Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good Morning, All.  Haven't had much to say.  Wild fires are still burning in Australia.  The death toll has climbed to the point to where our news/entertainment media can take note.  Close to 200 (maybe over by the time the evening news comes on tonight.)  The Stimulus Bill still has to get through the Senate which now appears likely since they voted to stop any filibuster attempt by the disgruntled Republicans who won't support any package no matter how light weight or skewed to their particular pets.  Winter has finally loosened its grip here.  We have had above normal temps for almost a week.  Today should be over 60 degrees and sunny.

Something that has been in the back of my very suspicious mind has been very nicely expressed by Robert Reich in his blog.  Why would the Republicans refuse to support this package?  After all any time Bush asked for outrageous spending and tax cuts that fueled the deficit, they happily complied.  Perhaps because they hope to prolong the suffering of their constituents so they can make a killing in the mid-term elections?  By the way, I wonder how many of those 20k jobs Toyota (I think it was) is cutting will be in this country.  I wonder how that makes the Senator from Alabama (aka, Toyota/Honda depending on the commentator) feel.

I also notice that some of those Senators fancy themselves historians.  They quoted Republican Senators from 1938-9 who lambasted Roosevelt because they claimed that, after all of the massive government spending and the debt run up, his programs had simply not worked.  It is wonderful what you can 'prove' if you choose the right point in time.  The economy had been slowly improving after a very low trough in 1933-4, when the government (due to a number of factors including Roosevelt's own preference for more modest government spending and the agitation by hardline conservatives) cut back on spending.  That drove the economy back into deeper depression.  If government spending had been maintained would the economy have continued to improve?  No one knows.  My dad always said that figures don't lie but liars can figure.  I say historical precedent can prove any point you want to make if you choose the right point in time and ignore any evidence to the contrary.

Jim Kunstler at Clusterfucknation also expresses some of my thoughts about the economy, the stimulus and the state of our nation generally.  He says that all of the debate on the stimulus and the economy suffers from one very basic problem--lack of imagination.  On the one hand, massive debt, and the very creative investment instruments built on it, precipitated the economic meltdown.  On the other, one of the major thrusts of the financial bailout has been to 'get credit flowing again.'  The assumption is that if we can get the credit system back to what it was a couple of years ago everything will be fine.  No one questions the place of credit in our economy.  No one has the imagination to question it.  If you consider every other aspect of our economic rescue packages you see the same tendency.  On the one hand we must create jobs.  On the other, no one questions what kind of jobs they will be and what kind of life they will support.  All the years good paying jobs were being shipped overseas we were assured that new jobs would be opening up.  No one questioned what kind of jobs, doing what exactly, and paying what.  So we wound up with an economy generating low wage and/or  part time jobs by the bushel full.  No one ever paid any attention to the fact that the economy ran on debt while wages stagnated.  An old saying holds that generals are always preparing and planning for the last war.  The same holds for economists and politicians--they are always trying to recreate the past.  Neither take imagination at all.

Well, that is enough for today.  I have to repair the rug I made a bit ago.  The rug itself is fine but I have to re-attach the backing.  I didn't stitch it on as well I thought I had.  Then I have to attach the backing to the second rug I just finished.  Besides it is also shopping day for the week. 

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