Are these the worst of times, the worst of times?

November 14, 2010 by barbara

by LeftyMN

(barbara says: LeftyMN and I go back and forth sometimes about the whichness of what in this country. He is not optimistic about righting our economy, especially in the hands of the beverage drinkers whose names cannot be spoken. On the heels of an e-conversation about the economy mostly, he had this to say:)

I laughed when I saw Ron Paul was taking over that committee (the Financial Services subcommittee on domestic monetary policy and technology)….

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a longtime Fed critic who has called for auditing the central bank’s books, is in line to take over the Financial Services subcommittee on domestic monetary policy and technology, which has jurisdiction over the Fed.

“I will approach that committee like no one has ever approached it because we’re living in times like no one has ever seen,” Paul vowed in a recent interview with CNBC.

(barbara note: Gaaa! There's a savage shot across the bow that kind of sizzles the gizzard, eh?) Keep reading.

Also I have my new grim economic outlook being worked on… for the life of me, beyond taxes not going up in fed and state (good for people with money, bad overall for the deficits and programs that will seriously be needed), I don’t see any upside economically going forward.

Housing: Home prices on national average have fallen from their peak in 2006 by as much as they did in the Great Depression. Most housing industry economists expect it to fall another 5% at least for the greatest fall in over 125 years. The main reason is that foreclosures are increasing… and 35% of all homeowners with mortgages are underwater, with prices going further down by early 2012; the housing analysts say that number will be 50%. Inventory increases and more homeowners cannot move as they are prisoners in their equity-less homes.

Austerity in Europe: bad for growth and consumption, not to mention that it will exacerbate social tensions and political crises.

Debt crisis in Europe: see Ireland, Greece Portugal, Italy, Spain.…

Consumption: is 50% of most people’s expenses. With fear of unemployment and low home equity, people will not be spending much on unnecessary things.

Unemployment: unlikely to improve and could get worse but most likely stays between 9-10% (not sure I sent you the rate or employment data yesterday, but the fear is that more people in the 50+ age group will remain in the workforce, thereby making the creation of more jobs than currently required to keep employment rates up).

State/County/Local cuts in spending and employment: see unemployment and consumption above.

Politics: while some people think a divided government will cause some movement, with the exception of tax policy at the federal level, I see little hope for any legislation or policies that will actually help the economy grow. Cutting budgets is non-stimulative. Actual cutting will probably not be much as Repugs really have no intention to cut what is truly making the deficit high. And no need to tell you what that is. There will be no stimulus with this Congress. Any actual good policy will die due to lack of a united Repug caucus…the radicals will take over the place of the Dem Blue Dogs and block things. At the same time, most truly transformative legislation will die at the hands of Lord Filibuster in the Senate where all good legislation goes to die

Have I mentioned trade protectionism, the dollar, etc.? That is another topic, but for the USA the best thing that could happen and that Bernanke is pushing is weakening of the dollar. Unfortunately, as the recent G-20 summit shows, most of the rest of the world doesn’t think that is so good for them…particularly China and the emerging economies that are really keeping the world economy alive (India, Brazil, Russia, SE Asia)…

I just cannot see any silver lining at this time. But I think the first quarter of 2011 will be very interesting and crucial for the rest of 2011 economically.

My son is graduating in December. He has a job offer, and interviews with two major companies. We are very thankful that he looks to get a job…very thankful.


Posted in


Anon 1 (not verified) | November 15, 2010 - 6:40am

So what you are basically saying is that there is, and has been, no confidence in the Obama administration or this Congress. The American people wholeheartedly agree with you on that.

Too much time was spent by this group blaming others, which was used to try to cover their own incompetence. Too much time was spent implementing policy that the American people do not want and will replace.

The American people now see the consequences of electing someone based on catchy, juvenile phrases and a phony record.

It is easier to win an election than it is to lead.

America regrets.


barbara | November 15, 2010 - 5:12pm

It is easier to win an election than it is to lead.

Amen to that. George W. Bush's "autobiography" reminds us of that in stark and terrifying terms.


Anon 1 (not verified) | November 15, 2010 - 7:07pm

Back to George again are you?

That drivel doesn't work anymore, it really never did, but I am quite sure you already know that.


Leif Hagen (not verified) | November 16, 2010 - 4:54pm

Hi Barb -
Fun to visit with you today and share a blogging discussion. Interesting to look through your blog; I'm always looking for new ideas.
Kind regards from the "Eagan Daily Photo blogger," a local media person of interest
: - )


barbara | November 17, 2010 - 9:41pm

Dear LMPI,

Thanks for stopping by. I am now cruising through Eagan Daily Photo. What a cool idea! Will you be at the SPCO concert tomorrow night in AV?


susan | November 18, 2010 - 1:40am

Leave it to good old anon to snap me back to writing.

The reason many on the left are disappointed in the Obama administration is that they did no blaming at all.

We were hoping for a full investigation into Cheney's deceitful campaign to Iraq, for exposure of the arrogance and incompetence of Donald Rumsfeld in waging two wars on borrowed money, for a full accounting of the cost of those wars and where the money and weapons have gone, for accountability for the lies about Abu Ghraib and torture, and more. And that's just on the war side of things -- those bloody and costly blunders we barely talk about any more. Certainly not those railing against the "out of control" spending by this administration who didn't seem to notice either the cost of the Iraq boondoggle or the bloating of the government when they controlled it.

We were hoping for a thorough review of the banking and other financial institutions' arrogance and incompetence that led to the collapse of our economy, and for a long look at where the surplus that Bush inherited went, not to mention the millions of jobs.

We were hoping for our next president to lead with intelligence and dignity, and to overcome the partisan posturing in congress that trumps sound policy.

And it's that last part -- overcoming partisan posturing -- that dashed our hopes. Believing that it was more important to heal the country (and the collapsed economy) than review the disastrous Bush years, Obama kept waving that olive branch over the calcified Republicans until it became a white flag of surrender. Now we know that was a naive notion, that the Republicans -- who had control for eight years and laughably blame Obama for the last 22 months -- were interested only in keeping Obama from succeeding, even if it means keeping America from succeeding as well.

At times I'm disappointed in my president, but I'm far more disappointed in my country.

You have a pathetically short, or very selective memory, Anon. Or you're just toying with us with your nonsense.


Anon 1 (not verified) | November 18, 2010 - 11:00am

Mercy..such trail of unrealized hopes and dreams...and when you had all the tools and resources at your disposal...and it didn't happen!! I wonder why..?

Bet ya that makes it a little hard to get out of bed in the morning with that old bounce in your step. There is hope though..I do hear that the congress fellow from California named Issa is planning some investigations. Could be that he will include a few of your concerns.

Never gave "toying" with you any thought.....Sorry.


barbara | November 18, 2010 - 6:26pm

I think I now understand why the GOP stomped on W's book release prior to the election.

The only thing more dangerous than run-amok hubris is run-amok hubris in someone not particularly bright. He has indicted himself and others. Beautiful!

Welcome back, Susan. In this world of the vuvuzelic radical right, your reasoned voice is refreshing. Also, you think. Did you get a permit for that?