The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the talking dog (warning: long post alert).
With me, my hatred of this Bush Administration is very visceral, and goes back to the first Bush Administration, which I have always blamed for destroying my family's business, then located in New York's garment center, which had been around since the 1930's, survived the latter part of the Great Depression, a World War, stagflation, a coupla oil crises-- but COULD NOT survive a President named Bush. It wasn't just the national recession during Bush I: it was HOW it came about, and how devastating it was to New York in particular. At the time of the First Gulf War, there was widespread concern of terrorists hijacking airplanes, and New York tourism (on which the family business was peculiarly dependent) was devastated. For all of its prominence as a financial center, a publishing and media center, a port, and at one time, an industrial center, New York's leading industry happens to be tourism. This was coupled with the s&l debacle (see... NEIL Bush), during which time, the New York real estate market collapsed as banks just refused to make loans... just refused... and... things... sucked.
It didn't help that I ended up losing jobs during the Bush I era, as well as suffering other personal economic devastation (some of this took place during the early part of the Clinton Administration... indeed, within two months of Clinton's inauguration, or just three weeks after the First World Trade Center bombing attack). For a number of years, I worked for myself as a solo legal practitioner, concentrating in (you guessed it!) bankruptcy law!
A few years into the Clinton Administration, I managed to secure regular employment (again) and things seemed copacetic. Indeed, Mrs. TD and I even had the Loquacious Pup during the latter part of the Clinton Administration, and set about nest building accordingly, riding, among other things, the real estate wave.
I needn't tell you how horrified I was back in December 2000, when the Supreme Court ostensibly hijacked the United States Government and took a decision the Constitution gave solely to Congress into its own hands. In fact, I kind of hope the Partisan 5 there rot in hell for that decision that has caused ungodly pain to the American (not to mention Iraqi and Afghani) people; and St. Ralph-- you get to spend eternity with Clarence and Antonin, babe. (I can think of no more fitting punishment for you, Ralphy).
Why do I have such strong feelings? For one thing, the Bush family are thieves of the worst kind: they use the public trust for personal enrichment, as if they were a mafia family (which ostensibly they are, going all the way back to Prescott Bush's cozy dealings with the Third Reich). Hence, the economy is badly managed during their alleged stewardships because it isn't managed at all (other than, of course, for the enrichment of close family and associates).
You see, I knew all this as of December 2000. In short, it wasn't a strong likelihood that bad things would happen: it was, as John McLaughlin is fond of saying, guaranteed to a moral certitude. And we didn't wait long: exactly 263 days into the Bush II "Administration", I looked up from my desk over my left shoulder to see what the fuck the loud banging sound was, to see immense piles of glass and paper falling off of World Trade Center I (around, oh, 100 yards away from where I sat), the rest being history (five days later, my job-- then at 100 Church Street in New York-- also being... history). And those of you who question how President Al Gore would have handled 9-11, you are right to do so. (Of course, in the current manner of the Poor Man there is a rather simple answer: he would have thwarted it. As an attorney, I can assure you that by the President's deliberate stonewalling of the 9-11 Commission, we are allowed-- indeed, we are compelled-- to draw the appropriate negative inference that he must have something to hide.)
I bounced around a bit after 11 September '01, managing to land a job around two weeks later in White Plains, New York, which for geography buffs is 38 miles or so from Casa TD in Brooklyn, which, in the post-9-11 New York where one was arbitrarily prohibited from crossing certain bridges at certain hours, proved a perpetual traffic mess (made worse still when on public transit; I would call it 2001: A Job Chase Odyssey). Although I rather liked the position, the commute was killing, and I gave it up for another job in midtown Manhattan, where I liked the commute, and kind of didn't like the position. Didn't like it much at all, actually. Of course, thus follows a "good news bad news" joke.
The good news being that I needn't worry too much about that job I didn't like much, the bad news being that I needn't worry too much about that job I didn't like much. (Hint, boys and girls: verb tense). I find that I join such other blogging notables as Jim Capozzola and Diana Moon as personally encountering the results of the President with the most feeble and pathetic job creation record since Hoover. (I'm not putting up a paypal button anytime soon; I'm in the fortunate position of having a number of things to do, including even handling some matters for my now former firm, as well as some work for some of my wonderful friends in the law biz.) And even though (as the Unseen Editor reminds me), I'm pretty much a knowledge worker whose job can be outsourced to Bangalore at anytime, I like to think that I'm a brilliant, likeable, eminently valuable guy...
I find that the Bush jobs record has ceased to be a theoretical matter for me, and has now become a very real and very personal matter. Is it Bush's fault? Readers of this column know the answer to that: George W. Bush is responsible for every bad thing that happens in the universe-- from wars, to my own personal inadequacies as a human being, to bad hair days. Is it Bush's fault? In two words, fuck yes. To be fair, I am a "Bush Must Go" voter living in a Blue state. My personal situation may improve dramatically in the very near future-- or it may not-- and either way, my opinions of Bush are pretty much set in stone (and matter little anyway, as New York will unquestionably vote for the Democratic candidate-- unless it happens to be either George McGovern or Walter Mondale, neither of whom, I understand, are running this year).
What matters, of course, is how all this is perceived in the dozen or fifteen states that are not locked up Blue or Red States. There are really two possibilities: the economy is turning the corner, and will be perceived as such, in which case, to be brutally honest again, Bush will win. (People foolishly want to believe in Santa Claus, so, feeling their pocketbooks "safe enough" will vote for more tax cuts, spending increases, and popular wars.)
However, whether the economy is turning the corner or even if it remains in the crapper, if the economy is not perceived as recovering, Bush-Cheney 2004 is probably doomed (I say probably because I am expecting fraud-- from both parties, actually, but mostly from you know who-- in '04 that will make the Florida '00 election look like it was conducted by a combined committee of representatives of the Carter Center, ACLU and Vatican). If the economy is perceived as "recovering" too little too late, than we are looking at "like father/like son"... this Administration is just a clone of Poppy's: a well-timed war against Iraq turned out to have had nasty economic consequences, the recovery from which didn't come fast enough in the minds of the voters.
Personally, that's how I think it will be perceived (though I readily concede that it might be wishful thinking).
All I know is that once again, a President named Bush (and indeed, not for the first time under this President Bush), I find that my family has been put under needless economic pressure again. Assuming this goes on for a while, I will blog more extensively about this, but my anecdotal observation is that the post-9-11 job market (I mean with people still missing at the WTC site and lower Manhattan literally on fire) was a lot better than the current one (again, in my limited review occupationally and geographically). I understand that the unemployment rate among African American males in New York is an unbelievable fifty per cent (there is precedent, of course... when Herbert ... Hoover... was in... the White House).
To sum up, as I see it from my little perch, things is pretty bad out there. But then, things was pretty good when we dumped the horse that got us there. Perhaps the American people have simply adopted masochism as a way of life? Karl Rove may be counting on it.
I'm hoping things get better, all around. Of course, IMHO a necessary prerequisite for that will be a Democrat in the White House. Then again, I have more than theoretical reasons for saying that. I just hope the American people do the right thing in '04 (for a change). God bless us, every one.
Quite honest, blunt, and moving. I think that if indeed voters this time don't think that maybe it is a "compassionate conservative" administration, and if some Democrats who were inclined to go for Nader don't go for Nader, I so think we're going to see some change. Voter fraud would have to be massive if it's not a squeaker election. I think 2000 was a different ballgame because some people genuinely felt there wouldn't be much difference between a Democrat or a Republican OR that it wouldn't really matter if they voted for Nader. So a lot is going to depend on the Democrats getting out THEIR base as Bush will get out his (according to the LA Times one of the biggest get-out-the-vote campaigns ever will be implemented by the GOP). Your history is truly tied up in the Bush administrations, 911's etc. It's really quite a compelling story......
Posted by Joe Gandelman at March 10, 2004 12:39 AM
I'm not up for political prognostication at the moment, so I'll just say hell. That just plain sucks.
Posted by Linkmeister at March 10, 2004 01:27 AM
People lose jobs. Doesn't make you a bad President.
Posted by Herb Hoover at March 10, 2004 11:36 AM
In the great liberal tradition: blame someone else for your problems, because it can't have anything to do with your own failings.
Bush has done many things wrong, but your blatant self-pity, and that of liberals like you, is enough to make me actually consider voting for him.
Posted by Maxine Waters at March 10, 2004 01:23 PM
Maxine, very brave! Insult someone without a forwarding e-mail. In case, you hadn't noticed, TTD is a blogger who who pretty much abstains from personal attacks on his commenters. In fact, civil discourse appears to be the rule here. Your post excepted. So let me respond to you in kind.
Your dismissal of the trials and economic difficulties of someone you do not know (and who probably isn't even in the same city, state, or profession as you) shows you to either be an extremely limited or remarkably stupid person. Or both. Probably both. Feel free to judge those you don't truly know or begin to understand. Also please feel free to vote for Bush. Many other insensitive, thoughtless morons will be doing so with you.
Posted by charisse at March 10, 2004 02:56 PM
I didn't realize that stating my belief that liberals tend to want to blame others for their problems was an "insult" to TTD. It seemed more like just an observation that a lawyer blaming his job losses on the President seemed like a bit of a stretch and symptomatic of a political mindset fixed upon an unwillingness to take personal responsibility.
In many ways, President Bush, too, is more liberal than most Democrats are willing to admit as he likewise seems unwilling to take responsibility for his failings.
But I suppose that calling those who disagree with your politics "thoughtless morons" certainly contributes more to civil discourse than anything I could say, so please forgive me.
Posted by Maxine Waters at March 10, 2004 04:02 PM
You got me wrong, sweetie. I wasn't saying I was civil. *TTD* is always civil. He is virtually universally liked in the blog world (not his politics, mind you, him). And TTD will probably suffer unkindness from the likes of you in silence. However, I, by contrast, do not.
And thus my beef with you is not over your politics. In no way, shape or form. In fact, people (one or two) I genuinely care for and respect like the Bush administration (I don't under stand why, but they do). Rather, my anger is over your unnecessary and silly personal attack on TTD, a person I have never known to willingly do an unkind thing. TTD was, after all, telling you the story of his life. You are thoughtless and insensitive and, yes, unbearably stupid because you didn't hold your tongue when he did so. Let's be intellectually honest: you aren't criticizing the TTD's politics (however much you now pretend to be) by your comments, you are saying that his bad economic fortune is *his* fault, and that politics and the economy had nothing to do with it. But how on earth would you know? Certainly, good men and bad alike are taken down by a badly managed economy. And who cares what some anonymous troll thinks anyway? Pas moi. The bottom line here: I just enjoy insulting cowardly, self-righteous and uninformed types like you.
But I appreciate your gracious offer of an apology anyway. Thanks.
Posted by charisse at March 10, 2004 04:30 PM
Maxine, if you can honestly say that this president's tax and (lack of) economic policies have not directly contributed to an economic state where people who have lost jobs have not been able to find work for 2 years or more (and by work, i mean jobs close to or equivalent to what they had been earning previously), then by all means, Vote for Bush.
it means you're part of a privileged class, where you don't have to worry that the next paycheck you get might be your last, or that that same paycheck won't stretch until your next one, that you might have to cut back on how much you eat for a week in order to pay the rising gas prices so you can get to that job.
i truly hope you don't ever go through that. that's a hell i wouldn't wish on anyone save a select few idiot talk-show hosts.
i'm in a field that is fast going away, but lucky enough to be in academia, where the pay is painfully low and the jobs can't be outsourced (gotta be hands on), but i seriously doubt that my job classification will even exist 3 years from now out in the private sector... there definitely aren't any openings for my skills (some 20 years worth of tech learnin', not worth squat anymore).
I do not understand attitudes like yours... to see all around you the domestic destruction being caused by the state of the economy (which was intentionally brought on by ill-conceived tax cuts and worse spending decisions), and instead choose to blame the people who are losing their jobs left and right for that outcome.
under Bush I, i had a devil of a time finding work, but i was able to get by until more tech jobs sprang forth eventually. because of Bush II, those tech jobs are not coming back, ever. too many friends of mine were out of work for 1-2 years, others gave up looking, living with the crushing realization that they wasted tens of thousands on an education they'll never be able to earn a living using. i know others who were still young enough to join the Army, even though they knew a war was coming, because there were no other options for them.
my biggest fear is that if Bush II gets extended another 4 years, more people than ever will experience that distress. then the world will catch fire, with Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld/Rice/Powell et al sitting idly by, wine glasses in hand, and Rove in the background, fiddling while it all burns.
how anyone with any compassion whatsoever could seriously consider voting for these people again confounds me.
Posted by DesertJo at March 10, 2004 04:32 PM
Since Bush entered office, somehow a whole lot of people suddenly developed personal failings that destroyed their jobs. I blame Satan.
Posted by Matt McIrvin at March 12, 2004 08:57 AM
This is a market driven society. Bush gets blamed for all of the ills in this society. We all sympathize for people who had some bad breaks in their lives. But people need to adapt to a changing society. When the automobile was invented did the enormous horse trade blame the current administation that their jobs were being outsourced to machines, or did they blame Henry Ford for inventing the assembly line that mass produced that machine. When cars and airplanes became the preferred ways of travel verses rail, did the train workers blame the then administration for losing their jobs. When TV flourished in the 1950's did the radio industry blame whoever was in charge that they lost listeners. No. They adapted, changed their formats to attract listeners back. What about the print media? New York had dozens of major daily newspapers at the turn of the last century. Now they have 3. Was the adminstarion to blame? Internet and cable are taking viewers in masses away from Rather, Browkaw, and Jennings. Are the networks blaming the president? Probably yes, but you get my point.
The current unemployment rate is at 5.6%. Go read any economics 101 textbook and you see that is a normal rate for a healthy economy. The bulk of the unemployed are either people between jobs or one's who choose not to work. Do we sympathize for a person who lost their job due to an outside force?
Absolutely. However we all have talents to make us adapt to a changing society for us to be productive individuals.
Posted by midnight cowboy at March 13, 2004 09:06 AM
I'm duly honored to have damsels defending my honor; thank you ladies, and God bless you.
I don't know really what to say to Maxine and midnight cowboy, other than-- yes, ultimately, we all get to live out our fates. Most of us are indeed responsible for most of those fates, and I take full responsibility for my own.
But after nearly two decades in the American work force, however, I am convinced that our capitalist system rewards (1) raw greed and ambition, (2) dishonesty, (3) brown-nosing and (4) little or nothing else.
Yes, most people merely contribute their talent, hard work, education and training and enthusiasm-- thankfully, there are institutions where those things matter-- but in my experience in this economy-- those institutions are the exception.
When I left law school (and worked for Ed Meese's Department of Justice which was evidently a much happier place than John Ashcroft's-- and at least at my level was an honorable institution worthy of respect, and one of the few places I worked that even APPROACHED a "meritocracy"), I actually leaned libertarian, rather than "liberal". Indeed, note my bizarre Presidential voting record: 1980 Ed Clark (Libertarian), 1984 Mondale, 1988 Poppy Bush (my sorriest vote ever), 1992-- disgust at the choice, and sat it out, 1996 Bob Dole (a decent and honorable man-- just think what this country would now be like had that man been about to complete his second term), 2000 Al Gore (see parenthetical after Bob Dole).
Voting record or not, I find myself getting MORE LIBERAL with age (if you're not a liberal at 21, you have no heart; if you're not a conservative at 41, you have no money).
IMHO, unbridled American capitalism is BULLSHIT-- the American economy runs mostly on the God-damned law of the jungle, where people like the Bushes and the Cheneys get to rewrite the rules so that they always win-- and people of genuine talent and merit often get fucked (please, don't confuse any of this with self-pity; I take full responsibility for my own situation-- although as I've said many times, I blame Bush for every bad thing in the universe, so since I blame Bush for hangnails and dry skin, why not for this?)
So-- the ONLY fair response to offset the intrinsic unfairness of the so-called market economy: a social safety net-- so that at least people fucked by our fundamentally corrupt "capitalist" system don't have to fall down dead in the streets of hunger and homelessness.
Of course, this President is desperately trying to strip away whatever remaining vestiges of a social safety net we have (that's the "compassionate" part) while STILL managing to spend more money in his four years (please God that's all he'll get) than Clinton did in his eight (that's apparently the "Conservative" part). So all I have is two words about the current PResident: fuck him. And three more: let's defeat his ass (oh wait-- that's four).
As more and more people file for bankruptcy in a so-called "good economy", we can merrily look forward to the inevitable next wave of people losing their homes in the coming foreclosure crisis. Think "variable rate loans", while people's incomes are flat or declining as our job market goes further to hell... Why? Interest rates are absurdly low; as the government deficit must eventually be paid for, interest rates MUST inveitably rise-- at which point, home values will decline accordingly (iron law), and home equity borrowing-- the only thing keeping this economy going at all-- will crash to a stop.
I suppose everyone who will lose their homes (and probably their entire net worths) and their jobs at that time will have brought that on themselves too-- they should have been born rich!
MC-- don't give me historical bullshit about "full employment"; when I was in college, the dueling opinions were either 5% or 6%; one or the other was the "Humphrey-Hawkins" target. Unemployment is technically low-- but we no longer measure it the same-- Clinton (for whom I never voted, as noted above) changed the rules to make himself look better-- and got it down to 3 - 3 1/2%. Measured the way it was, under say, Carter or Ford-- unemployment is much, much, much higher than the offical count. Furthermore, many people have given up in disgust and stopped looking. Furthermore, many people work-- but at far less remunerative jobs.
Schumpeterian creative destruction? No way babe-- I don't see the creative part -- just the destruction. Its cool to suck out all the profits into CEO pay-- ordinary workingman wages be goin' DOWN. Remember the word "downsizing" was invented during Bush I... no such word existed under every American president from Washington to Reagan... Its simply that its became cool to divert money that once went into worker's pay packets... Hey, greed is good, right?
Do I have an overall solution? Fuck yes-- raise the God damned tax rate, implement national health care-- TOMORROW-- paid for largely by raising the minimum wage and mandating coverage on all workers (with government picking up non-workers), and implement transfer taxes to offset the pain of this collapse. Don't fuck around with tariffs, or other market interferences-- which are just more games for the Bushes and Cheneys of the world to line their own pockets (even if trade unions foolishly like them and slithering reptiles like Dick Gephardt espouse them).
So-- is it "my fault" I am unemployed at the moment? See above re: "personal responsibility". Is it my fault that an economy-- as reflected in weekly want ads, Monster.com and the usual sources-- seems to be generating NOTHING by way of new jobs (at least in the private sector)? That's giving me a fuck of a lot of power, isn't it? Fuck-- Lois Lane's in trouble-- I better go save her...
Did I say all that out loud?
Posted by the talking dog at March 13, 2004 10:19 PM
"But after nearly two decades in the American work force, however, I am convinced that our capitalist system rewards (1) raw greed and ambition, (2) dishonesty, (3) brown-nosing and (4) little or nothing else."
There's some agreement with you there.
Unfortunately those traits are raw human nature. In the utopian society you stated of government mandates from cradle to grave, the four rewards of the evil capitalist society are just as in place or more so in a socialist, communist, or even facist regime.The only difference is the ultimate payoffs go to the reigning hierarchy in government power. Where raw greed, brown nosing, and dishonesty rule supreme. In those governments there isn't any checks and balances to the ruling classes.
What does raising the tax rate do, other than cause more poverty. When was the last time a civilation taxed itself into prosperity? Is that not our goal to be a prosperous nation? To have the best life affords you. I was in West Germany when the the wall came down and became one the early westerners to visit East Germany freely. (Picked up some good Henckel knives there cheap!!) I wanted to kiss the ground upon arriving back to JFK. How depressing it was in this former Communist wastlend. All the factories were world war II era. Burning burning coal for fuel emitting noxious odors and pollutants. Basic services in such disrepair. Nothing modern or up to date a very depressing time for all. Lets's not talk unemployment there. They had government mandated healthcare, they had high taxes, and boy did they have corruption. Is the American system perfect. No way. However, in a society that rewards innovated thinking and original thought, it will lead to a population happier, more prosperous, and modern than in a state controlled society. You might say look at England, or France. No thank you been there, don't want it. Health care in those countries simply suck. My daughter is permanently scared from the English medical society because they screwed upclosing a simple wound. Remember last summer when thousands of French citzens perished because it the temperature broke 100 degrees. Nice health care system. I don't think that would happen hear.
Posted by midnight cowboy at March 14, 2004 11:36 AM
The utopian society I envisioned existed in... the United States somewhere around 4-5 years ago. A government that could actually pay for its own obligations... amazing, huh?
I fail to see how a government that taxes its millionaires and billionaires at 39.5% of their top marginal income is somehow more morally inferior and a threat to capitalism and incentive than one whose top rate is 36.5% (and exempts dividends, estates, and other revenue sources that are infinitely fairer and protective of incentives to productivity than wage taxes).
I fail to see why a system of social economic protections that works just fine and dandy in every GOd damned First World industrialized society except this one is "utopian" (and frankly, I remember, in my own adult life, when over 3,000-- or was it 5,000- people died in Chicago in a heat wave a few years ago, so please spare me the "we're better than the Europeans" tripe.)
Capitalism in Canada seems alive and well- even with their communistic, red, pinko health system-- in fact, it means that Canada can CREATE JOBS and we CAN'T: its businesses needn't worry about insanely spiraling health care costs-- the government passes that burden onto the entire society, and not just the job creating sector (the way we stupidly do here).
INterestingly, you agree with me on some of the intrinsic unfairnesses of the capitalist system (and yes, its as good a system as humanity has come up with-- even though it sucks, it can at least generate enough surpluses to ensure that its most egregious failures don't cause too much suffering). You also understand, however, that there is not, and never will be, unbridled free market capitalism-- the rich and powerful will always interfere like they do in communist and totalitarian regimes the world over.
Hmmmm... I'm hardly calling for an overhaul of society... just a rollback of some of the crueler measures imposed by Mr. Compassionate...
IN fact-- I do so, because the Uniter Not Divider is the greatest threat to capitalism (anywhere, anytime) that I have seen in my lifetime: maybe in his heart, Nader was right-- electing this guy WILL bring on the revolution...
Posted by the talking dog at March 14, 2004 11:57 AM
Interestingly enough, you want to roll back society to a time 4-5 years ago when the commander in chief is someone you didn't vote for.
Clinton claims to have closed the deficit. OK, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. Any light analysis of those figures was that it was based on way higher than average growth on the outer years. In Q4 of 2000 the most recent recession started to take hold. I remember Clinton explaining then, that it is nothing to be concerned because a recession is catagorized to have 2 straight quarters of negative growth. So even if the evil Mr. Bush wasn't POTUS we were on our way to a full blown recession, thus creating a growing defecit. Do I have a problem with Bush's runaway spending? Damn right I do. He's not my ideal person to have his hand on the country's till. However, most of the spending I disagree with should be welcome news to one's who despise him .Increased funding for the arts. Throwing money at a failed education system. (I'll give you that one, many industrialized countries blow our education system away. Just look where our kids rank worldwide). Expanding medicare by 400 billion. Are these the crueler meaner measures you talk about? What amazes is that we want a government that can pay for it's obligations. So assume that means were talking about the deficit being out of control. The average American who makes anywhere from $50,000 - $100,000 /yr may have a $400,000 house perhaps bought with as little as 10% down. 2- 25,000 dollar cars with perhaps less than 10 % down, credit card bills of around 2-4000 dollars plus any other type of debt owed. So this person owes perhaps 500,000 dollars but only takes in 30-60 thousand dollars after tax.
Does that person have no future? Are they setting themselves up for disaster?
Hardly not. So why when the U.S government does it, it is the end of civilization? Speaking of numbers
from what I remember the number of dead in Chicago was nowhere near 3000-5000.
people. That would of put it on a scale greater than 9/11 in terms of human devastation. I don't recall the comparisons being made. But let's take your number of 5000 dead in Chicago. There was 15,000 dead in France last summer. We have 300 million people in this country. France has 59 million.
Do the math, who had the greater percentage of their people die with their amazing healthcare. See if a 59 year old can get a kidney tranplant in these socialist medical systems. He's too old for one. Britain was just bragging in the "Evening Standard"that people now have to wait just over a year for required surgeries. Elective surgeries, forget it. Sure capitalism survives in Western Europe. The balance is tilted more in favor of what you want with greater gov't restrictions.
I would never want unbridled commerce
but the type in Europe stinks to the other extreme. Gas, food, real estate, is much more proportionally expensive there. Whatever class you're born into you very likely to stay there. The abilty to move upward is highly unlikely and the gov't wants it that way. I have good friends who visit here in the states frequently. ( No they can't afford it. the American based company's London division pays for it) The bulk of the time they are here the shop, mostly in all the outlet stores. They outshop my wife, trust me she can blow away the average consumer when it comes to shopping.They have to buy extra baggage each time to carry all the items they purchase. They shop here so much because a pair Levi's go for $90.00 each in the UK. Capitalism OK but not capitalism great.
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