Monday, January 26, 2009

Dark and Ominous Fog

Just as Mr. Obama has danced into the oval office, we've arrived at a moment when a lot of people have a hard time imagining the future. This includes especially the mainstream media, which has reached a state of zombification parallel to that of the banks. But even in the mighty blogosphere, with its thousands of voices unconstrained by craven advertisers or pandering managing editors, the view forward dims as a dark and ominous fog rolls over the landscape of possibilities.

This from Jim Kunstler this morning. He goes on to suggest nightmare scenarios, which, if you were so inclined, you could dismiss as the ravings of a chronic crank and pessimist. But it's hard to deny the truth of the fog he mentions or deny that history often bears out the correctness of a Cassandra's prophecies. I'm increasingly concerned that this may be one of those times. Have you noticed, if you're paying attention, that nobody in government or anywhere else apparently has any definitive idea about how to the save the country's economy from going right down the toilet into God knows where, although for sure were talking about a place that is not pleasant? The country's economy is swirling around the bowl with ever-increasing speed--major job cuts were announced by several big companies today-- and the politicians are arguing. Obama and his supporters want a big stimulus package; some Republicans want one, too, but one more to their liking, i.e., freighted with tax cuts instead of spending. Other Republicans are, in the spirit of bipartisanship, are opposing anything Obama suggests. Some commentators such as Paul Krugman worry that the stimulus package, $825 billion, is too small to accomplish its purpose, which is to jump start the economy into recovery.

My question is: who in the hell actually knows what to do? As I've noticed before, we've not been in this place before. This monumental crisis is not something entirely new. The country has certainly faced monumental crises before. Nothing in history is entirely new; history is an echo. But every situation is unique in its own way, as this present economic crisis certainly is. There's no consensus on the broad general approach--so how are we to supposed to be optimistic that the right answer is somehow going to appear magically out of all the turmoil? It won't, of course. Which means the country is in for a dark time in a rancid sewer.
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