At the press conference Tuesday night, NBC's Chuck Todd asked Obama why he hadn't asked the American people for specific sacrifices. And, Todd wanted something specific. I thought it was an odd question considering how many jobs and homes have been lost across the country. Almost everyone who has a 401-k has watched it tank. Things just aren't good. But, Todd wants more. Obama basically told him the American people are suffering enough. That seemed lost on Todd. That exchange revealed just how deep the chasm is between reality and the DC elite.
I'm (thankfully) not old enough to have first-hand experience of the Great Depression. Therefore, I'm not going to blithely toss around bon mots about how our current situtation is this generation's "Great Depression". I don't know that to be the case, and while the symbolism might be apt, it does nothing to help further the understanding of why we are where we are...never mind how we got here or what we need to do to pull ourselves out of this hole.
Listening to the ever-swirling cacophony of bad news that seems to be all around us, it would be easy to be swept up in the desire to channel Chicken Little. No, the sky isn't falling, but.... We live in the strongest, most powerful, and most successful country in the world...and yet here we are, watching our economy, our way of life, and quite possibly our future crumble before our eyes. That may seem melodramatic, and perhaps it is. Still, few of us can say with certainty that our personal situation is the same as it was prior to our current economic downturn. No, I'm still working, and I'm grateful for that, but those who aren't and those who are in danger of losing their jobs are never far from my mind...because I've been where so many are.
The sad thing is that most of the Mainstream Media just don't seem to get it. They continue to act as if this is Barack Obama's recession, a problem that he could be, and should be, fixing...and that he hasn't is indicative of some sort of personal failure. The almost complete inability of the media to recognize this recession for what it is- the bastard child of the past eight years of the Reign of Error © is both disturbing and devoid of a grip on reality. We are where we are because of the prior Administration's inability and refusal to exercise even the most basic oversight of financial markets. As it turns out, laissez le bon temps rouler may be a great idea during Mardi Gras, but it's a damn poor way to manage an economy that seems to have been built on the soft sand of greed and avarice.
The advent of Bushvilles- tent cities springing up across the country- should be seen as a national failure and a source of tremendous shame, especially for Republicans. There but for the grace of [insert name of All-Powerful Deity here] goes any of us. We should be hearing mea culpas from George W. Bush and his economic team for the sloth, arrogance, and ineptitude. Heads should be rolling...but we're talking about Republicans here, and of course- repeat after me- BEING A REPUBLICAN MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU'RE SORRY.
Yes, I understand the concept of economic cycles (I was actually an Economics major in college until I came to my senses). Still, I can't shake the feeling that this downturn didn't have to be the devastating, all-consuming monstrosity it is. Perhaps this sort of thing was inevitable regardless. Even so, wouldn't it have been nice to know that the people charged with monitoring and steering our economic ship of state hadn't been asleep at the tiller for eight years?
Gordon Gecko lives...and he's living in Dallas.
WE DESERVE BETTER.