Let’s Take the Economic Crisis Seriously

Even Sandra, who is a faithful follower of the 24-hour-news channels, is getting frustrated. “I wish they’d quit yapping,” she said yesterday, her hands over her ears.

Me, too.

I don’t care whether Rick Perry used to own stock in a porn-film distributor. I don’t care whether Michele Bachmann knows Elvis Presley’s birthday or what town John Wayne was born in. Or whether she thinks the Founding Fathers abolished slavery.

I would never vote for Michele Bachmann, anyway. So shut up about her, already.

What I care about right now is America’s – make that the world’s – economic future.

And the media are doing a shoddy job of discussing that.

My ears are ringing from Dylan Ratigan’s rants, and I still can’t make sense of the convoluted – and apparently crooked – banking system.

As for the other TV pundits, I have to agree with a guy named Henry M. Banta, who writes in an article on the web:

All we got (on the debt crisis debate) was endless repetition of the claim that the problem resulted from reckless, irresponsible spending by Congress. Day after day we were told that we had a  “spending crisis” resulting in “too many wasteful programs.” Whatever small grain of truth that was in this accusation was totally swamped by the fact that it was utterly misleading, and every reporter who repeated it should have said so.

Read Banta’s article here.

Was it Congress that insisted on sending American troops into Iraq at the (unfunded) cost of trillions of dollars? Is it Congress that insists on keeping American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Not as far as I can tell.

How Congress currently contributes to the economic horror is by blocking every attempt to address the crisis.

And that’s because Republicans control Congress, and a fanatical splinter group controls the Republicans.

But beyond that, there’s a real dilemma confronting the world’s leaders.

President Barack Obama could ease the situation in America – temporarily – by a “jobs program” if he could get Congress to pass it, which I doubt.

But that would not solve his country’s underlying long-term problems.

Some causes are philosophical. Too many Americans believe it’s unfair to ask the wealthy to pay taxes. They seem to subscribe to the bizarre idea that rich folks will give the rest of us jobs if we help them get richer.

Some causes are commercial. Globalization is spreading the wealth, draining American jobs and lowering America’s standard of living while living standards gradually (very gradually) improve in less developed countries.

Some causes are demographic. Aging baby boomers are putting a massive strain on the social safety net, for example. And as the population ages, there are fewer and fewer working-age people to replenish the treasury.

To make matters worse, the working-age people can’t find jobs.  Think of the downward spiral that creates.

So what do the crazies want to do? Lay off government employes and cut government spending on programs that create jobs!

That would, of course, mean more unemployment, fewer paychecks, less tax revenue, and an accelerated downward economic spiral.

Obviously, the first thing America’s – and the world’s – leaders need to do is find a way to create more jobs. That would generate more tax revenue and consumer purchasing, ease the debt crisis and start an upward economic spiral.

Easier said than done, you protest. And you’re right.

Especially since the way things work today, creating jobs in one country inevitably steals jobs from some other country.

Yes, I confess, the problem is too big for my poor little brain.

But I wish someone would start talking about it.

Sensibly.

Maybe, if we all put our heads together, we can figure out a solution.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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