Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Rant about Economics

A serious post because the world as we know it is ending. I promise to be funny tomorrow, but today, no.
A quick economics primer
Stop it!!! Economics is not a difficult subject. Really. It has nothing to do with the fact that the Econ 101 class I took many years ago was taught by the world's most boring man, the subject is incredibly interesting, and not that difficult to understand. About the only thing I remember is that I learned the name of the Secretary of Agriculture at the time, Earl Butz.
Mr. Butz went on to become the most famous Secretary of Agriculture since who knows when as he told inappropriate, highly offensive jokes that eventually wound up in skits on Saturday Night Live back when it was funny.
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Anyway, pay attention, economics requires just that...pay attention.
I'm reading all this nonsense about what needs to be done right away because of the rise in energy costs. Now, if anyone was paying attention, the following facts would immediately come to the forefront: back in the 1970's, the OPECer's put the squeeze on us, gas was in short supply and tripled in price.

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We lined up for gas
We saw what happened, and for 30 years, did nothing, and then we act surprised. We didn't pay attention. It was more important to worry about Brittney and Lindsey and Miley.

The banking industry is in the crapper because back around 1977, Jimmy Carter and others decided it would be swell to make it easy for Americans to buy a house, whether they could afford it or not. A home is the American dream, and who are we to expect anyone to wait to have a dream come true? So, the government looked the other way as crazy schemes to get the money to individuals were put in place. And surprise, they couldn't pay their bills. And fat cat investors and CEOs made a boatload of cash. And we let it happen because we didn't pay attention.

We send too much money overseas. We have become a service economy, and that is a formula for disaster. Jobs go overseas, and so does a vast amount of cash. Brilliant planning, huh?

And the last part of this economic primer is this: it's not Bush's fault. Yes, he isn't going to go down as a great President, not even a good President. But he did not do all this on his own. This perfect economic firestorm has been 35 years in the making. We have had several Congresses (17 I believe) and 6 different Presidents since the first energy crisis. There is plenty of blame to go around for the shit stew we have simmering here.

Is it too late? I hope not. But it requires an overhaul of our economy, not slapping a patch here and there.


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18 comments:

Rubba said...

"Go ahead and laugh . .but if I run really really fast this bastard gets 100 MPG"

Oh crap... is dis not a Caption dis?. .

Lipstick said...

Nice post, Crotchety. I wish I had an interest-bearing hole in my yard and an under-the-mattress IRA.

Designing Hilary said...

I wanna bail out!

I find it ironic, however, that this "crisis" came to a head smack dab in the middle of a presidential campaign that has the oddest collection of characters that I have seen in my lifetime. I was all prepared for one humdinger of a show and this economy mess had to crap on the parade. :o)

shyne said...

You hit the nail on the head, crotchety.
With all the fingerpointing and the claims that someone else is responsible for the problems we face, few look in the mirror and recognize each of us is responsible in some way.

Maybe we'll all wake up soon.

Da Old Man said...

@ Rubba: Which picture were you captioning? Earl Butz? I just like saying that name.

@ Lipstick: I just put some money in the bank. Good to know I'm getting a quarter of a per cent.
It should double in about 290 years.

@ Hilary: I know. Just when it was getting interesting.

@ Shyne: I hope so, too.

Lauren said...

You should be on all the news shows giving commentary. Of course that won't happen because the mainstream media only wants arguments that are accepted as fact without any evidence to support them. Sadly they believe, as many professors have complained about for the last 20 years, that the average 20-30 something has a limited ability to carry out intelligent critical analysis.

Jenn Thorson said...

This is admittedly one of the weirder times, politically, I've lived through.

It's got a bit of an Alice in Wonderland feel to it-- there's a lot of conversation but not much of the talk connects logically.

Cynthia said...

Yeah.. I agree with you. Though I don't like Bush and I like blaming bad stuff on him, LOL... still, our economy and environment have been going down hill for years and years, why do people think all of a sudden it's happening? Go figure.

Bill said...

Canada was in a sorry state several years back, actually in danger of having to declare bankruptcy. Then we finally got a government in power with the balls to squeeze everything and everyone for a few very tight years till we got rid of our huge deficit. And our debt continues to get paid down because we've now had surpluses for seven or eight years in a row. The US needs to seriously bite the bullet NOW or recession really will become depression and not just in America. Who's fault is it? There're more important things to worry about!

Da Old Man said...

@ Lauren: So true. And we are creating a generation that is unable to think critically, and prefers a soundbite to serious discourse.

@ Jenn: Perfect analogy. Did you know today is my unbirthday?

@ Cynthia: He's an easy target.

@ Bill: It will require sacrifice and actual change in thinking, not just some words on a placard. I don't know how willing anyone is to do that. With the bailouts, they continue to seek a scapegoat when there isn't one. There are hundreds.

~*~Shadow.Crystal~*~ said...

It certainly isn't Bush's fault... this is one of the few things he can't (entirely) be blamed for. I see another depression happening. We Canadians are acting pretty smug... we think we're financially sound... but I think we're going down next (at least, we will be if we don't get rid of Mr. I-Wanna-Be-a-Rebulican Harper.

Da Old Man said...

@ Shadow: I think you're on target. Both our countries, mine especially, have made too many mistakes for short term gain.

dana wyzard said...

It is all due to a sense of entitlement: I DESERVE a new house. I DESERVE a new car. I'm ENTITLED to everything I want.

So I lived beneath my means all my life while those around me outclassed me by miles. And by feeling entitled to let the bills fall into the wastebasket, they're still in their nice houses and its MY money that is being taken away!

Garnzo said...

Great post, Crotchety.

Becoming a service economy isn't the only problem we have. Our education has also fallen into a service mentality. Instead of learning vital subjects like economics, most people simply expect others to figure it out for them. This leaves us all vulnerable.

Chat Blanc said...

I'm with ya. What's that saying, "Those who don't learn from history are doom to repeat it"? And now we can add to that--and the second time around can suck even more.

Jack Payne said...

If at first you don't succeed, why try again? Follow Lynch's Law: When the going gets tough, everyone leaves.

That's the easy way to handle such heavy problems as economic depressions.

SabrinaT said...

Can I link this over at my place?

HumorSmith said...

True, true. Shoulda bought that island in the '70's...