Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Odd New Year

Things do not seem to be working out quite as badly as the worst had predicted for 2011, yet things do not seem to be anywhere near as good as the rosy predictions of our leaders would seem to indicate. Everything seems to be a dichotomy. Consider the Stock market and we find the Dow Jones Industrial Average almost all the way back to 2008 levels, around 12,000 which looks brilliant for people holding stocks. However the fact that marekt insiders are selling at a proportion to byers in the area of 2,800 to one could be considered an indicator that things are not as keen as they might appear to be.

Unemployment is officially under ten percent and jobs are being created we are told. Yet the unofficial rate is closer to 22% a figure that beggars belief. One in seven Americans is on food stamps. It seems obvious that the country will need to create many many more jobs in order to absorb new job seekers, never mind deal with the pool of already out of work statistics. So how good is the employment situation? Not nearly as good as our leaders want us to believe.

China makes noises about wanting to take the world off the dollar standard and even though this inevitable transition away from the dollar deserves discussion, no one take sup the subject. It is interesting to note that the Chinese leadership said nothing about making their own currency the new world standard. If the wordl does come off the dollar the cost of borrowing in the US will go up, and with all the debt the US holds interest payments will suck up more and more Federal budget dollars.

Meanwhile Republicans in Congress want to abolish Social Security and Medicare making life even harder for those of us at the bottom of the economic heap. While those at the top continue down the path of profligacy and socialism for the wealthy. And they get away with it. There is no revolution in sight. No revolt even at the cutting and paring of civic life across the United States. We hear stories of street lights going out, cops losing jobs, fewer trash collections and libraries under threat of closure. No one seems to mind collectively.
It seems as though the national dialogue has fallen apart, politicians are told not to raise taxes, so they don't under threat of being fired, corporations claim to be far more efficient than government, though when offered to prove it by competing directly they demand special protections ( no Public Option in the health insurance debate, for instance), and the people see no irony in the continuing failure of the private sector to hire people even as government jobs come under threat.

2011 is not likely to be much of a year rto advance the national debate. Whether this is the year we plunge off the cliff of insolvency, or if this is just another year of political harangues and nothing to show for them. 2011 is going to be one more year in which actual economic improvement is going to be an illusion, just like all the other improvements touted as a recovery.

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