America’s Seven Year Journey To Economic Hell
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” is the infamous statement of frustration and anger the fictional character Howard Beale, in the 1976 film Network, exhorted his viewers to yell out their windows. I’m not a fictional character and this is not 1976 but I’m urging every American to start yelling until we get off the one-way road we’re on to economic hell.
We need to yell at the Democrats and Republicans. We need to yell at the President and Congress. We need to yell at radical liberals and extremist conservatives. We need to yell until we can’t yell anymore or we are back on a road to economic stability and prosperity.
In the last seven years, actually many more but that’s long enough to paint the picture, we have devolved into an economic crisis that currently has no end in sight. I’m not talking about a couple of positive months of spun numbers that hide the facts, and I’m not talking about contrived progress like social issues that are perverted into some kind of economic salvation. I’m talking about hard numbers that span the last seven years with residents of The White House from both parties, and an American public seemingly incapable of focusing on real issues instead of fanatical and intemperate ideologies.
This chart graphs the cost of electricity (per 500 KWH) and gasoline (per 16 gallon tank), and the national debt (in trillions) since January 2005, when Bush was sworn in for his second term, through January 2012, when Obama completed his third year in office. That’s seven years for the math challenged!
The next chart shows the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI), Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the total number of full-time jobs (in millions) for the same seven-year period.
The last chart depicts why it is ludicrous to take extremist or radical positions, establish battle lines and point fingers. Democrats will extol consumer confidence is up 54% under Obama but they’ll overlook that gasoline is up 90%. Republicans will say Bush’s numbers were affected by the financial crisis and point to the better economic climate of late 2007. But it was Republicans who drove the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act through Congress in 1999 that repealed Glass-Steagall, and laid the foundation for an inevitable calamity. Lest any liberals want to jump on this one, the GLB Act was signed into law by a Democratic President and widely supported by House Democrats.
When all is said and done in the last seven years consumer confidence has plummeted, consumer prices have skyrocketed, there was no net increase in available jobs and the national debt has doubled. Whose fault is it, Bush or Obama, Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals? All of the above and none of the above because Americans were, for a large part, too lazy to get involved in the process. Sure there are a small percentage of voters who are engaged but far too many of them have positioned themselves on the radical fringes and spend all their time espousing unrestrained diatribe.
We argue about nonsense like what a blowhard talk-radio host said on the air, or a slur used by a stand-up comedian in his act. We establish our extreme positions and defend them regardless of the facts. We occupy cities around the country and expect hand-outs without any acceptance of personal accountability and responsibility. We scream for religious freedom and then castigate those who would dare disagree by exercising their right to free speech.
In short, we stick our heads in the proverbial sand of egregious rhetoric and blame anybody but ourselves. We point to a broken and corrupt system but refuse to embrace civil discourse and compromise that leads to progress for everybody. We lament partisan politics but are unwilling to listen to alternative viewpoints.
We get mad but we get mad for the wrong reasons, and as a country we cannot afford to continue down this path any longer. Let’s get mad for the right reasons now!