Categorized | Makes Me Wanna Holler

There's No Such Thing As A Bad Economy

There is no such thing as a bad economy. Our economy is simply changing and evolving and if you don’t change and evolve with it, you’re going to get left behind. Changes in technology are constantly decreasing the need for certain jobs and eliminating some jobs forever. Businesses are always looking for ways to do things more efficiently and with fewer employees. Business owners don’t spend every waking hour trying to figure out how to hire more people. They spend every waking hour trying to find ways to do the opposite. That’s why I say there’s no such thing as a bad economy; the economy is what it is at any given moment.

But in the context of politics, the economy is not as bad as the republicans are making it out to be. You can actually make a case that the economy is doing quite well. But the Republicans don’t want you to know it, the Democrats are afraid to say it and the media is reluctant to report it. The Republicans have a vested interest in selling doom and gloom because they’re trying to win an election. The Democrats can’t say the economy is doing fine because they don’t want to seem out of touch with the misery of the people that are really suffering. The media is in the best position to set the record straight but they’re asleep at the wheel as usual. The media are supposed to be the referees but they never bring their flags to the game. I think Paul Krugman said it best, “If the republicans claimed that the world was flat, the headline in mainstream media would be Controversy About The Shape of the Earth”. The mainstream media won’t even point out obvious lies coming from the right. And that’s a problem.

Economic data is usually the gold standard that both sides will accept without too much spin or bias. But that hasn’t been the case since President Obama took office. We all know that Wall Street and the financial pundits favor the Republican Party so they usually go out of their way to support any financial policy put forth by the republicans.  They also paint a more optimistic picture about the state of the economy when the republicans are in charge. Remember during the last few years of the Bush administration when the economy was going down the tubes. Despite the obvious downfall of the economy, the financial pundits on CNBC like Larry Kudlow were still cheerleading the economy and continued to look for a silver lining. It was ridiculous and it actually made things worse because they should have been sounding the alarm about the economy instead of propping up the flawed republican ideas and glossing over the economic mess right in front of their eyes.

But when the democrats are in the White House the tone of Wall Street and the financial pundits is totally different. They pick apart and ridicule every democratic economic policy before the ink can dry. They also downplay any signs of economic recovery and consistently pour cold water on any good economic news. It’s ridiculous but it has a huge effect on how people view the economy. The way they talk about the stock market is a perfect example. During Bush’s second term the stock market was booming and reaching record highs. The financial pundits constantly reminded us that even though unemployment was inching up and we had a huge budget deficit that a strong stock market was still the key indicator of economic prosperity. They talked about how corporate profits are necessary to fuel the economy and grow jobs and that a strong stock market was a key indicator. They also reminded us that 70% of Americans either own individual stocks or they benefit from a strong stock market because they own mutual funds, 401K’s and other retirement programs. In other words a strong stock market and corporate profits equaled a strong economy.

Well that was then and this is now. As soon President Obama took office all of sudden a strong stock market doesn’t mean anything. Even though we’ve been on one of the longest stock market bull runs in the history of this nation. Since the market bottomed out in March 2009 the stock market has risen almost 7,000 points. You could have bought stock in Apple back in March 2009 for less than $90 a share. Now Apple stock is selling for almost $700 a share and is on the verge of becoming the first company valued at over a trillion dollars. But the Hopeless Obama Haters (HOH’s) on Wall Street and other financial pundits have changed their tune. Now they say that a strong stock market doesn’t mean a thing and the only barometer for the economy is the unemployment rate and the budget deficit. See how their attitude changes when the democrats are in the White House?

So the point I’m making is that Wall Street and the financial pundits are all HOH’s and they’re the ones setting the tone for how people feel about the economy and how the media reports on the economy. So we’re getting a biased viewpoint that is downplaying good economic news and exaggerating the extent of any bad economic news. Put it this way, if a republican had been in charge of a 7,000 point increase in the stock market and corporate profits were going through the roof; not only would the pundits be singing a different tune they would be declaring a complete economic recovery.

But under the Obama administration the lie Wall Street keep using revolves around the word “uncertainty”.  They keep saying that businesses aren’t hiring because they’re uncertain about the future. Investors aren’t investing because they’re uncertain about this or uncertain about that. The only thing I’m certain about is that it’s all bunch of crap. They’ve been telling that same lie about uncertainty since the 2008 election. First they were uncertain about who was going to win between Obama and McCain. Then they were uncertain about the bank bailout and how it would work out. Then they claimed they were uncertain about how the stimulus money would affect the economy. They were uncertain about the auto bailout, uncertain about Iraq and Afghan, uncertain about what actions the Federal Reserve might take. They were uncertain about whether the Bush tax cuts would be extended, uncertain about the raising the debt ceiling, uncertain about Europe and China, and now they’re uncertain about the fiscal cliff. You see where this has been going? What’s next? Are they uncertain about whether the world is going to end on Dec 21, 2012 or maybe they’re uncertain about whether the earth will be hit by a meteor in the next 4 years.  Businesses have been using this perpetual “uncertainty” excuse to avoid admitting that the economy is doing fine, and that we have a new normal and the job market is about where it should be.

Think about it, if businesses needed to hire more people they would. But if they’re meeting demand and making record profits with the personnel they have, why would they hire more people? That would be stupid. Businesses need to stop blaming everything on uncertainty. They should just admit that they’ve maximized operational efficiency and they’re able to meet the demand for their product or service with minimal increases to payroll.  In other words they’ve found ways to do more with less people.

I don’t know about you but I believe what I see. I don’t have to wait for a bunch of HOH’s on Wall Street to crunch the numbers and do a Power Point presentation before I can make a decision about the state of the economy. If the economy was as bad as they’re making it out to be it would be obvious as soon as you walk out the door. I don’t think the people in Haiti have to wait on the housing report in order to realize they have housing problem. Funny how the US housing problem is defined by having too many houses but in Haiti their housing problem is defined by not having any houses.  I don’t think the people in Somalia have to wait on the jobs report to find out they have an unemployment problem. If signing up to be a pirate is one of the better job openings, then you probably have problem with unemployment.  Something is profoundly wrong about having to wait for a government agency or someone on Wall Street to provide you with a number before you can decide how you should feel about the economy. I’ll let you in on secret, if you have to wait on a number then odds are, you’re probably doing pretty good and the economy is too. I don’t know about you but when I walk outside I don’t see any soup lines; I don’t see any shanty towns or thousands of homeless people roaming the streets.  But if you listen to the republicans and the media, you would think we were in the middle of  another great depression.

But anyway, when I go to the mall it’s still hard to find a parking spot and thousands of people are in there spending money. When I go to buy groceries the shelves are stocked and the prices are low. When I look in the Sunday paper there are hundreds of jobs posted. Businesses are showing record profits quarter after quarter and they’re sitting on trillions of dollars in cash. The stock market is up almost 7,000 points since March of 2009. Inflation is low and food is cheap. You can still buy a roast chicken from Wal-Mart, already cooked for $5; all you got to do is eat it.  Interest rates are at record lows so you can get a car loan or a mortgage loan at a record low interest rate. If that’s a bad economy … what’s good? What does good look like?

Another good example is Apple. They’re selling iPad’s so quick they can’t make them fast enough and they’re not cheap. Apple doesn’t depend on rich people to buy their products. Ordinary middle class folks purchase Apple products and they have pushed Apple’s valuation to almost a trillion dollars. How many iPad’s would Apple sell in a “good” economy? How high does the stock market have to go before the HOH’s on Wall Street will say it’s a good economy?  How many companies will have to show record profits before they admit that it’s a good economy? How cheap does food have to get, how low do interest rates have to go. Come on folks, we don’t have to channel the misery of the folks that are doing the worst in the economy and use that as the barometer. You can’t judge the whole economy by the 10% or so that are struggling. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t focus on them at all but we shouldn’t paint the whole country with a broad stroke of misery based on their current situation. Because most people are getting up and going to work every day and they’re doing just fine. The employment rate is about 93% and I don’t know about you but every time I’ve scored a 93, I was happy. Last time I checked that was an A.  So stop buying the doom and gloom that the republicans, the HOH’s on Wall Street and the media are selling. The economy is doing great and it’s getting better.

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