As we close the books on October 2011, there are many media outlets who are broadcasting the positive month for the U.S. Stock Market and a meager 2.5% GDP growth as if the Allies liberated Europe on V-E Day.
Not so fast.
The Dow is the wrong metric to judge our collective fiscal health, and when any news reader takes to the airwaves to celebrate those numbers – he/she hopelessly understates the weakness of the American economy. Our pending collapse is structural and systemic. No doubt, putting people back to work or seeing a rise in blue chip holdings is important, but on a macro-level, our leaders keep ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room and it is increasingly insulting.
“It’s the debt, stupid.”
Adopting a version of President’s Clinton’s old campaign slogan is appropriate. Unless we fundamentally shift away from a broken banking system and reckless government spending, we will continue to witness the exodus of companies and brain power from America’s shores. Families and firms simply cannot compete fairly here especially when our institutions keep failing us.
The cost of living, the lack of credit, and plummeting home values are combining to make ghost towns out of many main streets across Massachusetts. For young and old alike, married with kids or single adults, who happen to have the means and mobility, they simply wait to collect their pensions, finish their schooling or coveted job training (often on the taxpayer’s dime), then they bolt this state for greener pastures.
Nationwide, the Chinese and other growing nations are turning that practice into an art form.
For the rest of us unable to move on a dime, ignore our immigration status or return to Asia or South America, it’s Educational and Economic Darwinism. And, what is increasingly ironic is that both the Tea Party and some with Occupy Wall Street are observing many of the same injustices originating from Washington and Beacon Hill. Specifically, only select individuals and politically connected institutions have been truly bailed out:
1. The CEOs and CFOs at Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, etc.
2. The CEOs and Private Investors of failed, green start-up companies, like Evergreen Solar or Solyndra, who have received unlimited millions of dollars from this President to try and manipulate consumer behavior in emerging, clean energy markets not yet commercially viable.
In the meantime, the Federal Reserve, the 44th President of the United States and the Congress have NOT yet performed their one, fundamental duty to the American people that would begin the process of healing our country from the Great Depression of 2008:
Tell us the truth.
And, the truth is there may have to be another massive North American Rescue Plan akin to what the European Union finally came to terms with in the Greece debt crisis last week. Call it an “Era of Fiscal Austerity” irrespective of volatile market indexes or unemployment rates, led by national debt forgiveness, substantial banking restructuring and large scale spending reform.
What is even more infuriating is that we have wasted three years getting to the business of climbing out of the hole. An example: despite President Obama’s latest road show touting new, proposals for struggling homeowners (which are only limited to FHA homeowners who are lucky enough to be current on their upside down mortgages), here is the truth:
Under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of 2008, according to Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner, in recent congressional testimony, only 2 Billion out of 700 Billion (that is .3 of one percent) handed over to the Big Banks three years ago has actually been spent on homeowner loan modifications! The Secretary used the phrase “underperforming” which even angered Democratic House members. He also conceded that under the toothless law, the banks are not compelled to help a single U.S. homeowner in distress. The programs in TARP widely marketed as a panacea are mostly voluntary and ripe with fraud and incompetence.
If enough citizens and small businesses across America heard that startling, TARP statistic from Brian Williams or Wolf Blitzer or Greta Van Sustern, it might bring the Right and the Left to a unity breakfast of biblical proportions! They would emerge from such a meeting with hopefully the following joint statement:
“Isn’t it time for a TARP II for both the American worker and Main Street, small business owner? Our collective landlords, the Chinese are lecturing us about our national debt and the Russians are giving us rides to space. Mr. President, instead of ‘pass this bill, right now,’ let’s stop America’s decline right now.”
Clearly, it’s time to level with the American people before it is too late. Perhaps call in George Bush 41 and Bill Clinton for a “fireside chat” like Franklin Roosevelt’s famous radio messages in the 1930s?
Above anything else, I would like someone in a position of authority or elected office to be truthful with me and give it to me straight.