Friday, January 29, 2010

Seven Worrisome Things

As part of its slow death spiral, the Washington Post dumped one of its more able reporters, Dan Froomkin. Fortunately he landed at place which can use his talents even better, The Huffington Post, where he is now Washington Bureau Chief. Last week he wrote this piece which succinctly summarizes the continuing and serious economic dangers still lurking. The theme of so many economists today is that this is not an ordinary recession. Rather, it is the culmination of years of economic deterioration and denial, compounded by financial malfeasance and incompetence.

“7 Things About the Economy Everyone Should Be Worried About” is just what it says—and “everyone” should include our elected officials in Washington. Economic stagnation, or worse, is now a reality for the majority of American households. The reasons are not yet clear but globalization and our dependence on foreign oil are certainly major factors. The missed element in this, however, is that not everyone is sharing in our economic flat-lining. The rich and very rich have managed to continue to prosper and Washington policies have played a direct role in enabling them to do so.

This, for me (and for many others), has been the biggest disappointment with President Obama. He doesn’t get it and, despite his rhetoric, is enacting policies guaranteed to continue this inequality. His failure to aggressively rein in the big banks is one example. His nonsensical concern with the deficit in the midst of the country’s worst recession since the Depression is another. Surrounded as he is by advisors who are almost all products of Wall Street, this isn’t really a surprise. Perhaps the surprise is that we didn’t see it coming.

Read Froomkin’s article and learn about these “7 Things:”

No. 1: The middle class may never be the same again
No. 2: The recovery could take a really long time
No. 3: The recovery could only be temporary
No. 4: Then what? This time, we don't have the tools to get out of a recession
No. 5: The ‘very serious' people in Washington are still obsessed about the deficit
No. 6: Whatever is making the stock market go up could go away
No. 7: The hugely irresponsible financial sector remains unchastened

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