Sunday, August 7, 2011

Debt Deal Fallout

Let's see. In the few days since the debt deal was announced:

The New York Stock Exchange took the 9th worst single day plunge in its history.

S&P downgraded US treasury bonds for the first time since US treasury bonds began being rated.

The U.S. Postal Service announced plans to shut 2,500 post offices around the country (16% of all post offices) and cut tens of thousands of jobs.

HSBC announced plans to cut 30,000 jobs from their workforce by 2013.

This is only the beginning of the double dip, folks. We're headed for more pain, weak if any growth, a more sustained jobless period, and a continued widening inequality between the wealthy and the rest of us. Federal programs aiding the poor are being cut while no taxes will be raised on the wealthy, so the incomes of the poor will decline while the rich continue on unabated.

This is unsustainable. If the middle class, which has already been decimated by the financial crisis, doesn't have disposable income to spend, there won't be any growth. The lower 90% of the country is responsible for 70% of consumer spending. If they don't have anything to spend, the economy can't grow. At least not robustly enough for the private sector to pull our economy out of the high unemployment rut we're stuck in.

The solutions for all of this are simple, and unfortunately, toxic to many of our elected officials and the rabid tea partiers who are now given outsized power in our representative government. We need to throw the bums out in 2012. Unfortunately, as usual, the wrong bums will probably get thrown out. Those willing to govern rather than pander to special interests and compromise rather than stand as rigid ideologues.

As usual, voters get what they deserve.

We can do better.

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