Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thoughs on the Economic Crisis

"We are where we are now." Senator Hillary Clinton has summed up the economic crisis quite nicely. "Everyone has to take responsibility, but the bulk of the responsibility rests with this administration." The Republicans have taken away the rules, plundered the economy for their gain, and the result is that greed finally caught up to them and the country. Now, they are coming hat-in-hand and demand-in-mouth for a $700B bailout with Henry Paulson as the financial czar. No how, no way!

I watched the news every day since September 15th and thought about how we ended up here. I thought about the prosperity of the Clinton years and the recessions of the Bush II years. My musings sent me outside to look up and down my middle-class street. I saw more Obama yard signs than McCain yard signs, however, the lone McCain yard sign baffled me.

The houses on my street are quaint, not mega mansions, well, except for one on the end of the block and they have a McCain yard sign. I expected that from them, but not from the little bungalow across the street. It has a postage stamp yard, two bedrooms, a detached one-car garage and is on the "other-side-of-the-tracks" of Kirkwood. I know it is a rental. There is a new family there from the young couple that was renting it earlier this year. So, they are renting, probably can't afford the high real estate and taxes of this West County suburb, and they are voting for John McCain?

I pondered this as I also pondered how close the polls are when it is clear that Senator Obama is the more intelligent, most ready, better equipped to handle this economic mess, and ready to bring real change to the country. Is it race? Is it just stupidity? What is it? I pondered this for a moment and then thought surely this "greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression" will send people scurrying for the ballot box and Senator Obama. I'm seeing more "white, working class women" volunteering in our Des Peres campaign office. They get it, the press is starting to get it. We have to do something.

Can we say the entire blame rests on the current administration? About 90%. They pushed for deregulation, they let market forces run wild, it was a bunch of rich, white, frat boys playing funny money. Greed always comes before a fall and right now, we are in the fall. Yet, I would say 10% of it rests with us, the American people.

Despite the third recession, people still gve into the marketing messages and bought clothes, toys, computers, and other things they didn't need beyond the essentials. Yes, the gas prices have been higher than normal, yet in my little town, the restaurants and coffee shops are still doing a thriving business. I'm still seeing people shop at the malls and come out with Nordstrom and Macy's bags. Is it just the wealthy of my suburb that are shopping? Or is it the proverbial "keeping up with the Joneses" at all costs?

I told our children this would be a lean Christmas. Part of my statement was related to the economy but also related to the Hurricanes and real people hurting in other parts of the world. I also got really tired of picking up yet another toy, doll, computer game, and crayon. My kids don't need any more games, gadgets, or gifts. Maybe that is the lesson, the collective lesson, think about what we need versus all the wants.

We are so close to the election of the century in my opinion and there is so much at stake, nationally and in my home state of Missouri. The economic bailout will haunt my future grandchildren because of greed. The Republicans are trying to scare, still, white working class Americans into believing Senator Obama will "raise your taxes." It is not part of his plan to do that unless they make $250,000 or more. The vast majority of citizens stand to have a better quality of life under the Democrats. I don't make that much money, neither do most of the people on my street, neither does the "white, working class" family crammed into the tiny bungalow on my street.

The elected officials can't forget Main Street in their quest to save Wall Street. The bottom line is that we are each responsible for our choices. My husband and I have those discussions as we manage on one income. We don't want to pay the debt of my fellow MBAs on Wall Street who speculated. One of the things of investing is that you take the risks with the rewards. They want to privatize the reward through CEO golden parachutes and socialize the risk through bailouts and burdens on workers. There have been so many layoffs this year, over 600,000, that people are simply stunned.

The suits on Wall Street shouldn't walk away with billions that was suddenly available to bail them out but not available to offer early childhood education to help mothers balance work and family, to offer health care to all Americans, to offer a real living wage to families, to fix the bridges, to repair the roads, to put Apple iMacs in every urban library the way they are in every school in Kirkwood, Missouri. There is a lot that $700 Billion can do to help the economy of normal people. What about rebuilding New Orleans, about Galvanston, about the people displaced from the hurricanes? What about military benefits? There is more at stake than a bunch of rich people with bruised egos, double talk, and sugar-coated lies.

I don't believe anything Bush, Cheney, Paulson, Graham, or Greenspan have to say, they got us in this mess, let them sell some of their houses, their cars, put in their millions and the millions of their cronies to fix this, not my future grandchildren. Bush calls it a "robust plan to deal with a serious problem." Robust? For Wall Street and unquestioned power to Henry Paulson, yes. There is no blank check for the investment bankers like Paulson that got us in this mess. I know people are employed by this industry, into the millions, that would lose jobs. I want oversight of the Treasury Department, Paulson to step down, a bi-partisan safeguard to watch our money, and the right to see the books, question the spending, and fire anyone who messes it up. They don't get a big check for laying off regular people and squandering our money. A blank check, no way!

Greed. There is a price to pay for it. The payment has to be from the ones who made the mess. It was not the ordinary people who were duped by mortgage brokers that destroyed the economy. The speculators. They need to accept the market punishment. I thought the Republicans didn't like big government, but now they do, hypocrites to me. We are not that stupid.

Ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches anyone?

1 comment:

  1. You thoughts on the intelligence of Barack Obama reminded me of this funny video I saw on You Tube yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojpW-lTn728

    ReplyDelete

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