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Opinion Florida bill ‘dwarfed’ by economic woes

For those who think there aren’t solutions to our economic problems, one can ponder the new proposal in Florida to reverse a 1989 ban on “dwarf tossing.” The bill was introduced by Republican state Representative Ritch Workman. His name alone should be considered a good omen. The bill would allow bars and taverns to resume the practice of sending dwarfs airborne (with ample padding) for the amusement of patrons. Workman stated, “In this economy, or any economy, why would we want to prevent people from getting gainful employment?” I imagine, along with dwarfs, people in the medical, insurance and legal fields would be able to pick up extra work as well.

Using people as projectiles can be viewed as demeaning. It can be more demeaning to ban a group from an activity in order to “protect” sensitivities. In Florida, mechanical bull riding is legal and people of all sizes have the right to be be mangled and humiliated. I find Workman’s bill amusing not because of its content, but in the context of being dwarfed by much larger economic challenges and forcing writers to use awful puns.

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York and other cities continue in earnest with the hope of highlighting the issue of “greed and corruption,” which is viewed by many as the root cause of our economic woes. While I’m not a big fan of greed and corruption, it unfortunately has an inevitable ring to it like “death and taxes.” I’d love to protest Wall Street as well if I could only decipher the intricate banking and investment mechanisms. Terms like credit default swaps, fractional reserve banking and quantitative easing are all Greek to me.

And, it’s the Greeks who are considered by many experts to be the teetering domino to keep an economic eye on. Greece with an area and population roughly the same as North Carolina is on the verge of bankruptcy. Since the Euro is its currency, a default on its loans could trigger an economic crisis throughout Europe and the rest of the world. News stories on Greece’s solvency/insolvency spin like a gyro rotisserie. Hopefully, this week, the bankers have the situation under control.

There’s nothing new about gloom and doom economic predictions. All my life, there have been warnings of dire consequences if government continues to spend more than it takes in. There is a constant stream of new regulations that are championed to finally fix financial fraud and mismanagement. The cliché, “kicking the can down the road” aptly describes current affairs. The question is: Does the road dead end?

Perhaps there aren’t solutions – only precautions. Becoming more self-reliant is a good thing. Grow some of your own food, make more of your own repairs, utilize bartering, and save money (applies only to those that have income). If the economy does crash, there will be no soft landing. Like the tossing dwarfs, we will need all the padding we can get.

George Hasara is a regular columnist for the Macon County News, as well as the owner and proprietor of the Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub, located at 58 Stewart Street in Franklin.


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