Plan A

elephant-in-the-roomThere’s a cold dark secret inside the White House, your state house and your city hall. You aren’t likely to hear it discussed on talk tv. There are no talking points prepared. Don’t expect mass email blasts raising money for it. No one wants to talk about it. It is the elephant (or donkey depending on your affiliation) in every room.

It explains why healthcare reform will be in name only. Why regulation of banks and Wall Street will be studied in committee well into next year. It is why K Street still has its way on the hill. Why oil prices are going back up although demand isn’t driving it. Why our investments in green are longterm. Why there’s no hurry to get our troops home. Why we can throw money at GM and buy a few extra weapons programs we don’t want and won’t use. Why so much of our stimulus was to help the states who can’t borrow, or was for shovel-ready projects that were just another name for pork. The cold dark secret explains why Republican Bush and Democrat Obama would each bet the house (ours) and ask willing bi-partisan Congresses for blank checks –  all caring less how they are cashed.

This secret is more important than jobs, foreclosures, funding pensions, deficits, global warming, peace, food or clean water. It keeps every sober politician up at night and makes every other drink themselves to sleep. It is the source of their power. This isn’t about mid-term elections. For them, it is all of it. Every last senator, congressperson, governor, mayor and political appointee, regardless of party, has known the crisis was coming, but they had already drank the Kool-Aid. Now, there’s only one way out.

Tax revenues are way down and falling. Their only hope is a Wall Street bubble.

The villains who caused it are now heroes in waiting. “It’s the economy stupid” has been replaced with “it’s the Dow Jones stupid.” The only answer found by our best and brightest is to purposely have history repeat. The speculators are speculating. Our government has provided all the chips and is covering all the bets. They don’t care who gets rich, or how rich. They just know that it is the only way quick enough for enough people to make enough income so enough people pay enough taxes that our great nation of cards won’t fall during their watch. At least not this year.

Our cities and states are suffering. It is way too late to raise taxes and too few are left to pay. Cutting enough spending will just make it worse. Creating jobs is too hard and takes too long. Another housing bubble can’t work until we have finished burping the last. They have never had faith in the middle class and had just as soon be rid of them. Wall Street bubbles are quick, cheap and they’ve done it before. Plus, you can do it with half the country unemployed or paralyzed in debt.

Don’t get your hopes up for anything else. There is no plan B. All the rest is just sport to keep us distracted.

6 thoughts on “Plan A

  1. ariel harris

    and this from the “free” world???? what will it take to not just be so complicit in our complacency! i am beyond frustrated and angry… this has got to end… NOW!
    let’s start a movement… we can all become Canadians… and have health care… someone selling winter coats?

  2. shortstop

    Enough with the cynicism. One doesn’t have to be Pollyanna to reject the sky is falling fatalism of Lee Leslie’s posts. Ironic that his bio mentions “unbridled enthusiasm…and sense of responsibility.”

    I have work to do (as do we all) — and I don’t mean only our vocations.

  3. Lee Leslie Post author

    Cynical as I am, I don’t actually think the sky is falling. But too often these days, I hear noises reminiscent of Nero’s fiddle. As we have transitioned the last couple of decades to a “service economy,” we abandoned many of the traditional methods for creating wealth. Now we need to create wealth fast to turn things around and with much of our manufacturing capacity has been lost or is no longer globally competitive. So, we must turn to Wall Street. We certainly need the financial sector healthy. They just don’t create many jobs to replace those we have lost. That, and too often I hear reports of Wall Street gains as the indicator that our economy has turned around. Wall Street is a world of its own and has less to do with the short-term health of our economy that it once did before all hedging began.
    Yeah, I’m cynical (I don’t have a wealth Aunt Polly to go live with it), but I want things to get better. Private sector job growth will take a long time and millions will suffer. I want the politicians to feel their pain. And I don’t want what happened last year to repeat.
    Thanks for weighing in. I’ll update my bio. Give my regards to all those in Paladin country (I grew up in Greenville. Went to Furman. As did 2 brothers, my mom, dad, a grandfather, an uncle, nephews, cousins and countless friends).

  4. Matthew Wright

    A green economy huh? You’re right about it being a long-term goal. That was one of those campaign pledges that sounded great, but was not realistic policy, at least in the near term. As far as job creation goes, I’ll sink or swim with this “stimulus,” at least until the end of the year. After that, all bets are off.


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