September 2008


In the words of the woman who could be our next president:

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This economic crisis seems complicated, but the big picture’s really not. It’s really just America maxing out its credit and going bankrupt, isn’t it?

I don’t think there’s any way out of this. I imagine it stems from the fact that 90 percent of people (or so) haven’t seen their incomes rise in the last 10 years, but we’ve been pushed to spend as usual, to prop up the economy.  So we kept spending and spending until the bills started coming due, and then it was, whoops, we can’t pay it. Because we haven’t gotten a raise in 10 years.

So now we’ve basically spent all our future earnings for the next 10 years, and we’re going to have to relearn how to live without credit, because I don’t think it’s coming back. It’s going to be a long, slow climb back into solvency, and by the time we get there America might not be the most powerful country in the world anymore.

As far as the bailout plan goes, it doesn’t sound like a great idea. I mean, how is buying up all the bad debt, and letting those companies going with business as usual while taxpayers drown, how is that any better than taking over the failing banks and selling off their assets? People keep talking about how the alternative is “apocalyptic.” Maybe so, but I need to have what this apocalypse could look like. In what way would it be an apocalypse  for people outside of Wall Street?  Would it be anarchy, blood in the streets? Or just blood on Wall Street and a long recession? I don’t see us getting out of the long recession part of the deal.

I wonder what would have happened if Al Gore had won those 537 votes. Would we still be staring at the next Great Depression? Maybe there would have  been a problem with the mortgage industry. But we might have acted sooner to regulate the market, we might have gotten better wages for the middle class so they wouldn’t have to use their houses as their ATMs, and we might not have piled on massive debt on top of whatever we’ll take on as a result of this disaster.

It’s amazing how quickly you can run a country into the ground if you really set your mind to it.