucks, individually it's going to cost each fully-employed taxpayer in the country $63,000.

    But you think that's bad? The stimulus bill is going to be ~$500 billion... But the total price of the bank bailouts has been 4.6 trillion