Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What I call a "Hooray USA!" article

Americangoy is addicted to this world wide web thing aka the internet.

In my perusal of the yahoo finance section (and there is my first mistake, natch), I came upon the following comedy gold gem:

America's Pursuit Of Happiness

Feel free to read up all of it - Warning: May make you gag, throw up or laugh uncontrollably.

For me, it was so much fun I had to read it again. Following are quotes from the article and my reaction to them:

"Public Opinion: Each time you open a newspaper or turn on a TV, you'll hear how unhappy, glum and dissatisfied Americans are. Don't believe it. The U.S. is, to borrow a phrase, the happiest place on Earth."
It is smurftastic here in the Yoo Ess of Ey. Anybody who tells you otherwise is a damn lib commie.

""Most Americans say they are generally happy, with a slim majority saying they are 'very happy,'" according to the Gallup Poll released on the final day of 2007."
I wonder what the question was. It is all in the framing. For example, it could have been: Are you happy you are in USA and not in Iraq right now? The answers to that question would range from happy all the way to deliriously ecstatic.

""More than 8 in 10 Americans say they are satisfied with their personal lives at this time, including a solid majority who say they are 'very satisfied.'""
Ah so basically the poll from the Gallup folks asked about people's personal lives. Since in America, the eternal answer to the eternal question of 'How are you?' is 'Fine, and you?', no matter if at the moment the answeree has painful boils on his back, has deadly cancer and just lost his parents in a horrible accident, the answer stays the same: 'Fine, I am happy (and silently followed by 'and now feel free to fuck off').

It is how we roll in America. If somebody answered the question with the unvarnished truth, people would run from that person.

'My back is hurting and my ass itches after working in front of the computer for 9 hours straight'
'Uh huh, I gotta go now. Well, see you' *quick shuffle of feet and slamming of door*

"Another extensive survey conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center found that 65% of Americans termed themselves "satisfied" with their lives. That compares with the four economic powerhouses of Britain, France, Germany and Italy, which averaged about 53%."

Well there is good news and bad news there. Satisfied people do not reach for the next level, do not work harder to achieve their goals - because they are satisfied with what they got. Glass half full situation here.

The author then asks the question: "The question is, why are Americans so darned happy?".

And then goes on to explain exactly why.

You see, the author is an expert on happiness (perhaps CNN, FOX and MSNBC should hire him to be an expert on happiness. There is always room for another pundit on US TV News).

Even though he or she is never identified for writing the following bullshit errr expert opinion piece.

To wit:

"For one thing, Americans are far richer than those in other countries."
OoooooKaaaay. Are we counting the crushing credit card debt and home mortgage debt And monthly payments for the car?

"Americans' homes have roughly twice the square footage per occupant as those in the EU, Americans own more appliances, and, on average, they spend about 77% more each year than Europeans."
Americans are happy because we got BIG refrigerators and microwave ovens. And big ass TV's. And big ass sofa's. For our big asses
Guess us fatties are just naturally jolly.

"Yet, though the U.S. economy is head-and-shoulders above the others, you'd never know it from our friends in the mainstream media."
Our economy is sooo great, that the author here is probably typing with one hand just thinking about it. But alas, the liberal media only reports the negative news for some reason.

Why do people need to know about credit card debt, the mortgage crisis.

Perhaps the fact that we have the best best medical care in the world makes us Americans giddy with happiness.

"U.S. household wealth climbed from $38.8 trillion in 2002 to $58.6 trillion in the third quarter of 2007, an unprecedented 51% surge in just five years. That includes the recent meltdown in home prices."
That is interesting, as the fact that the richest 1% in the USA owned 38% of all wealth in the country somewhat skews the results.

I guess my google fu is weak as the $38.8 trillion in 2002 to $58.6 trillion household wealth jump is nowhere to be found by me. Would appreciate the readers if you found where that statistic is coming from and clued me in.

"Moreover, despite the near-collapse in housing, the U.S. economy remains strong. It grew at a 3.1% rate during the first three quarters, and almost certainly kept growing in the final three months."

Forgive me y'all, but I am an idiot. As a normal Joe Schmoe, should I jump for joy at the 3.1% growth rare during 3 quarters? What does it mean to ME that the economy is so fantastic. Perhaps this statistic means more to the international business cartels, but to me, personally, the collapse of the housing market (nothing near about it; it is here) is a much more important statistic than a 3.1% growth of...economy. I don't give a flying fuck if the GDP or economy grows 3% or falls 3% - it makes no difference to me personally.

Besides, other than the yahoo at yahoo finance, I am getting a slightly different picture of the whole growth phenomena here:

Economic growth slowest since '02

And what is this about a recession?

I think recession is bad, and equals negative growth of the economy, right?

What is interesting to me is that when bush, the republican, was in power, the economic policies artificially inflated the housing market, chiefly by making it easy for lenders to lend to people who should not have had that money lent to them...

Remember bush saying that everyone should have a house?
Well, according to me, not if you cannot afford it, you dumbass!

That was Greenspans game.

But now, since a Democrat is coming soon to power, we shall get this:
Pain Street USA 2008

Basically the 'housing bubble' was artificially kept up by this dishonest government, to, again artificially, prop up the failing economy. You see, the housing bubble was an engine of the economy, since "(...)These home equity loans and cash-out refinancing deals have been a major engine for consumer spending in an economy characterized by relatively slow job and income growth."

And now that the Democratic president is inevitable...

This scheme is delicious in its evilness... This is cynicism on a whole different level

Deal with that Hillary! Hah! TV will crucify you and guess what - the bad economy will be all YOUR fault (and not Greenspan's wacky housing bubble policy or bush's wacky war in Iraq - no, it will be the Democratic president's fault). This is so brilliantly evil Pol Pot is giving a thumbs up from hell for the republicans.

Moving on with the article:
"Economist Irwin Stelzer adds another reason why Americans are happy right now: a million new jobs over the last year, a milestone that is underpinning U.S. economic growth right now."

Gee whiz, I am getting a different picture here, as 2007 was a worst year for job creation since 2004. Oh and we have the highest level of uneployment in two years. Oh and most of these new jobs are in the service industry - you know, McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell....

Read the government report here

Continuing with the "hooray for America!" article written by anonymous,
"What about social trends? As economist Irwin Stelzer recently noted, "teenage drug use, pregnancies, smoking and drinking are all on the decline; welfare reform is working, bringing down child poverty, and the divorce rate is falling.""
Hmm divorce rates may be falling because the The number of couples who live together without marrying has increased tenfold since 1960 That could do it perhaps?

The illicit drug usa among students is arrived at the following way: a teacher gives pieces of paper with a [ ] Yes [ ] No on them and a question: "Have you used drugs this year?" I don't know - perhaps those high school kids are smart enough to put [X] No even if they did use illegal drugs, which if you admit to so doing may wind you up in jail.

Just a hunch that those are imperfect methods of arriving at serious scientific conclusions about drug use among adolescents.

Smoking is on the decline as perhaps because it is banned in the USA to a large extent. Illinois has just passed a smoking ban in ALL public places, including bars and night clubs.

I am sure this blanket ban is making Illinois smokers shaking with happiness.

And how is that welfare reform working for yah?: ""Ten years into welfare reform, caseloads may have decreased, but the number of people living in poverty has not," Robert Wharton, the president and chief executive officer of the Community Economic Development Administration, wrote in a recent story in the Chicago Sun-Times."

So the goal of the welfare reform was to decrease the number of people on welfare, regardless if they are living in poverty or not. Success! Be happy!

Back to the article:
"Oh, and we're having more babies than at any time since the 1970s -- not something that a gloomy, depressed society does. Our 2.1 babies per adult woman puts us at the top of the developed world's fertility rankings"
Hooray for babies! We are number one in baby production! We got manufacturing in USA after all! This baby boom has of course nothing to do with Latino, chiefly Mexican, legal and illegal immigrants, who have about a gazillion kids per family?

In fact, Latino population is increasing at seven times the rate of the non Hispanic group, and "has accounted for half of the nation's growth since 2000, the Census Bureau reports." Hooray!

Perhaps you need to reread the previous paragraph to be stunned and to start drooling on your keyboard from the impact. Because the phrase "non Hispanic group" includes whites, blacks, asians, arabs, southeast asians (hindu, pakistani, etc) and every other goddamn racial group that is not Latino.

Stunned yet?

Half the nation growth.

Hooray for babies! Take that Europe and Asia!

The article, indeed, boos and hisses "Europe, by comparison, has a population-shrinking 1.5 rate". Boo hiss indeed! They don't have Latinos in Europe - hence the suffering in the baby manufacturing sector.

Finally, the article brings in the big guns - religion:
"Then there's religion. A 2006 Harris Poll found on average that 43% of those in Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and France believed in a Supreme Being. In the U.S., it's 73%. That suggests a link, in developed nations anyway, between religiosity and happiness."

So, since many more Americans, percentage wise, believe in goofy fairy tales than those eeky Europeans, that makes us, Americans, that much more happy. Hooray for god!

I suggest to make Americans even more happy with religion, and visit the Hare Krishna Chant and be Happy webpage.

You can even "Click on Bhakta Oswald to learn how to play the Mrdanga!"
Whoa! Happiness, dude! Bang that drum your divine grace!

To make your children happy, perhaps you should visit the Creationism Museum!

And don't forget to give your money to your favorite religious nut, whether "reverend" dobson (listen to him here), Benny Hinn or Creflo Dollar. With a name of Dollar, you know this guy is all about $$$$ errrr... religion. He is preaching the humble word of gawd from his brand new Rolls Royce.

It is curious to me that these "ministries" take in millions of dollars annually, with the "pastors" having private jets, and as an example Mr. Hinn is raking in $1.3 million per year.

And its not a business! And since religious institutions in the Yoo Ess Ey do not pay taxes... you DO the math... but I digress...

Finally (oooof!) the big finish from the article:
"Face it, Americans are an unusually happy, optimistic people. In a way, it defines us. A big reason is our economy -- huge, innovative, low-tax and less regulated than others."

You see, the reason why we Americans are so sickeningly happy is because of our superb economy (no doubt helped by our $200 million a DAY cost of war in Iraq), helped by the low-tax we have here in the USA (of course we do not count the medical insurance we have to pay here in USA and which is included in every other country's taxes, which makes USA taxes+medical insurance expense = (about) European taxes).

So be happy!

Unless you recall what I wrote about the housing bubble being the only thing that makes this economy good, which according to the anonymous dickwad makes us Americans happy, because now the bubble has burst, and that means that the economy will be (under a Democratic president, of course) BAD, which means that we Americans will not be... happy anymore.

Then again, we might have a preventable death - unless we quickly move to France...so we don't die in this paradise

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