Where Do the Children Play?

“I know we’ve come along way.

We’re changing day to day.

But tell me, where do the children play?”

(Where do the children play?  –  Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam  –  1970)

Much has been made this election cycle about the future of our children and grandchildren, mostly by the newly fiscally responsible Republicans that are suddenly and inexplicably against debt and deficits. Great! It is certainly encouraging that the Party of “Deficits Don’t Matter!” has finally seen the light.

Just don’t ask them why they didn’t do something about deficits and debt when they held power. That is “looking at the past and besides, the Democrats made us do it.”

In 1980, I briefly considered a vote for Ronald Reagan for President because he promised (!) to balance the Federal budget. I blame it on an LSD flashback from the Sixties. Of course, Reagan never came close to balancing the budget and, in fact, tripled the National Debt. The truth is, a Republican president has never even proposed a balanced Federal budget since Ike. Let me think, that is, let’s see, um, ………………………. a long damned time.

Debt and deficits have been hashed and rehashed ad nauseam, so we’ll not do it again here. When the “other side” rails against the “highest deficits and debt in history” feel free to remind them that while the deficit is approaching 10% of the GDP in 2010, it reached 30% during World War II. The debt shortly after the War was at 130% of GDP, far above the current level of less than 90%.

It is completely reasonable to remind people of those facts, given that the country is in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression – an economic collapse that was not ended until the War was well underway. Unemployment reached 25% during the Depression. It topped out around 10% during the Great Recession.

The point is that we are not destroying the future for our children and grandchildren. Without TARP and the Stimulus Bill, the economy would have likely slid into another depression, and that would have left a horrible disaster for our heirs.

So, where do the children play? Well, if we want to truly focus on an answer to that question, we would do well to consider the state of our schools, environment and our place in the world. Bumper stickers slogans are handy for those in the bumper sticker industry, but they do little to address the problems of the nation. We need to take faux emotion out of the equation and use real-world facts and figures.



William Stephenson Clark


(Thread photo is the author’s grandson, Eli.)


Filed under Economics

39 responses to “Where Do the Children Play?

  1. tosmarttobegop

    Something my father-in-law told me long before I married his daughter:

    In life you may not have much of anything if you do not go into debt.

    Being in debt is not the worst thing, the worst thing is not being able to pay your debts.

  2. tosmarttobegop

    It can go without saying, the issue of unemployment was a touchy subject to me at the time.
    When the Republicans were using that me-me about not wanting to make the future children and grandchildren suffer as the excuse for not extending the unemployment benefits.

    It was the same as saying: Why wait to make children and grandchildren to suffer when we can do it today.
    When the subject is providing for children there is nothing out of question if need be.

    Certainly these same Moral Conservatives would have railed about someone that is not willing to do what every they need to for feeding and clothing their children.

    Even if that meant going into debt in order to get by long enough to finally be able to get a job.

    Only if they think that the country would never make a come back would the issue of going into debt matter.

    • Freebird1971

      Something that I will always remember is at my Dad’s service my brother stated that “We may not have had everything we wanted,but we always had what we needed.

      I think the children of today have gotten wants and needs confused.

      • wicked

        I fear it’s the parents of the children of the day who are confused. And maybe even the grandparents.

        My parents lived through the Great Depression. They gave me more than they had when they were kids. I, in turn, gave my kids more than I was given, they are repeating the cycle with their kids. We’ve talked about it and agree that we’re all at fault. How to stop it? Another Great Depression? I hope to hell not.

  3. wicked

    Do children get to really play much anymore?

    I see so many parents getting their kids involved in activities. Dance, sports, scouts, or even just sitting in front of their PSP and gaming. How many get a chance to play like we did, without direction except our own, games where we–not the parents or coaches–made up the rules, activities that didn’t required a boatload of equipment, just whatever we had available.

    While I think it’s important that children learn to work together as a team, I also believe it’s vastly important that they learn to create their own worlds to play in and use their imagination, not someone else’s idea of other worlds.

    Call me old fashioned, but I love to see a child who can imagine and create. In that child, I see promise of a real future, not one of nothing but working for the man all day and going home to veg out in front of the boob tube.

    (Cute pic, Will!)

  4. paulasayles

    My apologies to all, but I did cast a vote for Ronald Reagan once. I was young and ignorant, but that is no excuse. After that I started paying attention to what was going on in the world and I have never cast a vote for a single Republican since. I won’t say that I believe that the Democratic Party is less corrupt or more capable of governance; but I will say that the Republican Party is completely bankrupt of integrity, morals and ideas for how to fix the messes that their failed policies have created. Furthermore, they continue to be unwilling to admit that it was their policies that caused the problems. I feel as though this country is like a giant dysfunctional family.

    The Republican Party is like a raging alcholic that keeps blaming his problems on different family members;
    the Democratic Party is like the child who keeps trying to smooth things over but continues to defer to the alcoholic out of some misguided sense of respect and/or duty;
    a third of the citizenry is in complete denial about the fact that the Republicans have a problem;
    a third of the country is just trying to ignore the fact that there is a problem; and
    the rest of the country keeps pointing at the elephant in the room, but keeps getting told to sit down and shut up.

    • Shoot, paula, I voted for Richard M. Nixon once, and Ronald Reagan once. There’s nothing for which you need to apologize.

      There is something inherently wrong with how political parties have evolved in the U.S. I do not foresee any real change or any realistic challenge to the power of two dominant parties over the next decade or so. Part of it seems to me to be due to the insane amounts of money that campaigns now cost; the days of sitting on the front porch while running for President (Calvin Coolidge, as I recall being the last one) are long over. Television time has been the most important in recent times; now, internet ads join the fray.

      While I don’t equate money with speech, it seems settled that in order to gain access to a forum so (political) speech may be heard, a generous supply of money is necessary. Thus, all parties (to a degree) must compromise ideals to be able to be heard. Without being heard, the speech goes for naught.

      I’ve no master plan to resolve this. If I did, it would be for sale to the highest bidder. In saying this, I acknowledge the fact that I appear to be a whore. At least I’m honest about it.

    • wicked

      Aw, Paula, I, too, cast a vote for Reagan. Can I get a do-over on that?

      (6176, at least I didn’t vote for Nixon. Are you kidding????) 😉

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        Not kidding at all. 1972; it was obvious that Nixon was a crook, but accomplished at foreign policy (which, being draft-eligible seemed extremely important at the time), but Sen. McGovern, a good man, etc., etc., seemed to me to be totally incompetent at anything.

        I looked for reasons to vote for the senator from South Dakota, for I disliked the thought of another four years of RMN, but none were found by me. Seeing as how that was my first chance to vote in a Presidential election, I was going to vote, and Crafty Richard received my vote, more in default than for any particular reason.

      • wicked

        You know, I’m not sure I didn’t vote for Nixon, although I can’t remember that I did. I’m fairly certain I didn’t vote for McGovern. Not knowing anything about politics, I used the GWB method back then: Gut feeling. McGovern didn’t strike me as a strong man, but more like a wimp. (Sorry, George.) 1972 would’ve been the first year I voted. I was 21 and complaining that 18-year-olds could vote, when I’d had to wait! I can’t believe I didn’t cast a vote for President, so… But I didn’t like Nixon because of the war and the draft and all things dark and awful.

        See, fnord? Memories just don’t always stick.

    • That vote for Nixon must have been difficult. But then, there was the fact that Goldwater was trounced four years previous, and there was Johnson as a result, and there was Humphrey. Just goes to prove we’ve seen many elections when we’ve been forced to vote for the lesser of no one we really want to vote for.

  5. I have the most disgusting admission — I voted for Ross Perot in 1992 and have ever since wondered if that means I helped elect bush the better. 😦

    • Did Bush I holding the office of president help make his son a viable candidate? You see, actions have consequences down the line like the domino effect…

      I know that bush the lesser wasn’t actually elected to his first term, and of course wouldn’t have been ‘reelected’ without having served the first term, but I still wonder about all of us Perot voters and that cause and effect.

    • paulasayles

      I don’t think you can be blamed for that vote, fnord. There wasn’t much of a choice that year. I didn’t really like Dukakis at all. Perot certainly said some interesting things. I don’t tend to buy into the media picture of candidates, so I didn’t view him as a clown (as the media constantly painted him). Of course they painted Dukakis similarly, but at that point in my life, I was completely outraged that Reagan/Bush got away with Iran-Contra, so I was vehemently Democratic Party.

      The majority of this nation’s citizens continue to disappoint me to this day with their total apathy toward justice for all.

      • wicked

        Back up a tad. Didn’t Dukakis run in ’88? Perot ran against Bush(R) and Clinton(D) in ’92, didn’t he? The only reason I’m going with that is because I told my now-ex-husband that I voted for Perot, because I knew he’d throw a hissy fit if he knew I’d voted for Clinton. I married into a solid-as-concrete Republican family, and he seemed to think I was supposed to vote for the same people he voted for. Uh, wrong. Again. One more reason why he is an ex. 😉

      • paulasayles

        Oh yeah. That’s right. Perot DID run against Clinton and Bush.

      • wicked

        Well, I do think we’ve all had more important things to remember in our lives besides who we voted for when.

        I admit that I have to look this stuff up. Thank goodness for the internet. It may make it appear that I actually have a memory.

        I didn’t remember that Perot ran twice against Clinton, the second time when Dole also ran. Amazing that a Kansan could forget that. I’m betting that’s when I lied about voting for Perot. I was never a fan of Dole’s. He ticked me off once when I wrote him about some concerns. That ended any chance he might have ever had to get a vote from me. Doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad man. I leave that to Tiahrt. 😉

    • Freebird1971

      I voted for Perot as well. My though was that politicians have gotten this country screwed up let’s see if a business man can get things back on track.

  6. Wait a minute. I’m confusing my candidates and my years. I have to regroup.

    OK, so 1992 the candidates were Bush I (the incumbent), Clinton and Perot. So now I’m wondering if that was the year I voted for Perot?

  7. I don’t know. I can’t remember. I only know once I voted for Perot and I don’t know when it was.

    They say memory loss is the first sign… of something… I can’t remember what.

    • wicked

      I think there’s just been way too many years and way too many times we voted, that’s what I think. Are we expected to remember every frigging detail?

      See, I didn’t really know the difference between Rs and Ds until about 20 years ago. I didn’t even know my parents were Ds! They never mentioned politics, except I remember my mother cussing Reagan once. I did start to pay a little more attention after that.

      fnord, if it helps, I live in the state of Confusion. It’s nice to have you as a fellow Confused. 😉

  8. I like the company too!

    Lots of years. Many, many votes. I have a time or three actually cast a vote FOR vs against — 2008 was one of those times, I did vote FOR President Obama, and I will vote FOR President Obama again (barring some kind of untold something I can’t predict).

  9. Humbert Humphrey got my first presidential vote, in the year I turned 21. I didn’t want to vote for him, I wanted to vote for Robert Kennedy.

    I remember going to the courthouse to register to vote. Isn’t it strange how some memories are so vivid and others totally gone?

  10. tosmarttobegop

    I have no doubts that Republicans will turn out, much like during the Clinton administration the emotions that cause many to stockpile ammo and buy large capacity rifles to be ready for the armed insurrection against the United States Government.

    The same emotions exist today, the feeling of the need to defend Democracy and liberty against the threat as delusional as it is to see an exaggerate threat again much like during Clinton.

    Unlike during the Clinton years I am not once again going to blindly accept the outlandish perhaps this time around I am paying attention rather then just accepting any unfounded claims.

    As time passed, there was no bases for any claim against Clinton other then for Lewinsky.

    Nor are any of the exaggerate claims about Obama true or factual.

    But they do play into the mindset that takes over the Right every time a Democrat is in the oval office.

    I do disagree with many of the courses that Obama has taken, either for there intelligence lack of foresight or because of the ole Democratic mindset of the problem is that just not enough money is being thrown at the problem.

    None the less, the Republicans will turn out in numbers not because the Republicans have the answers or the ideas to correctly save this country from destruction.

    Simply because they see the enemy under their beds and jump at every noise in the night when ever a Democrat is President.

    I figure God is going to call me on my thought and actions during Clinton.

    “Boy I gave you common sense and reason, what the heck happened during Clinton?”

  11. wicked

    “…the emotions that cause many to stockpile ammo and buy large capacity rifles to be ready for the armed insurrection against the United States Government.”

    You know, this is getting to be a very, very bad habit. One of these days it’s going to lose its power and nobody will care. Or they’ll all shoot themselves. Either is fine with me.

  12. wicked

    Fear is really all they have, tstb. If people would stop buying into the crap, the Repubs would have to come up with real, viable and intelligent candidates. Hard to do when they don’t have them anymore.

  13. tosmarttobegop

    Wicked that really is what is mystifying to me, how easy it is for the Right to accept as reality the most unfounded and delusional things? There really is no difference between accepting that Obama is foreign born or he is a secret Moslem then it would be to believe a claim he is a space alien!

    The way that David Brock explained what they did with Clinton was look for anything that let an opening.
    The cattle deal, White water and then Vic Foster was such things.

    Then all it took was to put out a possible closing that could be reached without any evidence.
    Just the hint of it and people ran with it as if they had stood there and actually witnessed it.
    It is a mindset, the willingness to accept the worst about the president over the need to have proof of it.

    If you already do not like a person all it takes for you to believe the worst is the hint of them doing something wrong.

    • wicked

      I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes or denigrate anyone’s beliefs, but isn’t the fear created from religion much the same?

      I mean, come on, the devil? Satan? Some guy that lives deep within the earth– or doesn’t, since I’ve never been able to get the exact location of either Heaven or Hell from anyone–and will possess your very soul, filling you with evil, etc., etc., etc., and where you’ll spend eternity surrounded by fire and screaming, moaning souls, just like your own. Those souls are depicted in art to look very, very human, I’ve noticed.

      It’s all the same, isn’t it? A form (although mild) of brainwashing. They’ve mastered it! Which may be exactly why the Religious Right was courted by the Republicans. Once you turn enough people and have them believing you and your dogma, it’s only a matter of time to hustle even more.

      Funny, but I hadn’t looked at it that way until I read your comment. Thank you for the insight! 😉

      • paulasayles

        I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about fear lately. I see it everywhere and I see that FEAR is the root of most of the evil, pettiness, hatred, greed, heck almost any bad thing you think of, fear is at the heart of it. I was saying the other day that, though I realize that some amount of fear is healthy, if someone could come up with a way for man to control his fears, the race just might be saved from itself.

        I think that if people would just start to examine their motives for their actions, beliefs and feelings and agree to cut out anything that is fear-based, it would be the first step toward a much better world. If we could all start recognizing fear in our lives and our motivations, we would also be more aware of those who try to use fear to manipulate us. And we could agree not to follow anyone who does that and that would be a huge step toward making the world a better place.

        (I know, I know, “You may say I’m a dreamer…)

        I just want to say that not all religious belief is fear-based. I reject the philosophy of a “fear of God,” and I reject all that Satan stuff too. That isn’t even Christian, you know. It came from a Greek religion that was popular around the time of the growth of the Christian religion.

      • The cure for fear is knowledge.

      • wicked

        Depends on where the knowledge is from. If it comes from a religious book or leader that teaches fear, that knowledge is not only useless but dangerous. And that’s what we have today.

        We were watching a show on the History channel last weekend about Jim Jones. It was fear that led all those people–good people, by the way–to willingly commit suicide. Jones had the majority of them convinced that because a few men had killed the newsmen and congressman at the plane as they started to return home, word would spread and they would be blamed and their children taken away from them. It worked very well.

      • I see what you’re saying, but I don’t consider brainwashing or intimidation knowledge. But, of course you’re correct that some people are easily led and their trust is their downfall.

      • wicked

        Mild form of brainwashing, fnord, and spread out over many years. Nothing like the military. 😉

        Anyway, here’s just one more example of people believing something utterly ridiculous and untrue because someone ‘who is supposed to know and a leader’ said so.


      • She is a piece of work! I don’t want Reid to win reelection, don’t think he deserves it, but Americans don’t deserve her as a Senator — not even the ones who would vote for her.

      • tosmarttobegop

        What is scary to me, it is not monsters it is that movies like Halloween and Texas chain saw massacre is based on actually true events. mostly on something that happened in Wisconsin, the story of what happened rivals any horror movie. The Nazis and the Holocaust, that such is possible of the human mind is more frightening then any concept of the Devil or Hell.

        Fear is overcame by reason and logic, but then it is hard to reason or have logic when you are in fear.

  14. wicked

    You know, this thing with the Muslim community center in NYC is completely out of hand. One more example of people believing the most outrageous things. Why? Maybe they want to. They enjoy the feeling of fear and hate.

    I’ve been to Ground Zero and have a pretty good idea where this place would be located. There’s a huge post office building to the north of GZ that takes up most of the north/south part of the block. The building itself was not open in 2003, but the PO was still doing business out of trucks and the like along the street outside. The location of the community center is north and, I think, west of there a few blocks. It is NOT at GZ, not really even close. Lots of businesses and buildings between the two and couldn’t even be seen if you’re standing on the street looking in that direction.

    As I said, totally ridiculous, this pounding of the drums of fear and hate. America should be ashamed.

  15. Will, first thing this morning I admired that happy boy — before I read that he is your grandson, and then all day long I meant to tell you what a wonderful picture that is. I think it might have been difficult to get a bad picture of that subject so this time I’m NOT giving all the credit to the photographer.

  16. tosmarttobegop

    It is as much about how we see things and how much we want to believe when something happens that shocks the senses.

    That is why so many find it easier to believe that President Kennedy was killed by a large and powerful conspiracy then by a lone crazy with a cheap mail-order rifle.

    Likewise with 9-11, the thought that it was 19 ordinary people with common box cutters that brought about the destruction of the Twin towers and kill over three thousand people. Is unthinkable, that would mean it would be almost impossible to stop it again.

    So it has to be something big and powerful in order to justify the concern and threat.

    The size justifies the level of fear, the entire Moslem faith is an enemy big enough to fight and use our large and powerful force against. A small and otherwise weak group is not enough of a threat to be worth the fear of the unknown.