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Coffee Shop Talk: An Impending Depression

Is New Orleans Headed Back into the Economic Depressions of the Past?

Each week, Joseph Santiago explores the issues of today over a cup of coffee. Check out his previous installments here


I’m having my coffee reading about a bomb being dropped and how Trump is serving the insurance companies by reducing benefits for the poor, making it harder to get insurance, and threatening to remove additionally protections if Democrats don’t see things his way. From my seat in the café, I listen to one person console another about recently becoming homeless. I interviewed two people last week who were opposed to the civil rights of the American people being infringed, and how greed has made its way into politics. I am having a difficult time shaking all this negativity off.


My mind wanders to how the great writer Hemingway was so poor that he shot pigeons in the park for dinner at times. As a society, we have made sweeping strides to improve the quality of living across America. I never expected a day where the President would say that the EPA was not necessary because we only need to protect a little piece of the environment. It amazes me that people do not understand that it all connected. It’s like giving the thumbs up as a company dumps toxic waste into a stream, which leads into the ground water, and streams, and people’s homes, through rivers, oh and out to the ocean. Anyone want some fish? It’s Easter weekend! 


I’m listening to people beside me debate if it’s better to accept discrimination for women, LGBT, and the poor, or have a functioning government. It is all so wrong to me.


That’s when these young men decide amongst themselves there is nothing to be done about racism. What is the message we are supposed to be getting from our President?


I’m not sure that Trump’s rise to power made these things worse. I think these details of civility and human dignity were here but not fully expressed. Since Trump has taken office he has done a lot to allow people to share their doubts on every topic. Well, except for what he is doing or Russia, or using bombs to have the media talk about something else. Everything will get better if people would just work more and get a job?


Are we to believe that business people care so much about us they will budget in human beings as more machines take the jobs that people once did? I’m getting tired of fearmongering in the news and from those in charge. It has gotten to the point where I can’t trust what elected officials value or get behind. I think it’s time for all of us to get the details of the changes proposed to how we live. The insurance industry made billions last year and Trump, along with his Republican team, appear to be squeezing those of us who don’t have global businesses to fall back on. We must come together and demand accountability from those we elect. The policies being put forward demonstrate who these officials are valuing. They are making America great for themselves. They are leaving us a legacy.


A legacy that starts with the student loan debt crisis that is being made worse by DeVos who removed protections from borrowers. There is the car loan bubble that is related to the slowing down of automobile purchases. The wall between Mexico that will increase taxes and food prices. I know people who have unfriended others on social media so that they can get away from these issues. They are everywhere because they are important, have been ignored for too long from the majority of citizens, and many of the people appointed to run the organizations are systematically dismantling them.


Hey, maybe I’m wrong. I’d like that. I’m beginning to feel like Trump is pushing America into a depression that will benefit the wealthy. Some investors are actively hedging against companies’ success. There will always be those who benefit from the failings of a business. It just so happens that now we have leaders ready to make that happen and they are profiting. I am left thinking what it felt like to the people here in New Orleans when the economic depressions of the past came? I feel like none of this should take any of us by surprise. I really wanted to write something upbeat to follow Good Friday. I need another coffee.


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The text above is a column and expresses only the opinion of the author, not NOLA Defender or NOLA Defender’s Editorial Board.


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