Hey, that sounds like a great title for a book. I call dibs, ha ha.
So Obama hasn't the political will and/or the political capital to do what is truly necessary. It's all happening the way I imagined it would during the primaries. Suffice it to say that I am disgusted--but not surprised--that one of the administration's first major scandals involved the push for universal healthcare, my #1
issue. It just confirmed to me what I suspected back then when he started attacking his opponents' proposals from the right: That Obama doesn't really give a f*ck.
Of course, the Big Issue right now is the economy, and Obama's big "victory" with the stimulus plan might as well be trying to catch a bullet in its proverbial
cheap dentures. So what can we expect in the Age of Obama? Well, I'm still reading Paul Krugman's blog
. Some relevant bits:
[...] the Great Depression was ended by massive fiscal expansion, in the form of World War II. Maybe that will happen again; but so far policy seems inadequate to the task, and the political environment raises concerns aboutwhether we’ll be able to do much more.
So we may end up waiting for the economy’s ills to go into spontaneous remission. Which raises the question, how does that happen?
[...] recovery comes because low investment eventually produces a backlog of desired capital stock, through use, delay, and obsolescence. And eventually this leads to an investment recovery, which is self-reinforcing.
And what do we mean by use, delay, etc.? Calculated Risk had a nice piece on auto sales, which I find helps me to think about this concretely. As CR pointed out, at current rates of sale it would take 23.9 years to replace the existing vehicle stock. Obviously, that won’t happen. Even if the desired number of vehicles doesn’t rise, people will start replacing vehicles that wear out (use), rust away (decay), or just are so much worse than newer models that they’re worth replacing to get the spiffy new features (obsolescence).
As autos go, so goes the capital stock. In the long run, we will have a spontaneous economic recovery, even if all current policy initiatives fail. On the other hand, in the long run...
My intuition tells me that this post has reached straight to the heart of matters. Now, I've been reading Krugman for a long time, and if he has a flaw, it is that he is often too optimistic! As in, the reality ends up being what Krugman said it would for the reasons he said they would--just waaaaaay worse. I betcha the five-figure losses in my retirement annuity that he's still being too rosy here and that ten years from now I will have a new and improved understanding of abjection. In fact, I'm even willing to play the long odds that this Great Depression, like the last one, will end in a World War. (Have I just spoken the unspeakable?)
Needless, to say, I'm one of the so-called liberal elite (took a quiz
that told me so, heh), and I am mad as hell
. But I'm just one person, right? And there are a lot of Obama fanboys and girls out there who still haven't shaken the adoring stars from their eyes. I thought you wanted change, not 90s-style triangulation! Or was that just change for a twenty? Sorry, I ain't got any quarters left to waste on you.