Six Days On the Road

January 28th, 2014
Nebraska black and white

Day one…Nebraska…all pictures will be in black and white in tribute to Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska”

By Eric Blumberg

With a nod to Earl Green and Carl Montgomery

A 2,000-mile road trip from Iowa to Utah and back, during the middle of January, can be a journey fraught with many problems.  Snow with blizzard conditions, slick roads and high winds are just some of the travel headaches one is certain to encounter driving back and forth across Nebraska and Wyoming.  Ah yes, it can also be bone-chilling cold, but fortunately not as bone-chilling as my hometown which currently has no degrees to speak of in Fahrenheit.

The sheer boredom of the trek can also wear on a person’s psyche as mile after mile of winterized cornfields surround you from early in the morning until dusk begins to silently creep upon the Interstate 80 asphalt.

One certain in all this, besides the boring landscape, is the prospect of a detour to one of the thousands of potential oases where a spaced-out traveler can refuel with some hi-test caffeine.But oh, what a mirage it is.  The best that can be done is some swill which is so weak you can actually see the bottom of its Styrofoam container.

wyoming black and white

Day two…Southern Wyoming

Why is it in a country that values the strong and bold over the weak and timid, I can’t find a decent cup of coffee?  I can get one at home any time of the day or night.  I have this simple trick.  I forego any previous conceptions about how to make a good cup of coffee by just adding more.  The result is a brave brew which, if taken in the proper dosage, will get you where you want to go regardless of the weather or boring terrain.

utah and wyoming border black and white

Day 3 Wyoming into Utah…

So, why can you get a good cup of coffee on the road?  It’s simple.  The men and women who fund our system of commerce have become such greedy misers they can’t go the extra mile and put some extra coffee in the country’s filters.

A recent Forbes article has the sorry truth about why the country’s unemployment rate can drop while the labor market only let 74,000 fortunate souls in through its doors.  The article, Corporate Profits Are At An All-Time Record Peak And Expected To Grow In 2014, clearly states the paradox, which now has politicos all across our Purple Mountain’s Majesty fighting to raise minimum wages so that our poorer relations can be kept alive without having to supplement their lives with food stamps: “The nation’s money supply is up 30%, but the money is sitting on bank balance sheets and not being put to work creating profits as the near record low velocity of money shows”.

There’s this old saying in the business world – You’ve got to spend money to make money.  It makes sense since the only way to grow is to be constantly nourished.  It works for teenagers, and it works for a country such as ours.

Unfortunately, this country’s corporations are happy to take our money or give us credit so we can have everything an American needs to be happy.  Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Why can’t these companies with all these trillions of dollars on hand reinvest it with those who gave it to them in the first place? Can you imagine how many new, significant jobs could be created if these companies would take some of their record-high profits and return them so the current economic stagnation could be blown away with a mighty gust.  Why have so many corporations lost faith in this country and have re-established it workforces across the globe?  Why is it a forgone collusion that the American Worker is not to be trusted?  Why can’t this country manufacture televisions at a reasonable cost?  Why couldn’t I get a good cup of coffee motoring across the Midwest?  Because no one wants to put a little extra coffee in the country’s filter.

What are you so scared about?  That your money spent to the cause of a re-energized economy will be spent with no positive benefits to you.  If the presidents and chairpersons believe corporate investment is a fool’s errand, and spending some of its gains to reconstruct will only lead to ruin, we will have no choice but to look forward to see-through coffee and barren vistas.

 

4 Comments on “Six Days On the Road”

  1. Robert Blumberg said at 4:15 am on January 28th, 2014:

    This is a remarkably insightful and cogent analysis of our current economic situation. Excellent job!

  2. Holly Feiges Hanselman said at 4:56 am on January 28th, 2014:

    Nicely written. Having driven over 20k miles hitting 22 states in 2013 I can attest to bleak points and the need for a bit extra coffee in the filters. I don’t think many people understand that either you hire and pay living wages or we are all going to pay to support these people with some sort of assistance. We all need to go the extra mile, some of us a few extra miles. For if we do, the beauty of the USA is extraordinary.

  3. Kimberly said at 7:14 am on January 28th, 2014:

    So does this mean you will fly next time? I loved your article!

  4. kit gruelle said at 10:30 am on January 28th, 2014:

    Well done, Eric! Great (but sad) observations. What will it take to turn the sinking ship around?

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