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  1. #1 Everything seemingly is spinning out of control 
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    Everything seemingly is spinning out of control
    By ALAN FRAM and EILEEN PUTMAN, Associated Press Writers
    Sat Jun 21, 3:14 PM ET
    WASHINGTON - Is everything spinning out of control?

    Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.

    Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.

    The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country's sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.

    The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year's presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order ó and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, "Yes, we can."

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  2. #2  
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    It's that time of the season for all the doom & gloomers to come out of the woodworks; it's an election year and the media is going to portray the economy as going to hell in a hand basket. For example, the ranting and raving about the unemployment rate going up from 5 to 5 1/2 per cent. Oh, for the good old day of the peanut farmer at 18%.

    Let's hear the good news for a change: Exports are up, worker productivity is up, wages are up, we have not had 2 quarters of negative growth which is the definition of a recession. Yes, gasoline is high but the piss-ants in DC have no answer and the media and the liberals are good at identifying problems but not worth a crap at fixing them. Next!
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  3. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lacarnut View Post
    It's that time of the season for all the doom & gloomers to come out of the woodworks; it's an election year and the media is going to portray the economy as going to hell in a hand basket. For example, the ranting and raving about the unemployment rate going up from 5 to 5 1/2 per cent. Oh, for the good old day of the peanut farmer at 18%.

    Let's hear the good news for a change: Exports are up, worker productivity is up, wages are up, we have not had 2 quarters of negative growth which is the definition of a recession. Yes, gasoline is high but the piss-ants in DC have no answer and the media and the liberals are good at identifying problems but not worth a crap at fixing them. Next!
    Unfortunately, it's not the simply the media this time. For example, while we've indeed had 2 quarters of positive growth, it's been .6% each quarter and that's been calculated using inflation figures that do not include food or gas. Gas and other energy costs will affect all areas of the economy, from air fares, to food, to retail sales as all are dependent in some manner on cheap transport. As you point out, no real solutions have been proposed, but for the simple reason that no short-term solutions exist. Additional drilling, nuclear, and innovative alternative sources are all long-term fixes that should have been initiated in the Clinton years, not to mention GWB's tenure.

    The weakness of the dollar is certainly a, if not the, key underlying cause of many of these problems and that can be laid directly at the feet of this administration and its short-sighted economic policies. To simply say that it's better than the times of the Peanut Prez, while certainly correct, does little to address the problems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
    Unfortunately, it's not the simply the media this time. For example, while we've indeed had 2 quarters of positive growth, it's been .6% each quarter and that's been calculated using inflation figures that do not include food or gas. Gas and other energy costs will affect all areas of the economy, from air fares, to food, to retail sales as all are dependent in some manner on cheap transport. As you point out, no real solutions have been proposed, but for the simple reason that no short-term solutions exist. Additional drilling, nuclear, and innovative alternative sources are all long-term fixes that should have been initiated in the JIMMY CARTER years (THINK OIL EMBARGO).

    The weakness of the dollar is certainly a, if not the, key underlying cause of many of these problems and that can be laid directly at the feet of this administration and its short-sighted economic policies. To simply say that it's better than the times of the Peanut Prez, while certainly correct, does little to address the problems.
    FIXED

    The Congress is an equal partner in the weakness of the dollar. The root of this problem started with stupidity of Alan Greenspan. He was asleep at the wheel for allowing these teaser rates at 1 and 2% interest only rates on mortgages. Loans to people that could not make the payments were the start of the problem but the stupid SOB testified before Congress that he did not see the need for oversight. That is a fucking fact and led to a disaster in the housing market. In turn, that led to huge losses in the financial markets. The Feds bailed them out and lowered interest rates so that the whole banking system would not collapse. Consequently, the dollar fell but watch what happens at the next Fed meeting and the next one when there will be no more cuts. Bernanke has done a great job in heading off an economic disaster; the dollar has hit bottom in my opinion and will start to go up in value.

    BTW, Bush had his hand in this mess also with his promoting home ownership. Everyone does need to own a home. This home ownership mentality is not for everyone. Renting is a better alternative for many people.
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lacarnut View Post
    FIXED

    The Congress is an equal partner in the weakness of the dollar. The root of this problem started with stupidity of Alan Greenspan. He was asleep at the wheel for allowing these teaser rates at 1 and 2% interest only rates on mortgages. Loans to people that could not make the payments were the start of the problem but the stupid SOB testified before Congress that he did not see the need for oversight. That is a fucking fact and led to a disaster in the housing market. In turn, that led to huge losses in the financial markets. The Feds bailed them out and lowered interest rates so that the whole banking system would not collapse. Consequently, the dollar fell but watch what happens at the next Fed meeting and the next one when there will be no more cuts. Bernanke has done a great job in heading off an economic disaster; the dollar has hit bottom in my opinion and will start to go up in value.

    BTW, Bush had his hand in this mess also with his promoting home ownership. Everyone does need to own a home. This home ownership mentality is not for everyone. Renting is a better alternative for many people.
    You mean, of course, the Republican Congress from 2001-2007 (excepting the Jim Jeffords lunacy)? Also, while Bush didn't appoint Greenspan originally, he kept him on. Try as everyone might, it's simply impossible to place the current economic mess in the laps of the Dims. Virtually all of it occured on the Republicans' watch. The teaser rates you refer to were allowed purposely by this administration to stimulate the economy after 9/11 by ensuring that housing and all of the industries associated with it would remain strong, thereby lessening the economic effects inevitable after such an event.

    Certainly, there will be a gradual rise in the dollar when the Fed doesn't make another cut at its next meeting (there was a bump when they indicated such at the last). However, remember not soo long ago, .8 USD bought 1 Euro; now 1 Euro buys 1.55 USD. It's a long way back and I see nothing that will take the dollar above $1.30 to the Euro.

    BTW, the Peanut Prez left office almost 30 years ago. While it may be fun to continue to blame the economic woes on him, surely someone in the interim 28 f'ng years could have intervened and done something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
    You mean, of course, the Republican Congress from 2001-2007 (excepting the Jim Jeffords lunacy)? Also, while Bush didn't appoint Greenspan originally, he kept him on. Try as everyone might, it's simply impossible to place the current economic mess in the laps of the Dims. Virtually all of it occured on the Republicans' watch. The teaser rates you refer to were allowed purposely by this administration to stimulate the economy after 9/11 by ensuring that housing and all of the industries associated with it would remain strong, thereby lessening the economic effects inevitable after such an event.

    Certainly, there will be a gradual rise in the dollar when the Fed doesn't make another cut at its next meeting (there was a bump when they indicated such at the last). However, remember not soo long ago, .8 USD bought 1 Euro; now 1 Euro buys 1.55 USD. It's a long way back and I see nothing that will take the dollar above $1.30 to the Euro.

    BTW, the Peanut Prez left office almost 30 years ago. While it may be fun to continue to blame the economic woes on him, surely someone in the interim 28 f'ng years could have intervened and done something.
    I blame the Congress and all of the Presidents from Jimmy Carter to the present. Carter stated we will never be dependent on foreign oil again. The Democrats controlled Congres back then. Right. The biggest drag on our economy today is the money we have to shell out for imported oil. The Democrats had all these wonderfull ideas of alternative fuels 30 years ago. The price of oil dropped like a rock and the Democratic Congress said happy days are here again so we will just spend that money on social programs rather that energy dependency. The amount of oil that we import has increased every year. I do place the economic mess in the laps of the Democrats. Both parties have screwed the pooch.
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  7. #7  
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    I have found that when the world is spinning out of control, putting one foot on the floor while lying on your back on the bed is quite effective....

    no need to thank me, I live to help others
    I smile because I don't know what the heck is going on.
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  8. #8  
    We have largely lost our sense of proportion and history. This is not the worst time in history or even close to it.

    Everybody I know has a job and it's a real job with real pay and benefits. They live in fairly nice homes, drive functional cars, and manage to indulge in cable TV and the odd night out without starving the kids.

    The problem we have in terms of our national psyche is that we have told repeatedly that no one should ever have any problems and that if any appear, it's up to society to fix. Both these assertions are false and they are both actively damaging.

    We need to anticipate problems on both an individual and national scale and plan for them (energy independence, water shortages, urban/exurban planning, etc.) and we need to stop acting like children when a solution will take more than 5 minutes to implement.

    The constant media drumbeat of "crisis" is no help here.
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    To borrow a line from CU's own Goldwater.... "I wuv you, Ginger". Great post.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    We have largely lost our sense of proportion and history. This is not the worst time in history or even close to it.

    Everybody I know has a job and it's a real job with real pay and benefits. They live in fairly nice homes, drive functional cars, and manage to indulge in cable TV and the odd night out without starving the kids.

    The problem we have in terms of our national psyche is that we have told repeatedly that no one should ever have any problems and that if any appear, it's up to society to fix. Both these assertions are false and they are both actively damaging.

    We need to anticipate problems on both an individual and national scale and plan for them (energy independence, water shortages, urban/exurban planning, etc.) and we need to stop acting like children when a solution will take more than 5 minutes to implement.

    The constant media drumbeat of "crisis" is no help here.
    Agreed, it's certainly not the worst time in our history. However, that said, it's probably the most serious conflagration of problems, economic and national security, in the last 30 years are so and it's trending downward. Those who go around saying that everything's fine because we've had two quarters of .6% growth or because "I'm not affected at all," are merely kidding themselves. Moreover, there are no short-term fixes. While strengthening the dollar will moderate the price of oil somewhat, I doubt we'll see $99 a barrel oil any time soon.

    However, I would disagree with your assertion that the problem lies in our expectation that no one should have any problems. I think it's quite the opposite. I think the problem lies in the expectation, built in throughout our culture, that we're always going to have more than we had or than our parents had. The US sprinted away from the rest of the world in terms of standard of living in the 50s and following, but the rest of the world is catching up. And, in catching up, they are competing with us for goods and resources on a scale we're not used to. No longer is the world characterized by a relatively small "first" and "second" world and a large "third" world; but rather, that third world, in the form of 1/3 of the world's population living in India and China, are moving into the second and soon into the first. That implies that while their standard of living rises, ours will inevitably decline (zero sum game with finite resources).

    As to planning, our system of short-term rewards doesn't reward such activities. A good case in point is the Bush administration and Republican Congress allowing (promoting?) the proliferation of high-risk mortgages to defray the economic impacts of the dotcom bust, Year 2000 finally arriving, and 9/11. That way they could claim everything was wonderful, and retain power in 2002 and 2004, until the Piper came for his pay (and then, "what about the baaabbies!?" :D).
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