Sunday, September 7, 2008

Election Euphoria and the Economy

America's two major political parties have both concluded their grand extravaganza - the culmination of the campaign's circus roadshow that would formally launch their respective choices, which they hope to inflict on fellow Americans and the rest of the world. The nominees have received their affirmation and adulation, as well as their financial support - reciprocating the gesture by way of declarations of hope, change, patriotism and victory; including the obligatory attack on their opponents that were lapped up by their respective hooting throngs.

The nominees acquired a boost of adrenalin, energized to fight on by the overwhelming acceptance bestowed by their party's delegates. In their massive numbers, the delegates have gained renewed confidence that their party will be victorious, they have screamed themselves hoarse and were totally absorbed by the euphoria of the political rally that may have blurred the true state of their economic existence. The hall is silent, the floor is littered, the balloons have popped, and the delegates are tired. But the frenzy of the convention lingers in their consciousness, and as they rest their tired bones and quivering muscles, they lie daydreaming of a better future away from the present that lulls them to sleep; without being aware that when they finally wake up after the elections, there is no future to look forward to.

While they were deliriously dreaming, America lost another 84,000 jobs. And with the upward adjustment for June and July, the nation has lost a total of 605,000 jobs in 8 months. The crippling downturn in the housing market and the credit crunch has affected all sectors, and employers have reduced their payrolls and production capacities for 8 continuous months. The Federal Reserve says the economy remained weak. In fact, it is deteriorating. It is faced with the twin threats of weak growth and rising inflation. The White House has lifted its deficit forecast for 2009 to $482 billion, and the stimulus package of $130 billion is expected to add to the deficit because of the economic decline. The White House figure does not include the $84 billion for the costs of its wars. The saddest cut of all is that while household income continued to decline, the Economic Policy Institute study cites that those at the top 10% of the income distribution ladder tripled their incomes in the last 2 decades.

This miserable situation is far from the bottom of the pit. The crushing blow will be the humongous bailout for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae who hold mortgage guarantees up to $5.3 trillion, plus the retiring 78 million baby boomers beginning 2010 with the attendant costs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid; all unfunded Federal Obligations and the National debt, brings the total Federal burden to a whopping $ 53, 000,000,000,000 (53 trillion) or, $175,000 for each American citizen.

Regardless of what growth the economy does in the next few years which could add several billions in taxes, under present laws, these are already pre-allocated. There can be no funds available for programs that would alleviate poverty, nor improve health care, create jobs, and improve the educational system. It effectively removes democracy from the hands of citizens, especially the younger workers who will be saddled by priorities they had no voice in selecting. Yet they will be burdened with higher taxes and lower wages, in addition to the higher costs of living. This is the future both candidates of the major parties cannot be honest about, for fear of being punished by the electorate. It would be worse if they were both ignorant of these facts, but that is unlikely. Their only concern is winning and locking their hands on the reins of power.

All the rhetoric, the attacks, fighting slogans, promises of change and monopolies on patriotism are mere distractions. Barack Obama and John McCain have reduced the elections - one of the most sacrosanct elements of Democracy - into a battle of personalities that belittles the discernment capabilities of their countrymen, transforming it into a popularity contest comparable to selecting Mr. Alaska, or worse, Mr. Wasilla. Both candidates are involved in a cover-up if not deception, and are cloaked with heroism or reform. But underneath, they are similar entities carved out of the pied piper, who will use their trumpets to lure the American voters to drown in the murky river of debt.



The Fitness Diva said...

With all the hoopla surrounding McCain's choice of VP, larger than life (and possibly parts of Alaska) Palin, this election has officially turned into one never ending circus.

Hopefully, we won't just stand by and watch while munching on popcorn.

It's getting harder to really know who stands for what while they play this little game of pissing contest.

This is the craziest election campaign I've ever seen!

Zhu said...

AS you cleverly pointed out, it's a great extravaganza while the U.S.A is sinking, sinking, sinking...

Politics seem disconnected from the reality. I like Obama but I must say even he doesn't always seem to be in touch.

ZenDenizen said...
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ZenDenizen said...

Fitness Diva - I'm curious as to what you mean by who stands for what? There's no guarantee that either will follow thru but everything they say sets them miles apart.

Zhu - What exactly is Obama out of touch with that McCain's in touch with?

jenaisle said...

That was nicely written Durano,
Does it mean, that American people will be swimming to keep their heads above water...??? I surely hope not.

Thanks for an intriguing post. Cheers.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

Involvement and information is what's really needed. The voters need to be told of the programs in specific detail as to how the federal burden will impact on their future, and what solutions are going to be put in place.

These have to be debated and discussed as it will determine who the better person is to handle this concern which is of huge magnitude.

As` it stands, neither candidate cannot be as honest as they should be and making promises that cannot be met could be dangerous. This is perhaps why no specifics have been forthcoming and vague references to certain approaches are all that comes to the surface.

Both candidates have shifted their positions on some issues, which is not so bad given the new information received. We cannot expect the leader to retain an unworkable position when it would be against the interest of those he serves. But to change statements to please particular segments and then backtrack on these when faced with another sector is the worst kind of politician.

I just hope the candidates take the bull by the horns and be open, and for the voters to exercise discernment and vote along what's best, rather than on blind party loyalty or hatred, or mere adulation. :-) --Durano, done!0rtal

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

The planned bailout mentioned in the post has already happened and the mere announcement has moved the stock market a bit, but this is just the market's knee jerk reaction.

The real problem is, where will they get the money for this bailout? Second, who will want a bailout aside from these Mortgage companies? Why should not the Banks, Auto industry and Airlines get a bailout too? If granted, is the USA becoming the bailout capital of the world? Why bailout the big guys, how about those who lost their homes?

This is reality and this is where the debates should focus on. Being truly conservative or liberal, Christian or Islamic, man or woman, young or old, experience in governance, soldiering or lawmaking; all these are distractions. The real issues are economy, education, health care and Social security, foreign policy and wars.

When it comes to the Presidency, it would be difficult to say what experience will matter since it is a different ball game. The focus should be on new approaches and innovative solutions to the concerns that matter to the country and the global stage. Currently, it's all personality and rhetoric. The truth is being sacrificed for the entertainment value. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...
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durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Jenaisle,

Yes they will be swimming in their own sweat from all that hard work and sacrifice to keep their heads and self-respect above water.

Most important, they have to closely scrutinize their lifestyle to determine if these are relevant to the conditions they face; and whether the consumerist society orientation with heavy reliance on credit and no savings will have to be re-engineered; in order for their society to thrive , survive, and regain its former prestige in the eyes of the global community. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zen,

Your questions are not for me but for the two previous commenters. Let me inject the following:

Obama has shifted on oil drilling within US territory - basically as a result of current developments. As oil prices go down, this position may not be changed but may also not be done.

Obama is no longer for a definite time frame of withdrawal from Iraq and agrees to a scheduled, phased withdrawal. This is in light of new information as well as the attendant costs of bringing all troops home in one bunch. The phased withdrawal can provide time for the country to beef up their systems while being secure; and the costs can be distributed over a period of time.

In both these instances, the explanations were not made very clear since it was drowned out by the GOP media boys calling it a flip flop. What is retained is that he flip flopped on both counts. It's disinformation of course but this is where the GOP is really very good at.

The perception that he is not always in touch with reality comes from the lack of specifics in some issues that are sweetened by eloquent rhetoric.

He doesn't want his campaign to be talking in gloomy forecasts and would rather offer hope, which is a positive approach. But it also seems out of touch when the dollar buys less, prices go up, difficulties are felt, and old age fears abound; yet no visible workable program is expressed. :-) --Durano, done!


look, obama and mccain are both politicians. They will do and say what it takes to get elected. In Obama's case, his message appears to be inspirational to many young people and his brand of politics is different from his Republican peer.

Nice post, nevertheless.

Kim said...

perhaps you should consider compiling all of your posts on the election into a book Durano...
I'd say it could be a best seller with all of the controversy involved :)

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Solomonsydelle,

You said it yourself "they will do and say anything to get elected".

Whoever it is we believe should be worthy must not blind us to the omission there is. Otherwise, we are compromising our own integrity by looking the other way when we know something is not being addressed that could affect the promises being made.

It is this sort of compromise that weakens the resolve to push for what should be the right things to do.

Their politics are poles apart and their intentions as well, I agree with you. But it is where they are similar, critical as it is, that takes the sheen out of their persona.

Inspire with the truth, not with a cover-up. The situation can be given a positive spin still. As I mentioned in your site, there really is nothing here for non-Americans since their interest is foremost. But a more enlightened focus on interest could be obtained from one who is more humane than a war hawk. But he should prove himself to be poles apart, not just another politician.

Perhaps I'm too idealistic, but without idealism, it will be an old, ugly planet. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

Thanks for the confidence building and kind words. I'd have to check with the Terms of Use for blogspot as all these posts may already be owned LOL!

There is a lot of controversy indeed as well as subtle distractions and themes of the campaign messages that use the principles of Goebbels.

Thanks for the visit. Have a nice time for the rest of the week. :-) --Durano, done!

r said...

Nice post, and I agree that this election - perhaps even more than prior ones - is more of a performance intended to emotionally placate the electorate, and distractingly entertain as well. Some of the original Founding Fathers considered the public ill equipped to tackle the weightier issues which face us as a society, and so deemed it best that the more determinative aspects of leadership and presidential selection should stay with an elite, educated, wealthy few.

I wonder if our current system suffers from a residue of this attitude. Perhaps those at the helm really don't think the other 300 million of us are capable of making crucial decisions in manifesting the destiny of America. So better to just keep everyone entertained and ignorant, for if the public becomes too conscious of the true reality of things, they may clamor for *real* change, possibly even resorting to insurrection to make it happen.

So, better for the hegemony to pacify the public, rather than fully inform us, and dare to give us credit for being intelligent. Information is power, after all...

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi "r",

Very eloquently expressed.

Under the current system, I really think the attitudinal residue of the Founding Fathers about keeping the critical aspects of the country's condition to an elite, educated, wealthy few remains strong. I have reason to believe that leaders would keep this well covered up as much as they can, and would only make disclosures if, and when, third parties start to make references to it.

I'm also inclined to believe that both parties are afraid of invoking the truth precisely because of what you say is the possibility of an insurrection. I have read many articles expressing this same fear, that America may be ripe for a revolution. Perhaps that is going too far, or these writers are engaged in planting ideas for others to implement. But there are conditions that could trigger such an event and I feel that a good number of those conditions are already in place.

Both major parties have very influential Elite, educated, and wealthy members who wield their power where and when it matters - when it affects their business interests. Perhaps these wealthy elite have planted themselves in both parties as a way of safeguarding their forefathers' legacies and preserving their control over the affairs of America. This is just a conspiracy theory though. :-) But it is so noticeable at certain periods where no distinctions in policy, especially foreign policy, exists between these two parties.

Regarding your last statement, this is exactly what they want - to razzle dazzle the public - that's why even education has deteriorated and the educated are diminishing at an alarming rate. A strategy for continued domination? Who knows? They certainly won't volunteer the truth. :-) --Durano, done!

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