We could be in trouble, folks… but I don’t know why

Apparently, the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger, according to a report out today.    Also, apparently, this is not a great surprise to the people writing the article that I read.  I kind of thought it was just me.  When you spend a great portion of the day with people that are nearly homeless, with their electricity off, with no insurance, no welfare, etc… you hope that they are the dregs of society — the last bastion of poverty, the permanent underclass.  I just assumed it was my bias, not the rest of the country’s reality.

The news has not been good lately. Yes, the banks are stable and the economy is “back from the brink” according to our president. Cash-For-Clunkers worked well.  There is more construction on Connecticut roadways than I remember in a long time. It’s the same way in Massachusetts, so somebody’s working.

But unemployment is getting worse, people aren’t moving, aren’t selling their homes, aren’t buying anything, and still don’t have health care.  If they were supposed to get it through their jobs, forget that. Nobody I knows feels really confident that the recession is over, though individuals like myself have gotten more work and therefore more money.

So what happened? I suspect that we saved the banks, kept the rich afloat and they took the money and ran. CEOs are still getting bonuses, still partying with the rich, still acting like the rich.  Some of them, to be sure, now understand that the rest of us won’t put up with this and the ethos of business is changing.  But enough of them still didn’t get the memo that we’re broke so we’re stuck in the old ways.

That’s what I suspect happened, but I don’t know.  I know the government put all this stimulus money into the economy but it  seems to be having no effect.  I can now hear my friends who hate government (or maybe just this administration)  saying “See, the government can’t fix everything by throwing money at things!. See! See!”.  I’m sure they can’t, but not throwing money at people and organizations that need it isn’t helping either.  I suspect –as I recently said — that there’s something  fundamentally wrong with our economic system.  I don’t know what that is, but if I’m right, I suspect it’ll take a while to fix it. In the meantime, the already poor become more so, and the already rich do the same.

Are there people out there that we’d call “the best and the brightest” about this?  How about “best, brightest, and most moral”? Who are they and can they step forward please?

2 thoughts on “We could be in trouble, folks… but I don’t know why

  1. The original intention of the stimulus was to free up capital in the lending markets, so that sustainable industries could have the cash flow needed to survive. Instead, a huge portion of the money went to “pet projects” (i.e. millions of dollars to the Kennedy museum, which has nothing to do with a sustainable industry), and the banks have not been sufficiently regulated so that they can honor their end of contracts (and are not giving credit where it is needed).

    This crash has been in process since China was granted Most Favored Nation trading status, and will not end until the trade deficit is shored up.

    And we have to end the culture where health insurance is paid for by employers – it should be purchased by individuals, the same way that you buy car insurance and life insurance. (Possibly reimbursed on a pre-tax basis by an employer)

    You are right, we shouldn’t have given the money to banks without better assurance that the money would be handled properly.

    • An open response to Bob:

      I have absolutely no idea if what you are saying is true re: economic policy. Sad, but true. I post it here, because you might be and I think dialog is key.

      I question the use of the Kennedy Library as an example of “pork”, in that it once again blames Democrats for our problems, and I don’t think that’s the case. I know that you’re from Massachusetts, so it may just be a local example. Weapons are pork if you’re Dick Cheney. Oil is pork if you’re a Bush. War is pork if you’re an investor in armaments. Not that the Kennedy Library isn’t, but let’s put in context. About employers and health insurance — how did that culture get started? I assume because companies decided to, rather than workers demanded it, but what do I know? In any case, I don’t think we need more health insurance, we need more health care, that actually works for everybody, including the poor. However that happens, I’m for it.

      Also, I find it fascinating that you use the word “can” re: honoring their end of the contracts. If you have a contract, you are supposed to honor it, because you said you would, not because you were made to. Banks, more than anybody, should know this, because it’s what they tell us all the time. When collectors call, the first thing they say is “but you have a contract and you agreed to pay X”. It’s only right that banks do the same.

      Re: money to the banks — for once I agree with the Republicans in the House, who “didn’t know better” but originally refused to bail out the banks. (See, it’s possible ). It never occurred to me that, after we saved the banks, that they wouldn’t act more responsibly. I believe that if you’ve made a mistake, you own up to it, and change so it doesn’t happen again. Oh, well. There’s a reason they call them “Robber Barons”.

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