Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Party's Over

By Alan Caruba

Gray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It's not your style;
You'll look so good that you'll be glad
Ya' decide to smile!

What, may I ask, is there to smile about in an America whose economy is in decline along with many other aspects of life in our nation?

I have been thinking lately about some of the nasty history I have lived through. The difference was that from the end of World War Two until the dawn of the 21st century, the nation was a superpower backed up by a super economy. That was then, this is now.

The party is over.

Americans need to understand what the problems are and what must be done to turn around an economy that is rapidly losing momentum to nations like China and India. We must have new jobs and lots of them. Instead, we are bleeding jobs and government at the federal and state level must take much of the blame.

We have been through bad times before. Many of my readers are too young to remember President Nixon’s Watergate scandal that began with a break-in at the Democratic headquarters on June 17, 1972 and ended with Nixon’s resignation on August 8, 1974. You had to have been there to know what it was like to live through two years of slow revelations regarding the role of the president and many of those around him. It was a national agony.

That wasn’t the worst of it. Watergate transpired against the background of the Vietnam War that had escalated under Lyndon B. Johnson who, in turn, had become president when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Anyone who has ever lived through a assassination never wants to live through another. So the war raged on with no end in sight and Americans marched, and marched, and marched against it. I was one of them.

Those were not happy times, but then, in response to the Nixon debacle, we elected the biggest dufus to ever hold the office until the 2008 elections and that was Jimmy Carter. As president, he was utterly clueless. The Iranian Islamic revolution occurred on his watch along with an energy crisis. As just one example, it was Jimmy who was the first to put solar panels on the roof of the White House and guess who is re-installing them again? The latest dufus.

Economists cite 47 recessions since 1790 and all were driven by bad governmental regulatory policies. And, no, we have learned nothing from this because the latest one repeats all the errors of the Great Depression; mindless government spending, even more regulation of Wall Street, and the failure to phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

After World War II ended in 1945, the U.S. had recessions in 1949, 1953, 1958, 1960-61, 1969-70, 1973-75, 1980, et cetera. In short, there hasn’t been a decade since the 40s without a recession, but most lasted on average about eleven months.

Some mysterious group of gnomes recently announced that the present recession “ended” in 2009. I think they were all smoking from the same hookah when they came up with that whopper. A look at unemployment and “under-employment” (same thing) figures give no real-world indication it’s over, nor does a growing population on food stamps.

President Obama, a man who never ran a business in his entire life and whose economic advisors fit the same description, has dealt with the present economic crisis by blaming it on George W. Bush. No longer able to do that, he now simply refers to “the last eight years.”

The Blame George excuse ignored several essential facts. The housing mortgage crisis is entirely the result of the “social justice” agenda of progressives, i.e., Democrats, who created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and defended both (are you listening Barney Frank and Frank Dodd) even as this house of cards was collapsing.

Americans must share the blame for buying homes they could not afford from banks who frequently had no choice but to make the loans. The government’s housing policy dates back to 1934, at which time the nation was already into the Great Depression.

The taxpayers ended up owning nearly fifty percent of all mortgages. Banks and investment houses that bought the “bundled securities” took a bath. Where in the Constitution does it say the federal government should be in the mortgage business? It doesn’t!

Then, too, you may remember that George W. Bush got real busy on 9/11 having to make some very tough decisions about a bunch of stateless enemies calling themselves al Qaeda and the Taliban. Okay, he also helped balloon the deficit by signing some very bad ideas such as the expansion of Medicare with a pharmaceuticals benefit. It’s not like he came up with Obamacare; a wholesale disaster.

Once we all get passed the midterm elections, likely to reflect a sweeping rejection of everything Obama and the Democrats represent, we should expect the Republicans to do what they were supposed to do in 1994. There will be a lot of new faces in Congress who, in theory, are beholden only to the people who put them there. In reality, however, they are beholden to the large campaign donors who put them there. That said, much depends on the quality of the GOP leadership expected to take over Congress.

There’s a lot to do, not the least of which is to clear away mountains of regulations that have driven American industry everywhere other than America. We don’t make things here any more and no economy can last very long without a manufacturing base.

Obamacare must simply be repealed. Whole government agencies need to be scaled back or eliminated. We not only can’t afford them, they are counter-productive in vital areas such as education, energy, and of course the environment.

Recently, in my home State of New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie lowered the boom on a multi-billion dollar railroad tunnel linking the State to New York City. He said that the State simply could not afford it. When was the last time you heard a politician say that?

The Secretary of Transportation paid him a personal visit to get him to change his mind about the tunnel. If he does, I’m thinking a lot of federal funds will start flowing to the Garden State. It’s called politics.

Still, it was refreshing to hear a governor, any governor, say “We can’t afford that.”

© Alan Caruba, 2010


Necromancer said...

Mr.Caruba I remember when Ike was elected in 51 and also the home run heard around the world. Bobby Thompson did that for the Giants and I saw that on TV. Lot's of other things also. And Viet Nam started on Ike's watch and was actually a problem of France and also the oil rights on the VN coast. That I know as fact although you won't find it on Google.
"Semper Fi"

LarryOldtimer said...

Alan, I have a couple of years on you in age. The problem of Vietnam started on Harry Truman's watch, not Ike's, when Truman made the terrible decision to aid De Gaulle in recovering the former French colony of Indo-China, as Vietnam was called before Ho Chi Minh declared it to be the independent nation of Vietnam. The Japanese had dislodged the French there, during WWII, but did not occupy it. When the Japanese surrendered, Ho Chi Minh declared that the former colony of France was a free nation called Vietnam.

During WWII, Ho Chi Minh was an ally of the US in our war with Japan.

With the betrayal by Truman,and it had to be Truman, as many of those who attacked Vietnam in the effort to reestablish French rule were wearing US Army uniforms, wielding US Army weapons. Who else could have approved giving France suddenly surplus US Army gear? Ho Chi Minh had no choice but to turn to China for aid, as it appeared to be the US Army which was attacking Vietnam.

I have always wondered how a president of a country which had itself had to go to war to escape colonialism could justify aiding another country, France, to reestablish colonialism in a recently declared independent nation. Politics makes for strange bedfellows.

Ike was President when I enlsted in the USAF in 1954.

As a farm lad during WWII, living on my grandfather's farm (he was a very successful medical doctor), and with no competent hired help available, my 3 year older brother and I had to do a great deal of labor, called chores, as did all of the other farm children.

Those who didn't experience or are too young to remember living during WWII can't begin to understand the hardships American citizens, including children, had to go through during WWII in support of the war effort, or how much we supported the war effort.

I feel as if I am an alien from another planet, things are so different nows, and all of the whining about how difficult things are now disgusts me.

I might also add, from my study and personal experience of "real" history, if anyone thinks things are tough as of now, in my opinion, "you ain't seen nuthing yet."

Anonymous said...

JF Dulles' idea of a "monolithic world Communism" led to the SEATO treaty, which got us into the Vietnam war. I got my greetings from Ike in November of 1953. In the summer of 1954 TPTB were considering taking 4,000 troops out of Korea to send to the aid of the French in Indo-China. I wasn't an experienced enough GI to be a potential selectee, thank the Lord. And thank the Lord that the 4,000 weren't sent.

I generally make litttle or no comment about a public figure's appearance; looks and smarts are separate things.

However (giggle-snort) I will comment, due mostly to the unending nattering from the Duckbilled Platitudinous, that he seems to resemble an Edsel with the doors open. I see it as apropos, since the Edsel was a colossal failure and its idea is long out of date.

Alan Caruba said...

It's nice to have people comment who are actually OLDER than me!

(And, yes, I remember what an ice box was. We had one in my home before the frig was invented.)