So let see if I remember my history correctly. Bill Clinton sells NAFTA as well as free trade around the world. Of course the pitch is we open our market which is already the biggest on the planet, and we get access to dozens of small undeveloped markets in exchange. Just think of the growth! And of course we are so arrogant as to say we are the ONLY creative people on the planet, so while we ship all our labor jobs overseas, we can make it up with intellectual property. Never mind all the theft and fake goods that will occur, we will teach them christian ethics to boot! Of course, we won’t have to give as much foreign aid, as all these jobs will do the same thing, and the people will be able to eat and buy cars, oh how good I feel about helping everyone. Teach a man to fish and all that….
Then we get attacked on 9/11. Stock market tanks, just after an enemic recovery from the Internet bubble that made our economy look so great in the 90’s. We better create a bunch of stimulus! Greenspan cuts rates to 1%, financial markets respond with all sorts of new flavors of financial instruments enabling virtually anyone to buy a home without money or even proper identification.
New immigrants rush in since we no longer protect our borders. They pack into these houses, work for lower wages and boom! our companies are even more profitable. After all they don’t have to pay such high wages. So while taxpayers have to pay up $300 billion in health care, education, crime, disease treatments, and other costs associated with uncontrolled immigration, our companies report $100 billion extra profits due to lower wages. Almost a fair deal huh?
What great days those were, housing prices exploding, George Bush bragging about record home ownership levels, (never mind that people who could never afford a down payment, now could buy twice as much home as they ever could have rented) and we borrowed all this fake money OUT of our houses as tax free home equity loans, for cars, jewelry, travel and whatever else struck our fancy.
Did it ever occur to you this might be too good to be true?
So here we are today, middle class stressed over jobs, auto industry collapsing, airlines giving worst service at record prices and on and on. We are told record oil prices are due to all those jobs we created in China and India, let them buy cars and even eat meat every day. So now they need commodities too. Our answer? Let;s burn our food! Yes, we can grow corn to make ethanol, never mind it takes more energy to grow than it creates, and it destroy our motors too boot! Price of corn goes thorugh the roof. Wheat too and wow look at rice! But god forbid we drill for new oil or build a new nuclear plant! Even though that is precisely what everyone else is doing. So while we are in recession, Brazil is booming and about to become a new oil power. In the old days, they were dependent on our economy, now they are booming without us. I am happy for them. Everyone already knows about China and India, and how about that Russia energy powerhouse?
So now the price of everything we have to buy is going up fast! Except most of us are not seeing our income go up as well. No problem we can just keep borrowing money out of our houses! Oh, did I mention your house is not worth what you paid for it any more? Your plan to retire on the equity is gone, and your house declined over 25% in the last year!
But this was all ok, because I really liked those little mexican restaurants everywhere. Tasty food at great prices. Except today, it was announced, that “bathtub” cheese from Mexico is bringing in Bovine Tuberculosis to San Diego. The good news is it is not easily transmitted between humans. The bad news it is so hard to treat you may die before the treatment works.
Energy pirces were up over 10% in just the last two days. It will translate to 40 cent increase in gas prices this summer. Did I mention Israel says it will soon face no choice but to attack Iran? You may not be able to get any gas in the future!
I don’t know about you, but this is not the “American Dream” I thought they were talking about.
Well it is political season. The time when politicians tell us how they are going to solve our problems. Let me see, the choice is some old guy that George Bush was cloned from, or some guy who says we need to change our bad habits and the way to make us do that is to increase our taxes so we will have even less money to spend on big cars, gas, food etc.
Complacency Rules it would seem…………
At least the government managed to release Sex and the City, just before gas prices explode. Now all we need are shuttles to movie theaters. When Rome was collapsing, they created circuses to distract the public, I wonder if there are any parallels to today?