Monday, July 11, 2011

An Uneventful Day That Gave Me Too Much Time To Think


My day was uneventful, neutral. It gave me pause and I realized, perhaps clearly for the first time that I am increasingly concerned about my own well-being in this economy, as clients who are profitable continue to stretch their bills out. Not yet to 30 days, but a week or two more than six months ago when virtually all paid by return mail.

Perhaps that's somewhat of an overstatement, but as I look about and see an ineffectual Congress and Administration doing virtually nothing about the employment situation, which does nothing but deteriorate, I know that historically, the impact can spell disaster; one of even greater scale then we are now experiencing.

I listened to the President last night and just read the lead to a story in The New York Times, "President Obama made no apparent headway on Monday in his attempt to forge a crisis-averting budget deal, but he put on full display his effort to position himself as a pragmatic centrist willing to confront both parties and address intractable problems…"

This "budget issue" is like reading Beckett, Ionesco or Genet: It's absurd, it's religiously political. Does anyone ingenuously believe that radical, yes "radical" fools in the House of Representatives will block national funding? Well, perhaps yes and if so, Social Security and other important bills will continue to be paid and the expense will be borne by the GOP in the fall of next year.

The media's not helping much with its fallacious punditry – and we, voters, citizens are doing little. Where are our demands for jobs. Paul Krugman, in my view the most intelligent Op-Ed writer at The New York Times, perhaps in the nation said it best in his column, No, We Can't? Or Won't? in which he said, "…a destructive passivity has overtaken our discourse. Turn on your TV and you'll see some self-satisfied pundit declaring that nothing much can be done about the economy's short-run problems (reminder: this "short run" is now in its fourth year), that we should focus on the long run instead…This gets things exactly wrong. The truth is that creating jobs in a depressed economy is something government could and should be doing. Yes, there are huge political obstacles to action — notably, the fact that the House is controlled by a party that benefits from the economy's weakness. But political gridlock should not be conflated with economic reality." I highly recommend you give that column a read, again, the link is: No, We Can't? Or Won't?

Yet, the public remains, well, depressed, psychologically…it's clear from polls. There are no "Pep Talks" that will work any longer. The President seems to take the position that we should all grin and bear it until the economy works its way out of this mess.

Well, there are jobs that could be had. The nation helped banks, which are sitting on hordes of cash rather than lending. Corporations are similarly so and not hiring, which is why productivity is up. And, we're still shipping jobs overseas.

As Mr. Krugman said, "It's also worth noting that in another area where government could make a big difference — help for troubled homeowners — almost nothing has been done. The Obama administration's program of mortgage relief has gone nowhere: of $46 billion allotted to help families stay in their homes, less than $2 billion has actually been spent…So let's summarize: The economy isn't fixing itself. Nor are there real obstacles to government action: both the bond vigilantes and structural unemployment exist only in the imaginations of pundits."

Putting this into very simple language, and as I've (and others) have said before, the poor are becoming increasingly poor; the rich, richer and the middle class is fast disappearing.

How'd it happen? Too many people, voters listened to these "Tea Partyers," to folks like Bachman and Palin…Cut taxes? Please. GE doesn't pay any; the rich pay little…and government services have value. Imagine your life without them. Cut Social Security, Medicare?

Do these folks read anything but the drivel based on political and governmental neophytes who are not only immature, but are simply incapable of analytical thought. Proof lies in the pudding: Look where we are and look at their hero, Paul Ryan.