So If you've been following the progress of this painting you'll remember that one of my complaints about the subject of the piece was the nice and cozy relationship between Chris "Kubla" Christie and Triple Five, the big Canadian developers of Mall Of America. They're the most recent entities to make a go of trying to finish the Xanadu project, or The American Dream as its now known. Christie has managed to fast-track tax breaks for Triple Five in exchange for replacing cops, teachers, social workers and firemen with janitors and retail clerks. In other words, at the same time he's been pushing through his agenda of spending cuts on police, education and job training, he's giving handouts to corporations.
This is by far my not my chief complaint, which has more to do with environmental issues, but it's pretty high on my shit list. It also fits in nicely with a story that was published today in Huffpost Business. In the article, Peter S. Goodman interviews my friend Joe Sangataldo, a former social worker who specialized in job training of welfare and unemployment recipients. Joe was laid off two years ago when Christie began his mission of cutting spending on things that invest in the future of our state, and instead decided to focus on pleasing his corporate friends, who I still contend will be contributing to his Presidential bid if and when he decides to run.
Joe's story is typical of many who have been victimized by rising unemployment with one exception: his job was to help people who are receiving government handouts get out of the system and get back to work. It seems illogical that Christie would want to cut funding to areas where it can actually go towards helping people build a better future. Instead it gets funneled to centers of corporate and commercial greed like Xanadu.
I'm not sure how people like Chris Christie sleep at night. I guess when you have powerful friends it doesn't matter that you're putting people on the street who were trying to help others get off the street and build a better life. This is congruent with the austerity measures that have sparked riots in Europe, and congruent with the indifference their leaders have with the plight of their citizens.
I can't wait for this painting to be done. Here's part 35: