I’ve been thinking about attention. Actually I’ve been thinking about 2010, the American public, NEWS/ information, TWEETS, errata, our situations, the world events, and 2011. It is said that “knowledge is power.” THAT is a very valid assessment for all of us to consider; but do we really believe it, follow it, and live it. We are in the midst of some very critical times right now. A major crashing of our hallowed institutions is just outside our doors. The reaper is lurking. Are we worried? Are we listening? Are we preparing? Do we know the situations? What is being done on our behalf? Will this work? Are we paying attention? Do we even care? (I wonder if it will snow again, today?)
You see as we approach the end of 2010, I’ve been doing more TH*NKNG than usual. (I have a headache today, but I can’t take any painkillers because of my blood thinners, DAMN!) I usually try to summarize my take on where we are at this point in time in the last columns of a given year. (I feel frustrated this morning, but I can’t put my finger on it, “Hi Mac, good morning, Honey.”) The US public has a dubious attention span and this non-diagnosed chronic condition is not being treated, it is being exploited! This has been cultivated because everything we experience now is in micro bytes. Those in power, in control, and elected or appointed office want us kept in the dark so we get fed our data/ information in squirts. (“Yeah Honey, I just gave you a fresh bowl of crunchies and water.”) We rarely get enough to form our own option, much less get incensed, and act upon it. We have THEIR opinion, THEIR assessments, and share THEIR lack of concerns. (“Oh, did you come over to love me, Mac... good boy... such a handsome dog, Carmen and Dudley have such a wonderful son! Yeah, good boy...”)
TWEETS are blurbs that are posted on-line to share our lives with people we don’t even know, much less care about. They are read not because they are enlightening, but because they come from somebody famous, a famous wannabe, or somebody outrageous. They don’t have to be true. They can be fantasy, frivolous, erotic, erratic... They entertain, but rarely enlighten. They are just there. They steal our precious time, our attention, and obscure our focus. (Oh Mac, there goes a squirrel...). We have gone beyond the brainwashing of Orwell’s 1984. And we don’t even know it. (“That’s it, Honey; you tell Mr. Squirrel all about it!) TWEETS are bad enough when we see them for what they are. They are an addiction/ a distraction... unfortunately this mini- (whose car is that over at ...?) bites of what is happening is how we get our News. The evening News broadcasts are more like the scads of entertainment, and engineered reality shows. People may be watching, but they are not absorbing. (The general public has an attention span of what, six seconds???) We are only being fed enough “truth” to cover the butts of the media, and our elected official for when the day of reckoning comes, they can point to these diverse micro-bytes and say “see, we told you...” The bulk of us don’t even know this. We have lost our ability to concentrate, to TH*NK, and to act. (Are we doomed...!?!)
We may have “ah ha” moments when we get our bank notices, go to re-invest a CD, read our brokerage statement, or talk to our accountant or to our investment advisor. 22% to 24% are actually unemployed or under-employed right now --- not the “official” 9.8%. This is going to get worse in 2011 and in 2012. (I TH*NK I’ll go grocery shopping today.) Many US household are finding that there is too much month left at the end of the money. We can no longer look to our homes as a “cash stations.” Something like 60% of homes with mortgages are now under water --- more owed than the current value. (Maybe I ought to do laundry today.) 40% of those are behind a payment, or two, or are in default. Foreclosures are at a record number. The real crunch should come in 2011, and 2012. (“What do you TH*NK Mac, two loads, or three?”)
Our government maybe bought the BIG banks and the investment houses some time with bailouts in the TRILLIONS, but nothing has been done to restructure, give aid to, or to fix the household debts and mortgage messes of main street. Should this even be part of Uncle $ugar’s role in society? (Nobody put a gun to their heads to make them borrow, now did they?) Most nationwide banks are not now lending even though the FED is shoveling out electronic cash like some stevedore on steroids! Three banks were closed/ resolved in 2007. Twenty-five banks were in 2008. 140 were shuttered in 2009. To date, there are 157 in 2010. The FDIC problem list of banks “officially” stands at 860 s of now. (Yeah right... 860???) 2011 will continue this trend. Have I got your attention, yet?
2011 will be a particularly brutal year for all levels of governmental units (as will 2012). The Federal Government has a better level of propaganda, but it will be forced to face the wolves at the door. Will the death of the EURO finally pull the US DOLLAR over the edge? (I fear it will!) Which cities, counties, and states will default on their municipal and governmental debts? On which obligations owed to providers and employees will they legally renege? Which cities, counties, and will formally declare themselves bankrupt, and seek “forgiveness” and relief in the courts? (Hummm... THAT has never really happened before...) our focused attention is of the utmost importance now. Be forewarned about 2011 and 2012! Are you truly aware of the financial status of your bank(s), your home community, your home county, and/ or your home state? (I am...) Have I got your attention, yet?
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2010 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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This story was published on December 20, 2010.