My Friend Doug Gibson has an excellent blog post (here!) on this very blog looking at a question someone asked President Obama at a recent town hall, and looking at his response.
Rather than answer his blog on his blog, I figured I’d do it this way — a debate? Or at least another way of looking at the issue.
I love stories like this –the media loves to cover people who are essentially asking Obama “It’s been two whole years — Why isn’t the economy fixed yet?” It’s a national meme — some people are even starting to think it’s a real issue. In this clip, the woman even asks if hot dogs and beans are the new reality?
But she doesn’t want to hear the answers: Yes hot dogs and beans are, and what’s wrong with hot dogs and beans anyway? We have them at my house very regularly. I soak my own beans, too, because canned are too expensive.
More the the point, beans and dogs are the new reality because the economy was really “broken” back in 2000 or even before when we started the Ponzi scheme otherwise known as a housing market based on speculation, not value. The Tech market implosion at the end of the Clinton Administration was a warning if we’d had the wit to see it as such, sort of a minor league demonstration game before the Yankees and Mets had at it. Find the roots of that madness, you find the source.
Not blaming Bush or Clinton here — they rode the horse the same as the rest of us. Would have been a fool not to. Belief in fantasy balanced Clinton’s budget, funded Bush’s tax cuts, made them both look good. We are all guilty. We all thought the Golden Goose was the new reality. When the market doubled the value of my 401K in two years I said “way, cool!”
I didn’t borrow against it, however. I’m not that dumb. When housing values took off I paid off my mortgage and sat tight, waiting for the crash, and it came.
The economy that we enjoyed through much of the Bush administration was based on a lie – the lie that houses can double in value, and then double again while wages stagnate and houses will still not go down in value. There are a lot of complications involved, but that’s the bottom line and from it all else came.
That massive huge balloon of our economy is gone. We’re back to reality, and all the millions of jobs that depended on that balloon to exist are gone as well. The money that paid for those jobs was a promise based on a fantasy.
I don’t know anyone who could revive an economy that has suffered something like that in two years. The Republican idea of tax cuts would still be waiting for the first effects to take hold because businesses wait to see actual money from tax law changes before they act. Everything takes time. Two years is nothing.
People asking “Why isn’t it fixed yet?” are acting like spoiled babies. They want it fixed now, not tomorrow, and they especially don’t want to have to suffer in the meantime. Beans and hot dogs? Be glad you have those, lady.
Someone else in this same appearance asked Obama what happened to the American Dream?
Another spoiled baby question. The American Dream is the opportunity to get off your lazy ass and do for yourself, not have a good life handed to you.
People whining why doesn’t the government find them a job or provide them with the American Dream are missing the essential point of that — dreams don’t always come true, but the American Dream, especially, was one of opportunity and doing for yourself but with no guarantees. Over the last 20 years or so we got used to the idea that the American Dream somehow involved that Golden Goose — a house that doubled in value in 5 years, guaranteed, or a tech stock (Iomega anyone?) that quintupled overnight.
But those things aren’t real. They never were and, we can only hope, won’t come around again.
So why is everyone blaming Obama? Do they expect him to seize American companies that are sending jobs overseas and force them to keep their jobs here? Do they expect him to make the housing market turn into a giant piggy bank again? Hell, he did sort of take over GM to save jobs, and all he’s gotten for that is a load of grief from people claiming it’s socialism to save jobs that way, but then those same people ask why hasn’t he produced any jobs yet? The guy can’t win.
There’s plenty of opportunity out there — if you are willing to work. I see Hispanic guys manning taco stands out front of the Municipal Building every day, rain or shine, working for that dream. Are Anglos running any of those stands?
No. The Washington Post runs stories (click!) featuring people whining because declining interest rates and the housing/market crash mean they can’t retire at 50 like they hoped to. 50! They wanted to have mommy and daddy pay the bills for 20 years, work 30 years or so and then have the rest of their life, another 40 years or more, taken care of for them. Not a bad deal, live 90, work 30, get 60 years free.
Willing to work?
From this month’s Harper’s Index — number of Americans who signed up since June 10 for the “Take Our Jobs” campaign by the United Farm Workers that asked legal Americans to do farm work — 14.
As in 10 plus 4.
There’s your American dream — Sitting on its ass at home whining about Obama while farm jobs go begging.
ps — I note that the NYTimes has an excellent “Room for Debate” discussion among a number of financial experts on this very topic here (click) They all say pretty much what I do — the economy has changed in very fundimental ways and the economy we thought we had in the 2000s will never, ever, return.