A Dollar Ain’t What It Used To Be
Since the midterm elections have provided some much needed breathing room for those of us that felt as if the world was crashing down around us, and that a roundup of dissidents in this country was imminent, we now have the luxury of looking at the bigger picture. The problem is, the big picture still looks pretty bleak.
I don’t know about you, but I’m very concerned about our economy and more specifically, the fairy tales that are being spun around it that seem more like a means for containing panic than an accurate picture of how “healthy” our economy is. I’m not an economist, but common sense tells me that an economy based on spending and debt cannot remain stable forever and that the fall from the clouds will be painful indeed. The dollar has hit a 15 year low now and I can’t see how that gets fixed without artificial enhancements that, in the end, are only fingers in the damn, holding off the inevitable. There is a reason that working Americans have a very different opinion of the economy than the investor class, because we are already feeling the negative effects of a consumer based economy (fewer jobs, lower pay and perhaps most importantly, dwindling hope), but that pain will flow upward at some point. Our futures are intertwined whether those at the top care to acknowledge it or not.
I really hope that the Democrats start talking about our two-tiered economy and the growing division between the haves and the have-nots, and I hope they talk about it loudly and often. There are certainly signs that this will be a big issue in the ’08 Presidential election, at least on the Democratic side. John Edwards was alone in his attention to what he describes as the “two Americas” in ’04, but he was clearly ahead of the curve.
I’ve heard Jim Webb say that addressing the gap between rich and poor is one of his main priorities once he takes his seat in the Senate, Barak Obama touches on it regularly and it is still the center of a John Edwards bid for President. I hope this is an indication that the Democrats on the whole may finally be ready to go back to basics and champion the American worker and push a populist agenda. The disparity of wealth in this country is sickening (and widening at an alarming rate under the Bush administration) and that is no longer just a liberal point of view. Discussing the economy frankly and openly is not only the right thing to do, it also may prove to be politically advantageous to anyone willing to offer up a realistic picture of where we are, combined with a vision of where we ought to be.