Poor Ted’s Head is bursting at the seams. Pondering the imponderables is taking its toll. I sit in my perch on the world and really look for a plan…a way out. Not of my particular morass but of the country’s. Hopefully I have been a decent businessman over my life. I just don’t get it in an intellectual way.
Our consumer based economy sucks. Why? Because people aren’t buying. Because firms aren’t hiring. One side says we have to save and wean ourselves off credit. The other side says we have to get back to buying. The absurdity of a consumer based economy is glaring.
Companies worry to death about their stock price. They have to cut expenses and improve revenue. But we cut expenses by firing and going automated. Outsource to cheaper pay scales. But the unemployed don’t buy things. Duh!
The companies make money by hoarding cash. They are doing just fine. So the stock price and ergo 401K’s go up. But if the guy on the street has to cash it in then where does that leave us? But capitalism is a beautiful thing and left to our own designs we will come out of this.
So let’s do away with regulation. Wall Street and the banks want to govern themselves. We have been holding them back. Get rid of the SEC and FDIC and they can make some real money. It was because of our stupid laws that the housing crisis occurred. Credit default swaps are really good things. Who cares if Goldman can be selling securities to the clients and shorting them on the other side. Caveat emptor.
Farmers are being screwed. Department of Agriculture inspectors at hog farms, poultry giants and food processors are bringing them down. Salmonella. Schmowmonella. It is part of doing business. Let’s bring back DDT.
Let’s get rid of building inspectors,the FDA, FCC,FAA, FTC etal. No more Homeland Security. No NOAA. No FEMA. No EPA. Let’s roll the dice. I hate all this regulation but why do they exist. Because we are too shallow and greedy to police ourselves. We have shown time and again you can’t “Trust us”.
Infrastructure doesn’t need any further improvement. Highways, bridges, water tunnels, sewage treatment plants are just fine. Some have been around a hundred years and could go for a hundred more. Don’t worry. Be Happy. I am paying way too much for water and electricity. It’s almost as high as my cable bill.
Natural disasters? We build homes by the rivers and oceans. I love the view of the water. Many of my family own homes there. But then there is good old Mother Nature getting a little cranky. The hell with it. Let’s subsidize flood insurance. Fires. Hell, I love living in the woods. Let’s just call it a disaster area and make it all go away.
Education is the way out of this maze. Put more money in. That’s the problem. But we put more and more in and yet get less out. I would imagine a large part of the learning curve has to do with looking at the past and seeing what we have done wrong. Maybe we just have to look back. But we won’t.
I have been part of inner city parochial schools. They usually educate on about 65% of the budget for public schools. They have 100% attendance and in many cases 100% go on to higher ed. They wear uniforms. There is discipline. Above all there is parental involvement. Why doesn’t someone study this model?
Lastly is the food we put on our tables. Or on tables somewhere. We are obese. Mc Donalds stock has doubled in the last five years. So have our waistlines. Yet we give out food stamps. Hey, you can buy soda and lottery tickets with them. Maybe even cigarettes.
This world has changed so drastically in the last ten years. The last five years. We have rested on our laurels. “Just wait til we get back”. It is not really that easy. It would take a huge overhaul in business strategies, bureaucracy and most of all public attitude.
Watch Meet The Press from this weekend. Tom Friedman stated with great perception that we are making economic decisions with a political board of directors. He went on to sadly say there are so many things out there that we invented but have let the world take the lead with. Doris Kearns Goodwin recalled the effort we put forth in World War II. At that time it was all that mattered in the US. It’s where we have to get to today. The task is that Herculean.
To make sense of all this we have to put a shoulder to the wheel. We have to get rid of selfish, self serving attitudes. The rich. The poor. The old. The young. No one is immune. I really don’t think we can do it. Politicians are in charge. They now want to wait until next year. We just wring our hands and sometimes just shrug. Are we that cynical?
Can we be great again? Yes, but I think we have ALL had it too easy, too long. We can’t seem to shake ourselves out of this malaise. We are dreamers but in the wrong way. I guess this is the part that Ted’s Head really doesn’t get. What a tragedy.
Ted The Great
Unemployment by Education level.
Not finishing high school…15.4%High School Grad…9.4%Some College…7.9%College Grad…4.7%
In 2004 we did not have Twitter, Facebook, IPads, IPhones
Over the last 25 years our calorie consumption per annum has increased some 40%. We have approximately 10% of our population (30 million) suffering from diabetes.
An Amtrak train, The California Zephyr derailed in southwest Nebraska. It had 190 in passengers and crew on board the line that is 2438 miles long. We pay a subsidy of around $35 per passenger for approximately 350,000 carried over the rails