Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving when millions of Americans line up before the crack of dawn at retail stores across the nation hoping to find great deals on cheap plastic stuff made outside the United States. The Friday after Thanksgiving has become an "unofficial holiday" in recent years, and in fact in many ways it is starting to become as big as Thanksgiving itself.
A recent search on Google News found over 31,000 stories about "Thanksgiving" and over 24,000 stories about "Black Friday". Almost every major news organization has been running stories about Black Friday for weeks now. Some of the biggest retailers, including Wal-Mart, Sears, Old Navy and Toys R Us, have had such success with Black Friday sales that they have decided to stay open for Thanksgiving now.
You would think that we could all have one day off to spend with family and friends to give thanks for all that we have been blessed with, but apparently that is not going to be possible. Just like so many of our other holidays, the true purpose behind having a holiday called "Thanksgiving" is being totally obliterated by a tsunami of greed. Meanwhile, more Americans than ever are living in poverty this year and very few people even seem to notice.
Not that there is anything wrong with enjoying all the things you and your family have been blessed with. However, perhaps we should all take time this week to remember the tens of millions of Americans that are going to be deeply suffering this winter. They keep telling us that "the recession is over" and yet poverty continues to spread like an out of control plague. But for most Americans life is still relatively "normal", and so the horrible suffering going on out there doesn't really affect them.
The truth is that the U.S. economy is dying. Americans have been living beyond their means for decades, and now we are starting to pay the price for the gigantic mountains of debt that we have accumulated. But instead of preparing for harder times and looking for ways to help those who are hurting, most Americans are preparing for another orgy of shopping this holiday season....
*The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday retail sales will hit $447.1 billion for 2010.
Meanwhile, more Americans are on food stamps than ever before. Today, more than 43 million Americans are enrolled in the food stamp program. The number of Americans on food stamps has increased almost 60 percent since 2007. If our economy is getting better, then why is hunger spreading like an out of control virus?....
*Millions of American families will be streaming into Wal-Mart and Target to buy foreign-made electronic gadgets this upcoming Friday.
Meanwhile, millions of other American families would gladly give up their Thanksgiving meals in exchange for a decent job for a family member. According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one person that is looking for a full-time job. Unfortunately, there are not even close to enough jobs to go around in post-industrial America.
*Consumer Reports has posted a Black Friday shopping guide that encourages people to be prepared to wait in line out in the cold for several hours if they want to get the "best deals"....
It's not always worth breaking down the 'door.' ... But consumers shouldn't bother to show up unless they are willing to wait in line, sometimes for hours before the store opens, and should be prepared for possible disappointment. There are no guarantees.
Meanwhile, there are millions of American children that barely have enough to eat. According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.
The age of consumerism is coming to a close so enjoy it while it lasts.
Sadly, many proponents of "free trade" (which is actually not "free" or "fair" at all) point to the "great deals" available on Black Friday as evidence that globalism works.
Yes, you might get 20 extra bucks off on that 32-inch television, but in the end American workers are going to be supported somehow.
Either we provide jobs for American workers that enable them to feed their families or we provide for them by giving them food stamps and unemployment checks.
The United States has lost over 42,000 factories since 2001. Are you willing to have your taxes raised to provide food and shelter for all of those displaced workers?
The following is how Wikipedia defines deindustrialization....
Deindustrialization (also spelled deindustrialisation) is a process of social and economic change caused by the removal or reduction of industrial capacity or activity in a country or region, especially heavy industry or manufacturing industry. It is an opposite of industrialization.
In case you haven't noticed, that is what is happening to America.
As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.
Not that all trade is a bad thing. Trading with other nations such as Canada and Germany that have similar standards of living and that pay their workers similar wages could potentially be beneficial to both sides.
However, merging our economy with nations such as communist China was a colossal mistake. In China, most workers earn less than a tenth of what most American workers make. Today, our factories, our jobs and our wealth are being transferred to China at a pace that is almost unbelievable.
In case you are wondering, that is not a good trend.
Every single month, tens of billions of dollars more goes out of the United States than comes into it.
In other words, we are being drained.
But that isn't going to stop tens of millions of Americans from running out on Black Friday and buying huge piles of stuff that nobody really needs with money that they can't really afford to spend.
America is in the midst of a long-term economic decline, but nearly everyone in the media keeps expecting the economy to "snap out of it" and for the good times to start rolling once again.
Unfortunately, things aren't going to get better. This is about as good as things are going to get.
The federal government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world. Our state and local governments are drowning in a sea of red ink. Average Americans are seeing their incomes decline and their standards of living go down. The greatest economic machine in world history is being dismantled and most Americans have become so dumbed-down that they don't even understand what is going on.
But as they say, ignorance is bliss.
So enjoy this "Black Friday" while you still can. Perhaps the memories of these good times will keep us warm during the truly dark days that are ahead.
HIGH TIMES – The Gold Belt Theatre was part of the “small empire” of vice developed by the brothers Vanoli in late Victorian Ouray. The Ouray County Historical Society Evenings of History presentation next Tuesday (June 18) will look at artifacts from the Vanoli Block, and what it all means. (Courtesy photo)