Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, it’s difficult to get much accomplished, especially if one’s blessed with good rains, when it’s too wet for agriculturists to get off the asphalt. The same is the case, it seems, among professionals, the doctors, lawyers and accountants in town, in County offices, all prolonging their Christmas holidays as long as possible, but most apparent in Washington where Congress and the President are playing chicken with all the rest of us on board, on the edge of a ‘fiscal cliff’.
Fat, dumb and happy to be taken for a ride, we really don’t know how bad the wreck is going to be. But how much influence does the government really have over our lives, one wonders, especially when having to resort to fear and terror for the past few years to regain control of the herd. Have they cried ‘wolf’ one too many times? Or is this our due reward, as a nation, for charging almost everything we consume to the future.
Hard times are apparent all over the world in the media, nations afflicted with the same financial maladies, individual vignettes of unemployment and despair in the U.S., yet here on the ranch it’s business as usual. Most mom and pop cattle operations are fairly self-sufficient, trying get the work done and pay the bills, deal with emergencies and changes in the weather. We don’t see much of the unemployed, no one knocks on the door looking for work anymore, and nowadays, with all the bookkeeping and costs of a payroll required for hiring someone, plus the potential liability, we are much too small to afford employees.
Apart from the media trying to sell ads, Wall Street seems the most attentive to budget negotiations in Washington—the same outfit, I’m sorry to say, that brought us the housing bubble and bank collapses that have resulted in our latest recession. Wall Street is generally the harbinger for the economy, where the so-called astute bet which way it’s headed. But most of the rest of us are so tired of the hype, so disgusted with our political representatives, so helpless in this postured spin of blame and misinformation, we have no other choice but to wait and see.
My wish for the New Year is that we make our representatives accountable, expose their benefits and pensions, and require by vote that they abide by the same rules and regulations as the rest of us—get lean. It’s been a back-slapping shindig for far too long in Washington, sponsored and paid for by taxpayers and lobbyists. For so long, I fear, that they may have forgotten how to get their work done.