Quick answer is no, not yet, Chicken Little! – but scary words are flying around attached to upsetting events and the Stock Market looks like a roller coaster that only the well to do can ride. Get used to the new normal – spooky as it is.
Phrases buzz through my head from NPR shows (various). “Is this leading to Civil War?” re the division between Republicans and Democrats. We’re looking at a long-term apocalypse (Marketplace commentator) And two pundits give a scary 16.2% as the true unemployment number. The Depression was 20% unemployment.
So this week the US credit downgrade from AAA to AA+ is headlines. Why not people losing their homes? Lack of jobs and the future for incoming young adults? Climate crisis? Nuclear World War III (more likely, we are told, than ever)? Tornados? Really, folks, Credit Downgrade? Deficit calamity? Isn’t this all about PAPER? Electronic paper at that…and most of us don’t have that much of that…High drama over our views of what we do without much real change when we need a better deal for people who are suffering.
My current fav pundit, Paul Gilding, former CEO of Greenpeace, at World Affairs Council told us he thinks we haven’t got it yet that we are in the midst of an ecologic disaster – and when we do get it, new leadership will arise and we will act fast to make necessary changes. Cross your fingers.
But Gilding’s is the optimistic view and addresses one HUMONGOUS issue, but not the only one. Another dark comment, that we haven’t had this much disagreement in US gov. since 1920 – and Standard and Poor rating service picked up on that, much to Obama’s must be HUGE dismay, downgrading our credit rating from AAA to AA+ because (?) “of the nation’s massive debt burden and its inability to function politically.”
You mean all that wrangling actually has consequences? Yes, kids in D.C.; yes. You messed up big time. And how on this earth do we reconcile Tea Party beliefs with a functioning government? Doesn’t the Tea Party actually want to take our current government down? Trying to grok this is giving me a headache but I won’t give up.
Love watching Stephen Colbert (don’t you?) The world is wacked about as much in Colbert’s version of it as in reality. So he helps us throw off the gloom with oddness and cheer and a nasty phrase mixed with better so we never get stuck in ugly. One wonders what he’s about to do with the 2012 elections – and his Super Pac – fireworks! I’ll bet on that.
You’d THINK the VERY RICH/corp bigwigs would be grateful for all the turns and turns we’ve been making to ensure they get their just desserts – and ours for that matter. Richest 1% now owns the universe? Can’t even track the concessions we’ve made for the Free Market (i.e. bigwigs) and, of course, the fairly new law that declares that corporations are persons who can hold Super Pacs to elect whoever they please. Where did Democracy go in this? Glad Colbert will use his recently received boost to Free Speech.
Just watched a fine film, Goya’s Ghosts, w. Javier Bardem about the Spanish Inquisition and the slow death of “unimportant people”. Seems slaughter, torture and other very mean stuff has happened always and continues around the globe. Can’t we stop? Now. Can’t help but think the reality of cruelty here and abroad is sinking into our hearts and deeply scaring us while making us less kind. And there is no strong counter balance. We gave the Clinton surplus to the very rich with the Bush tax cuts.
Team Planet – WEAREALLONE. It’s true but we don’t get it yet. Hope there is time before that aforementioned apocalypse.
Paul Krugman says Standard and Poors made a $2 trillion mistake and we need to reinvest in the middle class (Krugman, Nobel in Economics, always worth the read at while the Tea Party says (my read) oh, no, pull all your assets in close to you, forget about those “other” people and stick together with other tea party people. Us and Them was never a bigger deal. Us, people with resources; Them, people who don’t count. They die? More for us. I know that sounds heartless, but it rings true to me now. Prove me wrong and I’ll be glad.
OK – just Googled Clinton surplus. He claimed $236 billion; conservatives say it wasn’t true because we added $18 billion in debt. Tea Party people say we need to cut debt now, but Paul Krugman and so many others say we need to reinvest in JOBS to overcome the downturn. Support for this idea comes also from economist, James Galbraith, who said at a Praxis Peace gathering in Sonoma that we shouldn’t worry so much about the deficit – its part of doing business, more like a mortgage than a go-to-jail scenario (my words).
So economist Robert Reich, just published Aftershock: The Next Economy and the American Future. And then TeaParty.org sneaks in The Aftershock Survival Summit, book and video sent to me as a doc that said “50% unemployment…” No idea who sent it or how they got my email. Bought? Reminds me too much of John Birch Society. Fells sneaky. Anyone else sent the “Aftershock Survival video”? Almost sounds like news – but not.
Seems the globe is cantering toward chaos – or are we standing there now? People afraid of each other because others are “the Other” and not “US;” is the next terrorist living next door? and the rich get richer while the rest of us shutter in our boots.
Crazy making? You bet!
These words from Robert Reich’s Blog 25 July 11
Why Washington is about to make the jobs crisis worse.
We now live in parallel universes.
One universe is the one in which most Americans live. In it, almost 15 million people are unemployed, wages are declining (adjusted for inflation), and home values are still falling. The unsurprising result is consumers aren’t buying – which is causing employers to slow down their hiring and in many cases lay off more of their workers. In this universe, we’re locked in a vicious economic cycle that’s getting worse.
The other universe is the one in which Washington politicians live. They are now engaged in a bitter partisan battle over how, and by how much, to reduce the federal budget deficit in order to buy enough votes to lift the debt ceiling.
The two universes have nothing whatever to do with one another – except for one thing. If consumers can’t and won’t buy, and employers won’t hire without customers, the spender of last resort must be government. We’ve understood this since government spending on World War II catapulted America out of the Great Depression – reversing the most vicious of vicious cycles. We’ve understood it in every economic downturn since then.
The only way out of the vicious economic cycle is for government to adopt an expansionary fiscal policy – spending more in the short term in order to make up for the shortfall in consumer demand. This would create jobs, which will put money in peoples’ pockets, which they’d then spend, thereby persuading employers to do more hiring. The consequential job growth will also help reduce the long-term ratio of debt to GDP. It’s a win-win…
As more and more Americans lose faith that their government can do anything to bring back jobs and wages, they are becoming more susceptible to the Republican’s oft-repeated lie that the problem is government – that if we shrink government, jobs will return, wages will rise, and it will be morning in America again. And as Democrats, from the President on down, refuse to talk about jobs and wages, but instead play the deficit-reduction game, they give even more legitimacy to this lie and more momentum to this vicious political cycle. The parallel universes are about to crash, and average Americans will be all the worse for it.
“Our current problem is jobs, growth…we need an expansive fiscal policy…a huge gap between what consumers are willing to spend and what…economy plunged 8.9% – steepest decline in 60 years. Cast starved States scale back their own spending, enact a bold plan to jump start the economy. 20 million Americans need work.
Democrats can look forward to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts next year, and will have to make the case in the 2012 elections for new lawmakers who will undo the damage.”