Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hello, All, on this sunny but cool Tuesday.  The wind has died down and the sky is clear.  Hopefully the soil had time to dry out a bit.  I wan to transplant sage, oregano, and orange mint. They are all hardy for this area.  And I should put the spearmint and lavender back on the fence.  Other than that--I still have two large containers and 8 five gallon buckets to get dug out and reconditioned.

This NPR article demonstrates why I am already thoroughly sick of the election year politics.  If Obama made the recession worse, I would argue that he was saddled with programs that came out of the end of the Bush Administration: TARP, the other bank bailouts, the stimulus (supported by both parties), the auto bailout.  And, if the recovery has been slower than everyone would like, I suggest the Repthuglicans look in their mirrors for the source of the 'problem.'  What the Obama Administration have passed after that first year came in spite of their obstruction.  And, I would argue, holding the Democrats to the standard that the economy 'could' have been better if different policies had been enacted (presumably by a Repthuglican president) is self serving and hypocritical and entirely hypothetical.  Don't you just love their rose colored crystal ball?  My crystal ball shows that if those thugs had gotten out of the way and cooperated with the Obama Administration our recovery would have been stronger.  My crystal ball is just as valid as theirs.  Or invalid as the case might be.

However, I doubt either party has any real handle on the economy and forces are gathering (and have been for a while) that may make the arguments between the parties even more inconsequential that they have become.  This article illustrates some of the fundamental problems.  The non-farm payrolls stood at almost the same levels in 2011 as they did in 2001 in spite of a population growth of nearly 30 million.  And the world production of oil has oscillated around the same level for the last 8 years--around 73 million barrels per day.  It is rather hard to grow an economy in the modern age when the population grows but the primary source of energy to run what supports that population doesn't.

And to add a bit to that discussion, John Mauldin on his Outside the Box post presents a guest post with another interesting graph depicting the average family income (adjusted for inflation) which show current income is at the level achieved in 1995.  The authors focus on debt as a major factor, a point I will agree with.  The drag of debt means that economic pie is smaller and that pie has to be divided among more families which means small pieces.  Debt is one part of the problem but so is the fact that oil production, in spite of all of the political hot air expended on the issue, has remained essentially flat over the last 8 years.

The Washington Post has a thoughtful and thought-provoking article on plastic related chemicals in the food supply--not because they are added to food directly but because of the wrapping or containers that touch the food.  A couple of days ago we noticed that the little cardboard containers for half-and-half that used to be coated (inside and out) with wax are now covered in plastic.  We wondered while reading the article what coating is used on the butcher paper our butcher used to wrap our chicken yesterday.  It probably isn't wax any more--probably plastic.  I wrote a week or so ago about my surprise that the lid for the canning jars are coated with plastic that leaches BPA.  The question is how much exposure you can or need to eliminate.  In our modern world, total elimination is probably impossible.  And the article made one very good point--even the most conscientious consumer or producer may not be able to get complete information.  Given the extended supply lines feeding into our economy no one can control everything that feeds into any given product and its packaging.

No comments: