Rambling Economic Crankiness

It is interesting to me how we here in the USA are suddenly faced with “tough times” and so many people are so panic-stricken that they are voting for tea party witches and for any other person who comes along who appears to be on the “outside”.

It occurs to me that there’s no real outside here.  We’re all on the inside of this crisis.  We’ve all voted for the people who have made the rules to put us into this situation.  Many, many of us have taken out loans and refused to pay them back.  Many of us have lost jobs as a result of all the bad debt, which resulted in the bad economy, which resulted in the bad job market, and which created a continuation of the cycle.

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So who’s to blame?  Who cares at this point?  Who’s going to bring us out of it is the better question.  Who is going to create enough jobs to keep all these young people employed?  Who is going to provide an economy robust enough to keep the young people from turning to angry tea parties or militant groups?  That’s the problem that we face now, where are the jobs?

If we need jobs, and they can’t all be high paying, high tech jobs, then where is the relief for the average Joe?  Where are the jobs that would sustain a middle-class family, create sufficient income for home ownership, pay for benefits, pay for retirement,  pay for taxes?  Where is all this investment capital that the bailout money was supposed to represent?  Where are the new factories?  Where are the new trades?  Where are the jobs?

I don’t hear answers from Democrats, I don’t hear answers from Republicans, and all I hear from Tea Partiers is a bunch of angry BS.  Nobody has any answers and none of them want to work together for the good of “We the People”.  Perhaps Democracy has run its course?

I ask you all, where are the jobs and where is the investment? I don’t see it, do any of you?  All I see is trillions of dollars going to rich bankers who are hoarding it, that’s not the bill of goods I bought a couple years ago.  I was told it was going to “trickle down” that if the banks failed we all failed.  Well, they were right about one thing, now that the rich are fat and happy again, we all didn’t fail, only the middle and lower classes are failing, the rich have been well taken care of.

Republicans think that the rich deserve continuations of the tax breaks.  They assert that this is a good idea because the rich create the jobs.  What the leave out of their arguments is that the rich only create jobs when they need someone else to do the work for them and can afford to pay for it.  Otherwise, they would have to do the work themselves and pay for people to do other things that they no longer have time for; and since they don’t have time to do those things, they probably get charged more for those services so those service providers get richer, hire more people, and there’s a shift in the money downward anyway.

You see, the Republican logic is flawed.  Of course the Democrats aren’t much better.  Give us all your money they say and we’ll spend it better than you; we make better decisions than you do.  I don’t think so.  The Tea Partiers are too busy to even think about solutions because they’re out yelling at people at Town Hall meetings pissed off about the falling stock market taking a chunk out of their golf money.

We have less than we did before, but I suspect that what many of us have now is pretty close to exactly what we had before the crisis, a place to live, a job, a car, bills, family, blessings and troubles.  The difference is that we aren’t spending forward like we used to do on credit, we’re easing back and living on what we have in pocket.  That’s a shift, that shift is a little painful, like a fat, spoiled child who’s hand has been smacked reaching into the cookie jar.

Living within my means and not borrowing against future earnings is a cold glass of water in the face.  It means doing without for the first time in my adult life, it means that my anticipation of a constant outpouring of wealth is no longer secure, it means that the party is subdued, if not over.  I admit it, I was spoiled, and I liked it.  Coming back to earth after the Club Med life I was living is hard, but it was also inevitable.

Where do we go as a nation from here?  I think we’ll all live within our means, save more, earn less, spend less, and probably live better than we did before.  Less stress of debt, less stress of obtaining every crap knick-knack the Chinese produce, or every expensive bobble that a jeweler can create.

Maybe we will live a simpler life and enjoy it a lot more.  As I recall, nobody was very happy before the crash, everyone had lots of stuff, but everyone was so stressed about keeping what we had, storing what we had too much of, and obtaining what we didn’t have, to even enjoy our incredible wealth.  Maybe this crisis will have matured all us spoiled kids in the end, I certainly hope so.  Maybe the answer to who will lead us out of the crisis is simply staring us all in the mirror.

One Reply to “Rambling Economic Crankiness”

  1. I have said this before in comments I have left on this issue: partisanship is the lethal logjam in our democratic system. Everyone is so caught up in their own interests, the common good, which politicians swear to work for, falls by the wayside.

    I still have enormous respect for the President, but a little disappointment is creeping in that he is not making more forceful moves. There was a great piece in today’s Times about the long term implications of his flawed staffing choices, http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/of-punching-hippies-and-jumping-ship/?ref=opinion.

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