We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Fall has always struck me as the most American of seasons. This isn’t just about football and the world series. Fall is the Puritan time: we are less interested in gathering rosebuds than in storing up nuts; winter is coming and we need to prepare. Enough of the lazy consumerism of summer; it is almost with relief that Americans roll up their sleeves for the start of a new working year.
This particular rentrée does not, however, find the country in good spirits. According to the Real Clear Politics average, more than 61% of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. With unemployment at 9.6% and underemployment double that, almost one out of five Americans who want full-time jobs can’t get them. Trillions of dollars in home equity and stock market value has disappeared since 2007, while the federal debt has skyrocketed. China and India are growing blazingly fast; even Germany is growing faster than the United States these days.
I don't worry about China and India, for a variety of reasons. First off, both had massive savings levels, which they are now burning down. We SHOULD take advantage of that, but we're not, because our corporate management would rather pay themselves fat packets than build healthy, highly productive manufacturing centers. US workers produce many times the amount of their rivals - so paying them more should be easily recouped.
Secondly, China is spending quite a bit in useless, government mandated ways. We've seen this before, from Japan in the 80's (um, and us right now). It rarely leads to long term benefit. Empty cities in the Mongolian desert? Hardly useful and productive. Stadiums that fall down? Not really a terrific investment.
As long as we start being more careful with our money, and spending it productively, then we'll be fine. That's what recessions - even big ones - are for. To bring us back to reality.
We've spent 20 years AVOIDING big recessions just to keep the gravy train going. It was unhealthy. We're paying for it now.