atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3222: What did she THINK would happen?

Actually, I don't think there was any thought involved. Just a lot of rationalization.

Woman walks out on her husband of 18 years with a guy she'd met twice. When she comes back a week later, she finds that her replacement has already moved in.
And so, at the age of 49 and in a moment of madness, I left my husband - and suddenly felt trapped in a nightmare of my own making.

My partner, friends, huge house and garden were all gone, and in no time at all after I’d left him, my husband was in a relationship with an 18-year-old girl. Meanwhile, I was living in a tiny studio flat in London, impoverished and alone.

It was too surreal to comprehend, yet that wreck of a ruined life really was mine. Worse, it was all of my own creation.

I was still with Malcolm and contemplating the approach of my 50th birthday when I met David, a widower in his 50s, on a train to London in July 2005.

. . .

Soon afterwards, I met David for a coffee in London. He was supportive of my decision to leave my husband, and the truth was that I was emotionally vulnerable at that point.

I can’t say I fell head-over-heels in love, but after being married for two decades I had no experience of dating, and I was bowled over by a man showing an interest in me. Crazy, I know.

. . .

I couldn’t ignore my feelings, and meeting David had made me see that my marriage was dead. I needed to leave, even if it was a mistake.

In September 2005, in a burst of spontaneous stupidity and without consulting any of my friends or family, I left my husband of 18 years for a man I’d met twice.

I made no preparations, and took few belongings. While Malcolm was out one morning, I simply packed a bag, left the house keys with a long letter explaining that I’d left him for another man, travelled to London from Manchester, where I had been living, and moved into David’s flat.

For the first 48 hours I was high on adrenalin. I loved feeling passion for the first time in decades, and was girlishly excited by this new chapter in my life.

But my joy was short-lived. Within days I started wondering whether David and I were right for each other, because we weren’t getting on as well as I’d imagined. I found David bad-tempered, and rather dull.

By the end of the first week, I knew I’d been incredibly stupid to give up everything for a man I barely knew.

. . .

But the ghastly mistake had been made - and it was now irreversible.

. . .

Five days after I walked out on him, Malcolm moved his new girlfriend into our house. He had met an 18-year-old Eastern European girl in an internet cafe a day or two after I left, and she was now his girlfriend.
Okay, let's go from the top.

First, I wonder if he actually met that girl "a day or two" after you left.

Second: ...I don't think I actually need to say any more about this because you can bet it'll be thoroughly fisked here. And with a more acid tongue/pen/keyboard/WTF-ever I could manage.

But I will say that this woman takes a surprising amount of responsibility for her situation: she calls her decision "stupid". "I still beat myself up about what happened with David, and it took me a long time to stop defining myself by the stupid thing I did. But now I can see that desperation drove me to leave my marriage."

She was desperate? Because she was in a comfortable-but-dull marriage? I mean she herself describes it that way, so where the hell is the "desperation"?

This is what "Heartiste" (at the site I just linked to) refers to as the "hamster wheel of rationalization".

This woman got what she deserved out of this. Look: if you're going to walk out on your spouse, be prepared for your spouse to move on without you.

Her story has a happy end--she eventually met a man she liked and married him--but her amazing lack of commitment to her marriage is what landed her in the soup she found herself in.

* * *

Let's go on to the story that Limbaugh headlined with yesterday. You know, the one about the "public school lunch inspectors".

This one took sacrificing a goat to get it to load.

This one loaded faster and more easily.

At the core of this issue is the fact that the girl in question had an "unhealthy" lunch consisting of the following:
turkey and cheese sandwich
potato chips
apple juice
Now the USDA guidelines that caused this food stormtrooper to reject this lunch as "unhealthy" are thus:
one serving of meat
one serving of milk
one serving of grain
two servings of fruit or vegetables
Right, that makes sense. So let's combine the two lists and see what we get:
Turkey: one serving of meat
Cheese: one serving of dairy
Bread: one serving of grain
Banana: one serving of fruit/vegetable
Potato chips: one serving of fruit vegetable
Apple juice: one serving of fruit/vegetable
...where's the problem?

(Yes, potato chips are a vegetable. They're not meat, dairy, or grain, are they? Sure, they're a vegetable that has been deep-fried, but that doesn't turn them into rocks or t-bone steaks! They're still vegetables; just vegetables that have been rendered TASTY.)

But there's no kale juice or broccoli or green beans in the lunch! And there's no milk, so the entire lunch is trash!

The government educational system has gotten far too big for its britches. Time to bring that bitch down. End the Department of Education!

* * *

Lo, you solitary sufferers of VD! (Valentine's Day) You are not alone!

Pic #7 (dog and llamas) is hilarious because--to me--the dog seems to be saying, "Why are you including me in this picture? I'm going to really get razzed by the guys because of this."

Pic #3: if you just glance at that one it looks like only some of the women in that room are artificial.


* * *

Okay, on to the economic stuff!

Karl Denninger on why tax increases aren't the solution to the feds' money woes.
Don't kid yourselves folks -- neither party in Congress and neither major party in this election has any intention or plan to deal with the issue. The only way out of the box is to stop spending more than the government takes in via taxes and accepting the GDP contraction that must come as a consequence. There is no other plan that works, there is no other plan that can work, and there is no intention to take this path or even talk about the issue in an honest fashion with the American people.
Before the big nonsense last autumn about the debt ceiling, I wouldn't have agreed with this; I would have blithely repeated the GOP party line about political possibilities and the need to understand that the budget problems can only be solved incrementally so long as control of the government is split.

But the debt ceiling bullshit popped the scales from my eyes. Seeing the GOP do nothing about restraining spending--and trying to pass it off as if they were--was enough of a hit with the clue-by-four for me to realize that none of those bitches is interested in fiscal responsibility.

The only way to fix our problem is to cut spending, and to cut it drastically, and to gut it up and live with the consequences. Absent that, there is going to be a big f-ing disaster when the mathematics catch up with the Ponzi schemers.

The other Denninger post I'm linking today: Europe is facing a second recession. And if Greece is facing it, guess what?

...actually, I maintain that the recession never ended, and just because I can, I'll again explain why. First, let's gank Denninger's explanation of how GDP is figured:
GDP = C + I + G + (x - i)

That is, Consumption (by consumers) + Investment + Government Spending + Net Exports
Net exports is (exports minus imports), by the way.

Notice that nowhere in the equation does it take into account where government gets its money. That's important, and to explain why I'll have to resort to a fictional example.

This is John Average. He works at Manufacturer, Inc, and he makes $50,000 per year. He has a modest home. He and his wife (who doesn't work) each have cars that are a few years old but paid off and in good repair. John doesn't spend a lot of money on things; he lives comfortably and is making payments on a used powerboat and his home, and is saving for his retirement while also making sure his two kids will have reasonable college funds.

Now meet Joe Stupid. Joe also works at Manufacturer, Inc, and also makes $50,000 per year. Joe spends every single penny he earns. He's got a McMansion, a new SUV (leased), a pair of personal watercraft and a one-year-old Harley Davidson. He's got payments on all of them; and the new entertainment system with the 83" TV has him treading water with his credit card, too.

John is in debt, but only to the tune of his mortgage and the note on his powerboat. In a dire emergency he's got more than enough saved up to pay the mortgage payments for at least a couple of years; and he could easily survive without the powerboat, so he could either sell it or allow it to be repossessed in the absolute worst circumstance.

Joe is past his eyeballs in debt. The entertainment system was an extravagance he really should have avoided, but as long as nothing goes wrong he'll be able to make the minimum payments on everything and he'll be all right. If he can get some overtime he'll be able to pay back the credit card a bit and that'll help a lot, but for the moment he's skipping meals and claiming to be on a "diet" when--in fact--he's teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

The note on John's boat will be paid off in a couple of years, the house in fifteen. Joe's got five years left on the motorcycle, four left on the PWCs, and the mortgage has fifteen years left on it, too, but it's about twice as big as John's is.

Fast-forward 20 years. Both men are now 65 and retire from their jobs at Manufacturer, Inc. There were no disasters, no problems; they lived uneventful lives and retired in good health. John's life doesn't change at all; Joe however has to work at Wal-Mart as a greeter to make ends meet. Why?

Because by taking on those loans, Joe spent all his future productivity; he spent that 20-year period paying off his debts, and had nothing left for retirement.

See: when a government borrows money, it is siphoning off capital which could be used for other things. There is an opportunity cost to be paid; because a dollar borrowed (or taxed) by the government is used up, it's not available for use elsewhere in the economy.

And in fact a loan is borrowing against future productivity: when you take out a loan to buy (say) a car, you are pledging a certain amount of your future productivity in order to get the car now.

The GDP equation doesn't take that into account. The United States has approximately a $12 trillion economy; of that $12 trillion, some $4 trillion is consumed by the federal government. (It might be a $15 trillion economy by now.)

But of that $4,000 billion, $1,300 billion of it is borrowed money. Only $2,700 billion are taken in as various taxes. The rest is borrowed, and loans are always made against future productivity.

So when you see that equation, bear in mind that the government is borrowing $1,300 billion of the country's future productivity--and that future productivity is being counted this year as "economic growth".

This works fine as long as you can stay ahead of the payments.

So that's what's happening now: the government is borrowing--and spending--future productivity, and the way they figure GDP it makes it look as if the economy is in better shape than it is. The loans don't show up anywhere in the figures as liabilities (in the accounting sense) so of course it's pretty easy to make it look as if the economy has expanded, however slightly, since Obama took office.

But it's all smoke and mirrors.

(more in post 2.)

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