[Just discovered this post in my drafts folder. Better late than never...]
Maybe the world didnt end. But with just one footstep away from the the edge of the Fiscal Cliff, DH ventures a prophesy:
Things are going to just get worse and worse
An ominous sign: former passionate public housing advocates no longer agitate for more, better public housing. All the chatter is about "affordable housing for 'key' workers" now.
Housos are on the nose and can no longer be mentioned in polite company. As middle-class people begin to panic as their jobs and wage rates go into free fall, there's no room for compassion. It's every man for themselves and let the devil take the hindmost. Unfortunately with the hindmost underclasses gone, the middle-classes will soon find out that the buffer zone between the lower middle class and rock bottom just got that much thinner.
With Labor haunted by the Ghost of Scrooges past, ie the phantasm of Howard's meanness disguised as "sound financial management", and having squandered their mandate to take a stand, every decency must be sacrificed, in the race to the bottom with Howard's legacy.
It's all becoming too Dickensian. Witness this quote from Wikipedia as Labor slashes the support from sole parents.
"Dickens wrote in the wake of British government changes to the welfare system known as the Poor Laws, changes that required among other things, welfare applicants to work on treadmills. Dickens asks, in effect, for people to recognise the plight of those whom the Industrial Revolution has displaced and driven into poverty, and the obligation of society to provide for them humanely. Failure to do so, the writer implies through the personification of Ignorance and Want as ghastly children, will result in an unnamed "Doom" "
... and it's already happened. At least they haven't brought back the treadmills.