2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wal-Mart Death Prompts an Amateur's Recommendation for Solving the Financial Crisis


Family members and I were grateful this Thanksgiving for the good food produced by a seamless team effort and the opportunity to spend a pleasant relaxing day together.

Today on Black Friday we’ve got sunshine and cloudless blue skies in the Twin Cities with an expected high of 40. Nevertheless, I’ve had no inclination to join the throngs at the nearby Mall of America or step out at the local Wal-Mart where I run the risk of being trampled to death by frenzied shoppers.

The NY Times reports:

“A Wal-Mart employee in suburban New York died after being trampled by a crush of shoppers who tore down the front doors and thronged into the store early Friday morning, turning the annual rite of post-Thanksgiving bargain hunting into a frenzy.”

It’s come to this: on Thanksgiving Day we Americans give thanks for our many blessings and early the next morning we go on a rampage for more material goods. God help anyone who stands in our way.

Amidst the continuous societal upheaval caused by the global financial crisis, I’ve thought more than once that an economic system driven primarily by consumer spending is insane to begin with. And surely I’m not the only one who shudders while listening to national leaders present remedies for our ailing economy meant to encourage consumers to buy more stuff whether we need it or not and in many cases, to resume living way beyond our means.

Don’t get me wrong. Like most Americans, my family members and I are feeling the effects of a worsening recession - as are many of our friends; we’re all hurting this time around. I’ve personally revamped my own budget, and there aren’t many more places where I can cut expenses.

Still, I’m hoping that as we work through this global crisis, we’ll somehow restructure the economy in a way that preserves safety nets for the have nots, promotes charitable giving by the haves, and encourages for the common good the radical notion of frugality over spending by all parties.
In the process we’ll hopefully remember that time spent with loved ones during the holiday season is a far greater gift than anything we can purchase at mega stores like Wal-Mart. And we don't have to risk our lives.

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