Sparkling New Hotel

I only walked in the woods a few times during the winter. I’ve just been walking in town. Near the convention center. By a new hotel directly across the tracks from where I stood during a lunch break. A lot of homeless and encampments about. I hear some of my fellow employed express disdain toward the homeless for not having trash pick up service or toilets, both of which would cost money, which is typically earned through employment, unless its unearned income.

So, again, not much time in the woods recently, even though winter weather doesn’t bother me much. Walking during lunch, viewing this new hotel. Looking up at its countless vacant units and down at its nice ground floor retail space, also vacant. A Hyatt Regency, it is, with countless rooms with kitchenettes, showers and beds, vacant and staring down at homeless people. At ground level where I’m holding the camera, around me are impoverished people living on the streets searching for resources. Some are afflicted with mental illness and perhaps addiction to street entrepreneurs’ retail products. I’m not saying it’s a shame there won’t be a bustling hotel with hopping ground floor retail and office space serving an event-packed convention center across the light rail track. Those activities are in large part unnecessary regardless of economic state. I’m just observing there’s not much use for a hotel intended for that function, especially right now. Just observing the lack of utility in the whole arrangement, the abundance towering over the poverty. The irony of how physically close this idle resource abundance is to the surrounding poverty. Two blocks away is this encampment — one of the countless right now. It’s one of the smaller ones.

I think much of this — the hotel/commercial space vacancy, homelessness, drug addiction, mental illness — is due to moderation: moderation in public policy, in politics, by policymakers and lawmakers. A moderation that declines to establish a safety net. Now the new hotel has no people to sell goods and services to because some members of that market fell in absence of safety net, or they’re not spending much at all because they know there’s little safety net.

Moderation in what sense and for what intended result? I think it’s moderation by policymakers/lawmakers with the intent of not rocking the boat. Not upsetting campaign donor-investors of the DRIT (Democratic-Republican Investment Tool). The DRIT policy/lawmakers practice moderation to avoid upsetting their campaign donors (investors). Moderation to keep their head down. To avoid raising taxes on campaign donor-investors. Such a raising of taxes would cut into campaign donor-investors’ bottom lines. The DRIT lawmaker has to use as its compass the question “If I raise taxes or change certain tax laws even if only for the health of their own markets (an thereby sustenance of my re-election campaign) will my campaign donor-investor prevent my re-election?” The answer is yes, because of the campaign donor-investors’ short-term/shortsighted focus on business. Business as usual leads to a slippery slope of increasing market poverty, businesses vacating blocks of buildings, loss of rent income, vandalism, insurance claims, higher insurance premiums for the now tenant-less commercial landlord — all this giving the street entrepreneur an edge over the white collar entrepreneur in a given area of town. Here’s a spot a Jaguar dealership moved out of.

It seems like self-harm committed by proponents of neoliberalism and austerity. It’s like an economic analogy to anti-environmentalism: eliminating ones own markets instead of ones drinking water. Economically, it’s “don’t tax us. Don’t blow money on safety nets.” Then they watch their own markets disappear.

But maybe I’m all wrong about this. Perhaps it’s not a problem after all for the campaign donor-investors. If one diverts their investment away from goods, services, and commodities (GDP-type stuff) and toward financial markets, then all one really needs is virtual/electronic mechanisms that result in deposits into ones accounts.

Anyway, moderation is the game for a DRIT candidate to win or remain in office. Moderation is austerity. Moderation is the snipping of safety nets. Moderation is lowering of tax revenue and therefore short-changing students and teachers. Anything straying from the moderate is “bold”, “progressive”, “radical”, “fringe”, “extreme” — all those things that cut into DRIT campaign donor-investor bottom line but address topics like health care, education, disaster preparedness, pandemic preparedness, and long-term care for old Gramps who failed miserably to save enough money for his $6,800 a month shared room in a facility that can care for him.

We elected another DRIT moderate president in November, albeit one who is experiencing pressure from and responding to progressives and their critical topics that are inconvenient to wealthy campaign donor-investors. His American Rescue Plan is actually rescuing America not from pandemic economic fallout, but from decades of moderation, decades of moderates who brought us the perfect storm that is the last 12 months or so.

Anyway, back to the topic of playing outdoors next time. Some aspects of life are normalizing. Fortunate to have remained employed, I will be able to ride and walk landscapes soon.