Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Random observations on the global collapse, Bush gives a pep talk, and a contest: “Name This Crisis.”

with 9 comments

Well, stock markets around the world continue to tank, as well as other bad economic signs. No one really knows what is going on, in fact it’s amusing watching the experts squirm (the honest ones) or continue to spout BS (The BS ones.) Even in stable times expert prediction about the future is mostly crap, in times like these all the crystal balls are cloudy and cracked. Personally, I am trying to step back and take an historical view on all this, and maybe ease my mind a bit. Historically  speaking, troubled times can last weeks, months, years, decades…so I’m not sure what the best personal course of action is, but am pretty sure that being highly anxious isn’t going to help. And I’m pretty anxious, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been impacted by the credit crunch and the crash (it’s officially a stock market crash now.) In any event, a few random observations and thoughts.

I just watched the president’s statement on the economy. I was not re-assured. He blamed the whole problem on the mortgage meltdown, which is an almost insulting simplification of the problem. He went on to say that his administration has a comprehensive plan to fix the economy. I’m sorry, but the Bush administration has shown an almost complete disdain for comprehensive plans of any sort, if anything they are one of the worst administrations in history when it comes to planning. His plan basically consists of attacking the symptoms of the problem by throwing money at them, and reassuring Americans that the economy is basically healthy and that by working with other world leaders we would get through this. The economy is not basically healthy, and Bush couldn’t work with other leaders if he tried.  So basically he gave an enthusiastic pep talk, but didn’t say anything of substance.

I don’t think there’s gonna be a quick fix, in fact so far it seems to be a series of increasingly expensive unsuccessful quick fixes. Remember the economic stimulus program this spring where they sent everyone in America a check? It was supposed to avert or minimize a recession. It only cost $150 billion, controversial at the time, seems almost quaint now. Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m thinking that this economic thing is a problem that throwing increasingly larger piles of money at is not going to fix.

In a related I notice there’s been an effort to blame the economic crisis on Clinton and the Democrats, primary by sending around this 1999 article from the New York Times. Its about how lending standards were lowered at the behest of the Clinton administration to allow more minorities to purchase houses. It’s very prophetic in that it makes the prediction that this lowering of standards will eventually lead to problems similar to the Savings and Loan crisis of the eighties.

So it’s true enough, but the implication is often made, or even overtly stated…that if we hadn’t loaned all this money to poor niggers who didn’t qualify for loans, why we wouldn’t be in this problem. Wrong on pretty much all counts. The mortgage meltdown may have been the catalyst for this crisis, but it most certainly wasn’t the cause of it. And they didn’t just lower standards for minorities, they lowered standards for everyone. In fact the demographics for bad loans seem to mirror the country’s makeup pretty closely, so why don’t we just blame poor people in general? Fortunately I’m noticing that partisan attacks are sticking even less and less these days. Most Americans are beginning to suspect the truth, that both parties have been selling out the middle class for decades.

In the “this is getting scary now” category, the administration most definitely has suggested that martial law is on the table. With the recent stationing of a US army brigade in the USA ostensibly to aid the police in times of crisis, some are even worried about the possibility of fascism in the USA. While Naomi Wolf has made a career out of “crying fascism,” she’s kind of like a reverse Ann Coulter, I’m beginning to worry that she may be onto something. While on first pass a single brigade is obviously not going to be able to police the USA, we do have more policemen per capita than any other nation on Earth. So if the police are called out to control the streets…a few thousand soldiers in key  areas would both improve police morale, increase the appearance of legitimacy, and discourage resistance. I don’t think there’s any chance of people rioting n the streets soon, but if the government is worried about the possibility, so should we.

Lastly, right now we don’t even know what to call this mess.  It’s really frustrating. It’s clearly gone past a mortgage meltdown, credit crunch, or stock market crash. So in the spirit of clarification, not to mention seeking lasting fame, I am announcing a contest: What should we call the current economic crisis? Please leave your suggestions below, if we get enough I will pick the best four and we can have a vote. That way at least my readers will have participated in at least one fair election this fall.

Have a great weekend everyone!

(The above image of “The Potato Eaters” by Vincent Van Gogh is public domain under US copyright law, being a photographic reproduction of an image created before 1928. I chose it because it may very well reflect the coming had times, and my potatoes are up and growing nicely. I think a lot of people will be planting gardens next spring, and I ain’t talking daffodils.)

Written by unitedcats

October 10, 2008 at 9:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

9 Responses

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  1. Call it what it is: a recession. Doug, we’ve been through this before. Remember 1987? Remember the early 1990s? Right. And before you and I pass from this earth, we’ll see another one after this one.

    This whole mess is a prime example of lemmingthink. The sheep are cashing out when they should be RIDING it out.

    As for the catalyst, some of us were smart enough not to let materialism run away with us and attempt to buy more house than we could afford. Some of us were smart enough not to be exploited by greedy Wall Street bastards.

    As far as I’m concerned, this country is reaping what it has sown. Now maybe some of the slaves to bling will get a giant clue about what is and what is not important.

    Me? Never had a lot of money, never will, and always knew that. I’ll die working, and now so will a lot of other people. Time for Americans to get over it: They had it coming.

    Terri

    October 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm

  2. I’m pretty sure this is heading into something much worse than a recession, I’ve lived through lots of recessions in my life and there’s been nothing remotely like this before.

    Agree though, collectively and individually we have been living beyond our means for decades…sooner or later it was going to be time to pay the piper.

    unitedcats

    October 10, 2008 at 12:52 pm

  3. Well ‘W’ still says we ‘might’ have a recession.

    Is there any wonder that confidence of the public is lost?

    Finally people have ‘gotten it’ themselves and realize that W and the government are clowns. They couldn’t save a cat from a tree, much less ‘fix’ the economy. First thing they would do would be to make a bill for a ladder, but after it came out of congress the ladder would be solid gold with diamond inlay, but only be 4 feet high , and cost a trillion dollars LOL !

    ET

    October 11, 2008 at 8:06 am

  4. The spin on the mortgage crisis is particularly interesting – somehow Fannie/Freddie get mixed in with subprime. Nevermind that they were the *only* mortgage org not making the crazy no-doc jumbo loans that are the biggest part of the problem.

    al2o3cr

    October 11, 2008 at 10:11 am

  5. Let’s see…

    Just brainstorming here…

    “The Blunder Years” (what rosy epithet would Fred Savage pen?)

    “The Days of Swine and Roses” (the taxpayers forced to send roses to the swine who got us here)

    I’ll try to think up some more.

    P.S. ET, love your ladder analogy. You forgot to mention that the tree in question is halfway around the world in a hostile country. Naturally we have to invade kitty’s homeland, send thousands of ladder makers to build a factory which never gets finished, all the while pouring billions of dollars into a special ladder fund that can never really be deeply examined for fear of implicating half our leadership on charges of corruption. Voila!

    Andrew

    October 11, 2008 at 11:16 am

  6. Let’s call it the oh Financial Usury Crisis of Kleptomania. I think both democrats and republicans had a had in this. There is just too much debt and interest rates were too low to match the risk.

    Mike

    October 13, 2008 at 1:39 pm

  7. What should we call the current economic crisis?

    The rest of the world realizing if the US economy collapses they’ll lose a huge trading partner, they won’t have F-35’s, that piracy is rampant in Indonesia, that fuel will be both unprotected and (in the case of, e.g., Iran and Venezuela) hit $10/gal in record time.

    It’s one thing to throw stones at the US for being a warmongering hegemony; it’s entirely another to cope with the giant bubble it would leave behind.

    Alex J. Avriette

    October 13, 2008 at 2:04 pm

  8. How about :

    “The Great Slowdown”

    -W

    ET

    October 15, 2008 at 5:34 am

  9. This is no wonder for me to understand its late meltdown.

    caravan verzekering

    February 24, 2009 at 12:58 am


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