Monday, October 06, 2008

Economic Meltdown

A quick note to those who wished me well during yesterday's chore of getting the front flower bed ship shape for winter. It looks much better but it was an all day ordeal. And I am still trying to dislodge eucalyptus mulch from my shoes.

As for what we're experiencing now, I don't know how else to say it. We are in a recession. We will stay in a recession for several years. The recession will probably get worse. Though this might not be a particularly popular notion, a) sustained economic health is no guarantee of its permanence and b) all systems derived by human hands are transitory and thus prone to fail. I think at times we believe that it is our post World War II birthright as Americans to live a charmed existence with no bumps, bruises, or turbulence along the way. It has been through sheer luck alone that we've lived here in Magic America with a minimum of jostling.

In observing the roller-coaster ride of the stock market over the past few weeks, I was reminded of the way the market performed directly before the Great Crash. Stocks zigzagged up and down dramatically from day to day until finally, eventually plunging downward, erasing the gains of a year in one trading session. During the preceding two years, the market had hit record highs, stimulated by optimism, easy credit, and speculators' manipulations. Sound familiar? You'd think that by itself would have fixed the problem but although the American people may have a short memory, greed apparently has a shorter one than that.

I'm not anticipating a crisis that dire but I am expecting what some will generously refer to as "a correction". Is this the end of the United States as we know it? No. But it is also something that's been a long time coming, something we were due for, statistically speaking. Gnash your teeth and let your righteous indignation fly, but so long as maximum material gain fuels business, events such as these will happen again. I just hope we're much wiser then and have better safeguards in place.

When the Bonus Marchers battled police in the streets of Washington D.C. shortly before the election of 1932, the needless police violence and resulting outrage among the American People led Democratic nominee for President Franklin D. Roosevelt to observe, "Well, this will elect me." It most certainly did, since FDR captured a landslide in the popular vote, picking up all but 59 votes in the Electoral College as well. Until that point, the race had been reasonably close. From that point onward, FDR's lead swelled to massive proportions.

The longer the focus stays on the floundering economy, the better the chances are Barack Obama will win election in a month's time. It's a regrettable way to have to win an election, but we'll certainly take it. One thing is clear, Senator Obama if he is to become President Obama will have his work cut out for him. By the time January rolls around, we might need, yet again, one hundred days of dramatic reforms.

1 comment:

brooke sea said...

I totally agree. We shall be in recession for the foreseeable future...and it depresses me to no end...