Friday, October 23, 2009

What a wonderful world it could be…

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/23/opinion/23krugman.html

Yes, Paul, it's all China's fault!

A short sighted, Wall Street, "take the money and run" corporatist economic policy that exported jobs and narrowly "repatriated" profits for the better part of 20 years -- China's fault!

A corporate owned (er... I mean "lobbied") government that marginally appeases human suffering from economic displacement and inequity through borrowing rather than (God forbid) taxing excessive profits -- China's fault!

Not allowing the average American worker's life savings to halve in value (yet again), as Wall Street and Washington require, to pull off the greatest monetization (er... I mean "securitization") scheme in the history of mankind -- China's fault!

Chickens, coming home to roost -- all China's fault!

Yes, if the Chinese would just swallow their worthless crap dollars and let us get on to printing ever more...  Everyone could be happy again!  The Dow could be 30,000.  Detroit executives could return to the skies in their corporate jets.  “Low end” New York apartments could exceed $4000 per month.  Bernie could get out of jail.

What a wonderful world it could be...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ronald Reagan and Pathological Dimwit Optimism

I’ve said it before here, but finally, Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book spells it out for the masses…

An unwillingness to embrace realism and engage in scientific empiricism has limited America’s capacity to solve growing problems and embrace real progress.  It has contributed to new crises, like the sub-prime/banking meltdown precipitating this Great Recession.

In 1979, Jimmy Carter was labeled a “downer” when he informed us we had a MAJOR fossil fuel problem.   Instead, we labeled Carter’s realism “malaise” and elected “Ronnie the Popular”.  Big.  Jovial.  Well intentioned and – above all – optimistic, Ronald Reagan.

Now, three decades later, few fundamental problems have been solved: Not fossil fuel addiction; not declining living standards, even with rising technology adoption; not a soft-fascist, pro-corporatist class system that excludes more workers from the American Dream each day.  Instead such problems have deepened and worsened.

But if the Great Recession restores a sense of American realism – even if only financial realism – it may be a net positive.

Monday, October 05, 2009

If America had a Ticker, I’d Short it!

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/opinion/04rich.html

OOPS!  Too late!

Then there’s the fact the U.S. is thirteenth in the United Nations Human Development (HDI) rankings for 2009 -- behind Japan, France, Sweden and Canada. 

Like I always say (inspired by Dean Wormer of Animal House): old, white, fat and stupid is no way to run a country!

Finally, here’s my new response to all charity/alumni/political/etc. requests for donations: “Sorry!  But I already gave at the bank!”

Merry Christmas!

Friday, October 02, 2009

It’s a Supply Side Problem

Another 260K jobs were lost last month.

Conservatives contend the problem is that American business is not hiring, because it anticipates higher taxes, healthcare costs, etc. from Big Government Democrats.

That argument is complete bullshit and I essentially agree with economist Mark Zandy that the problem is a supply side one.  In short, consumer demand for useless goods and catastrophic levels of personal debt has and continues to collapse.

The problem, as I’ve said before, is that the U.S. economy no longer produces enough of what human beings on this planet need (or even want): Gas guzzlers?  Houses?  Casinos?  Loans?  Credit Default Swaps?  WTF?

No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  People need local, renewable, distributed energy, healthy food, physical and social wellness and net neutral access to unbiased information (a k a knowledge).  Unfortunately we just don’t make enough of that here to employ everyone (especially since the Baby Boom refuses to retire) and sustain a $14T economy – that was melting the ice caps and setting the sky on fire anyway.

The problem is that, since Reagan, the U.S. economy has run on the fumes of peak oil, idiot consumerism and unbounded debt.

Move on!  Show’s over!

Chicago couldn’t even bag the 2016 Olympics.  But then no country deserves IOC rebuke more than one that gave the world Wall Street crony capitalisms and for-profit medicine where sickness disqualifies care.