I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting increasingly irritated by the element of mysticism with which politicians insist on treating our faltering economy. There doesn’t seem to be any coherent strategy at this point, which may or may not be a reflection of the lack of private sector/financial grounding most of our politicians have. This is the environment that led to the passage of the TARP. Our politicians seem to be treating the economic crisis as an angry volcano god, and they’re scurrying about throwing virgins (read: money) into the rumbling maw in feeble hopes of appeasing it. The nomination and ongoing confirmation of Tim Geithner as the president’s Treasury Secretary is proof of that. We’re told over and over again that he’s “the only man” that can get the country through the economic wilderness like a latter-day Moses. Just FYI, Geithner is one of the architects of the original TARP bailout plan. Perhaps we aren’t looking hard enough.


Hariolor said...

Well, the reality is that things are really very bad for most people. I intend to go on with my merry life and make all the money I can, pay as little in taxes as I can, and earn as much on investments as I can.

That being said, there's really a lot of companies that are in very very bad shape. And a lot of those companies are ones that other companies rely on, either as financiers, or as clients (banks, manufacturers). Sloppy accounting standards and aggressive investment swap regulations have created a tower of bad debt that makes our current GNP look like a molehill. What's worse, that bad debt buys our products, funds our educations, grows our food - we are an economy drunk on debt, and until we get back to principles of equity-financing, high asset ratios, and personal responsibility on the part of the consumer, we're going to be in this hole for a long time.

Yes, it will get better someday. But a lot of harm can be done in the meantime. Just look at 1929-1955

Hariolor said...

My point being that nobody in politics is willing to tell us how bad things really are, so they dance around the issue and hope we're dumb.

All the 'voodoo' you see in government is more like a shell game as a thousand tiny problems are created and moved around to distract us from the hundred-trillion-ton giant squid in the room.

Ben Wheat said...

I think that's really what I was getting at. In the spirit of Obama's inaugural address, politicians needs to start leveling with us. But they also need to pull their heads out of their keisters and stop trying to cure debt with more debt by spending outrageous sums of money.

Anonymous said...

On top of what was well-written, and well-responded-to, I'd also like to add that most of our congress is populated with lawyers. Let's not just assume this is negative, however, lawyers are not typically economists, or even businesspeople. Their careers were populated with argument and maneuver before politics, and now it is even more feisty.

Enter a problem that requires understanding and expertise, and the politicians are 'mystified' by-and-large, hence the calamity. I submit that the problem wouldn't have necessarily been solved, but probably lessened on the front end, and solved easier if we had more businesspeople in congress focusing on process and bottom line.

Just my .02 (translated into elf currency of course)