This summer hadn't gone smoothly. Federal budget cuts turned into state budget cuts, which turned into local budget cuts. These cuts in the public sector meant massive layoffs in the public sector, which meant the neither the governments nor the employees could buy from the private sector, which meant budget cuts and layoffs there, too. Profits are at an all time high, mind you, just fewer people are still benefiting from these profits. Some people were pissed about this, and that's where I come in – I make my money by protecting those profits.
Most of the time it's easy enough – a little misinformation or misdirection at the right moment goes a long way. The usual play is to blame those who point out the problems as being the ones causing the problems: unions complaining about the working conditions turns into greedy unions costing the company money they could use to upgrade; environmentalists complaining about pollution means that it's their regulations which make it impossible for green companies to start up or operate. Most of the time this works – God knows the only thing they all enjoy is tearing each other apart (the right seeks converts, the left seeks traitors). Sometimes, however, you need to call in the big guns. And to do this, you need small targets.
First you pick out one or two ringleaders, then you pick out how best to neutralize them. Sometimes it's as easy as giving them a job funded by the company they're speaking out against. Now they're sell-outs, and the left doesn't listen to sell-outs. Sometimes you push them to go further than they normally would. Moderates have a hard time listening to 'radicals', so they're easily ignored (and usually easy to jail). Sometimes, though, the brakes go out on their car just as they're about to go around that dangerous curve. The crash is loud, but their voice is silent.
Whatever the scenario, I get paid. It's a decent gig, and pretty steady – as long as there are people with profits, there will be people who want to protect those profits from the folks who worked to get them those profits. As long as I don't do my job too well, I suppose.
Like I said, it'd been a busy summer for me – putting out and starting fires as need be. I'd made a decent amount of money for the effort, and I was looking forward to the fall. You see, the people's righteous fury usually cools down with the weather, and despite the summer heat, my bottle held their steam. Now it was time to clean up the leftover mess and have a well-deserved drink.