September 23rd, 2001


Guess I called that one...

On Tuesday, I accused Bush of using the "war" to lay the ground for a vintage "Reagan recovery"... making the nation go into deep debt to make things seem better than they actually are. Specifically, I suspected that he'd try to dip into the social security surplus.

Well, surprise, surprise. CNN just had Trent Lott, the Republican leader for the Senate, making a speech saying that people on social security don't have to worry... the check is in the mail. He also mentioned that although the country will have to borrow money from the surplus in order to pay the cost of the war / military buildup / airline bailout / bribes to repressive regimes for their support, we shouldn't worry because Social Security is secure and that economic growth will pay back the cost of what will be borrowed...

Of course, Dubya has wanted to dip into the surplus for awhile now...he faced serious resistance before, but now, of course, he can get away with most anything... and you can bet that the estimates for economic growth they are basing their assumptions on are optimistic nonsense that was dreamed up long before the election. Big hint to the powers that be... it's not the same economy/world anymore, stupid!

So basically, we're all screwed if the economy doesn't grow, and grow soon... which it absolutely won't do. They're asking us all to go out and spend money... hah. Many of those in the middle class who did have money have already spent it on seemingly discount prices on stocks... only to find that there appears to be no limit to the depths that stocks can sink in this economy. The Fed has already cut the interest rates repeatedly, to absurd levels... But are people buying houses? Not around here... they're trying to sell them and move somewhere affordable. So... you'd think the banks would be making loans then, at low interest rates, right?! So, which of you can you get a big loan right now? I know I can't. Are the banks beating down your door to give you money?! Not likely unless you don't really need it... after all, they don't need to take big risks in order to extort their pound of flesh from all of us.

What I suspect we will see economically in the future is :

Social Security will have to stay solvent for political reasons, but you and I will be worked to death in order to take care of a bunch of aging yuppies... the same ones who got to feast like hogs off the benefits of the last few decades of prosperity. As for us, we won't be able to retire until we're practically on the deathbed.

Bush will try to spend a lot of money on things that benefit his supporters in order to both get them rich and boost the economy. It will be the classic case of too little, too late, however. War normally improves economies, but the military-industrial complex is a much smaller percentage of the total economy than it used to be... and the justification for truely massive military spending just isn't there.

The economy will eventually turn around, but when it does, there will be even fewer big companies owning practically everything. You see, that is where the low interest loans will go... to the businesses that already have money, of course. The old rich will basically swallow the new rich... but don't expect the economy to really recover anytime soon. In order for that to happen, we'll need a ton of new jobs... and new jobs are usually created by small companies, not big ones.

Catch you in the dole lines!