Business & Economics

Where’s Washington at this time of global turmoil?

Robert Reich

Why isn’t Washington responding?

The world’s third largest economy suffers a giant earthquake, tsunami, and radiation dangers. A civil war in Libya and tumult in the Middle East cause crude-oil prices to climb. Poor harvests around the world make food prices soar.

All this means higher prices. American consumers, still reeling from job losses and wage cuts, will be hit hard. (Wholesale food prices surged almost 4 percent in February, the largest upward spike in more than a quarter century.)

Even before these global shocks the U.S. recovery was fragile. Consumer confidence is at a five-month low. Housing prices continue to drop. More than 14 million Americans remain jobless, and the ratio of employed to our total population is at an almost unprecedented low.

So you might think our elected representatives would want to avoid a repeat of what happened the second half of 2010 when the fragile recovery began tanking. They’d certainly want to prevent a double-dip recession.

You’d think they’d be creating booster rockets to counter these recessionary forces – freeing up more spending, exempting the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes, imposing a moratorium on bank foreclosures, giving Americans another six months to file their income taxes, lending states whatever money they need to prevent more of their own budget cuts.

Think again.

Amazingly, the big debate in Washington is about how whether to cut $10 billion or $61 billion from the federal budget between now and September 30.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently stated the Republican view succinctly: “Less government spending equals more private sector jobs.”

In the past I’ve often wondered whether they’re knaves or fools. Now I’m sure. Republicans wouldn’t mind a double-dip recession between now and Election Day 2012.

They figure it’s the one sure way to unseat Obama. They know that when the economy is heading downward, voters always fire the boss. Call them knaves.

What about the Democrats? Most know how fragile the economy is but they’re afraid to say it because the White House wants to paint a more positive picture.

And most of them are afraid of calling for what must be done because it runs so counter to the dominant deficit-cutting theme in our nation’s capital that they fear being marginalized. So they’re reduced to mumbling “don’t cut so much.” Call them fools.

The U.S. economy is flirting with another dip at a time when the global economy is teetering and most Americans are still in economic trouble. But nothing is being done in our nation’s capital because knaves and fools are in charge.

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Comments to "Where’s Washington at this time of global turmoil?":
    • W. Stewart

      You are absolutely correct!! the USA is 14 trillion dollars in debt, almost $40,000. per person. Japan is in the worst crisis since the 1945 bombings. The world food supply is in dire need due to last years dought. Several EU countries are bankrupt or on the verge of it. And what does the US administration do – hey, let’s attack Libya at a cost of ???????????? billion dollars of our citizens hard earned dollars. Hey, let’s make a treaty with Russia for nuclear arms reduction and the very next day announce nuclear arms upgrades. Hey, let’s buy 12 seats on Osoyus space shuttles (Russian) for 2010 to 2014 because we cannot afford to build our own. Come on Obama, look in your own back yard!!! Your people need you, they need help, they love their country, but you are selling them out, selling them short. Do you think they are non educated bumkins that will follow you no matter how stupid your decisions. This “WAR” against Libya is for your own ego, trying to show the world that you are the boss. Wake up!!! The banking crisis of the past two years has cost US citizens 17 TRILLION dollars. As professor Reich said, “14 million Americans remain jobless” , cost of living is increasing astronomically and you think the answer is to wage war against an obviously inferior country (to the USA that is) In many ways Libya is far more advanced than the USA, it’s people are happier. In Libya education at any level is 100% paid for by the government. There is no rent in Libya, only ownership and the government pays 50% of the cost. In Libya citizens can buy a car and the government pays 50%. In Libya the government pays each expectant mother $400. per month prior to the baby being born, $7,000. at the birth of the baby. These are only a few of the benefits available to all Libyan citizens. Why do you think tens of thousands of civillians stand in front of your missles protecting Kadaffi. And of course, if you kill a few thousand women and children while you are attempting to kill Kadaffi, you will simply justify it by saying. “they were terrorists” Just like you are doing in Aghganistan and like you did in IRAQ. Obama, you are are without a doubt the biggest coward in this whole world. Even bigger than Bush.

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