Sunday, July 06, 2008

Oh Noes! Recession! Or, A good time for someone who "doesn't understand" economics?

Are we, as Thomas Friedman suggests, a nation in decline? Probably. But we haven't hit the bottom yet.  The (not) good news is that we are now technically in a recession.   That's right kids (for those of you who vote republican and, therefore, don't understand economics, a recession is technically defined as a decline in the GDP for two or more quarters).  This much was announced by our own treasury department, but the Bush administration has yet to announce it officially as of writing this. Of course, it's going to get worse - gas prices are going up, as is inflation, as is unemployment, as are food prices.  Ah, what's another 62,000 jobs?  We're sure that the Bush will figure it out - eventually . . .

SIDENOTE: Personally we're optimistic that higher food prices + higher gas prices might help with the fact that this country is ridiculously overweight, which costs us nearly $100 billion a year in medical bills [data from 2003, probably more now].  But, while that's a good thing, and while there's the possibility that this will all spur one candidate to carry through with his promise to invest in alternative energy sources [though maybe not], AiT's response is otherwise clear; recession = bad for America. 

Americans are starting to get worried.  According to WICB (Ithaca-radio), 3/4 of Americans believe that things are going to get worse before they get better. Along those lines, an NBC poll indicates that over 65% of Americans think they are going to have trouble making ends meet, a number that is probably higher now (poll from May).  

In the meantime, Gallup reports that Bush's approval rating is at 28%. [Well, you people shouldn't have voted for him in the first place.  Sorry, we just had to say it.  If you're upset about spending $100 dollars to fill up your ridiculous made-in-the-U.S.A-SUV, then you 1) shouldn't have voted for the most regressive candidate in the last one-hundred years, and, 2) should walk more, supra.  But we I digress. . . .]. 

So, 4 out of 5 now think that the economy is toast and getting worse.  Moreover, Americans have a reason *not* to be optimistic. The reason is that the factors that are driving this recession - mainly, the high cost of fuel which is being driven not only by speculation but also the complicated phenomenon where worldwide demand outstrips worldwide supply.  The only way to deal with this will be the sort of sweeping national transition that far-sighted individuals like Paul Krugman have called for: not just a new investment in alternative sources of energy on the national level (hint: we're going to have to raise taxes on rich people; start by *removing the payroll cap*), but also completely changing are national infrastructures (move away from sprawling suburbs, better public transportation, overhaul transnational shipping - currently done by gas-guzzling trucks that cost $1400 to fill).

That's what needs to be done.  Government spending coupled with ending the three-trillion dollar war in Iraq.  Rebuilding the national infrastructure from the ground up.  Investments that make our country greener and more efficient.  And closing the gap between the most wealthy few and the masses of people who are struggling to make ends meet. 

Obama understands this, at least, even if many Americans don't yet, but even under the most optimistic projections (and, believe us, he's optimistic - i mean - hope! change!).  McCain, by his own admission, does not

This one should be a no-brainer.  But then again . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

on infrastructure beyond public transport: