Friday, September 3, 2010

Our House is a Very Very Fine House

I always wonder if the Great Depression felt black and white.  Did people realize they were in the Great Depression?  Were bread lines the norm for everyone? 

This morning’s labor report clearly lays out that the jobs recovery will be a long slog. But what is the norm for our generation.  25% of Americans will have been out of work for some period during the Great Recession.  And those remaining or back in the work force will have lower wages.  But on this Labor Day, I’m going to Georgia’s soccer game.  I’m having a BBQ.

Robert Reiche writes a brilliant piece in the Times today where he articulates the true cause of the Great Recession.  Yes it was precipitated by Wall Street, but the heart of our collective pain starts with computers and satellites and policies that concentrated wealth. 

There’s too many things to buy nowadays and too much competition abroad to have the salaries necessary to buy those things.  And government can’t encourage thriftiness because consumerism drives the economy which drives tax revenues.  So we’re left with this malaise.  Hungover, fat, and too poor to buy breakfast all at the same time.  What will be the picture of our generation 50 years from now.


The true promise of the Obama election was to turn around the clock on these bread and butter issues.  Healthcare, college grants, infrastructure, energy economy, bank reform are pieces of the new New Deal, but people just need a chicken in every pot and a fireside chat to tell them things are going to be great again.  Still waiting on it, for now I’m watching soccer and having a BBQ.

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