Comments: Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime?

It's not really going to be a huge surprise to most people, I think. "Economic Indicators" aren't coming close to measuring the sense of concern and impending doom which I seem to see from a lot of quarters. And repeated reassurances that the current situation is "temporary" have become a drone to which nobody listens unless they have a fiscal stake in propping up the current administration.

The economy runs on consumers: everything else is a rounding error. Some costs are fairly fixed for us -- utilities, gasoline -- but the profit margin of the world is in other stuff and everybody is holding on to their money (or smokin' it away in the tank) at the moment instead of living la vida shoppa.

Posted by Ahistoricality at July 2, 2008 08:07 AM

"The rebate isn't the only little Dutch boy thrown headlong at the dike"


Posted by Bengt O. at July 2, 2008 08:33 AM

I'm thinking, Ahistoricality, that it will be a surprise to the approximately 1/4 of the oft-surveyed population who stubbornly persist in thinking that things aren't that bad, that the economy improves under a Republican administration, and that The Worst President Ever and his advisors and associates actually know what they're doing.

I find that it's educational to balance my reading of leftish news outlets and websites with forays into the rightwingnut side of the world. There are plenty of people who are looking at each economic stumble as isolated incidents and who either refuse, or aren't smart enough, to see the overall pattern developing.

Posted by Anne at July 3, 2008 09:13 AM

I'm not sure what you're asking, Bengt

Are you unfamiliar with the Hans Brinker story of the little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the leaking dike to stop the water, or not sure what it means in this context?

Posted by Anne at July 3, 2008 09:15 AM

I am only vaguely familiar with this story but I find the metaphor strange. Was the boy really "thrown headlong at the dike"? Who threw him? Was throwing boys really an optimal strategy in the situation in question?

Anyhow, this has nothing to do with the issue at hand. The US economic policy is not very good. Too much reliance on monetary policy (which is counter-productive in the present situation) and too little and ill-considered fiscal policy. Not that matters are better in Europe with the increasing reliance on the ECB and any alternatives, for instance as proposed by the French President, are rejected out of hand by neo-liberal/neo-conservative economists and finance ministers as an "illusion de grandeur."

Posted by Bengt O. at July 3, 2008 10:44 AM

Well, they mixed the metaphor thoroughly., yes. :) But I'm not responsible for their poor writing.

I agree that the US economic policy is bad. Too much reliance on quick fixes, too much wishful thinking, and a lack of courage around taking the hard, necessary steps to put our country back on a solid foundation.

The current administration prefers to mess around with monetary policy in a desperate attempt to find a quick cure. They simply don't have the intelligence to put together a sensible, long-term fiscal policy of any kind.

And I'm not just randomly dissing Republicans, either. The current administration is composed largely of extremists, none of whom seem to have the necessary objectivity.

But I'll spare you my rant on the topic. :)

Posted by Anne at July 8, 2008 03:14 PM