American Elephants

Americans Have Not Gone Soft, Mr. President. We Are a Resilient People and We Are Exceptional. by The Elephant's Child

The American “Misery Index” rose last month to a 28 year high as Americans struggled with rising inflation and high unemployment.  Not  an official gauge of any kind, but simply the sum of the inflation rate and the unemployment rate.  “The data underscores the extent that Americans continue to suffer even two years after a deep recession ended, with a weak economic recovery imperiling President Barack Obama’s hopes of winning reelection next year,” according to Reuters.

Reuters hauls out the obligatory case history of someone who had to give up their car because of rising costs for gasoline and groceries.

 “The standard of living for Americans has fallen longer and more steeply over the past three years than at any time since the US government began recording it five decades ago,” says the Christian Science Monitor. “ The average individual now has $1,315 less in disposable income than he or she did three years ago at the onset of the Great Recession — even though the recession ended, technically speaking in mid-2009″.

Sourness is the tenor of the times.  Sea of Despond.  People fear a declining America. We have lost our way. Things will only get worse. We can no longer compete.  America is no longer the leader of the world.  Disaffected young people. China in the ascendency, Relentless economic decline.  Doldrums.”Barack Obama has left the world’s dominant superpower on its knees, with faith in US leadership now being questioned across the globe.”  (This last sentence from Nile Gardiner’s column in the Telegraph yesterday) Standard and Poors lowered the credit rating for the first time in 70 years.  The country hasn’t been so down since the late 70s, when Ezra Vogel claimed that Japan was Number One, and American’s needed to learn from Japan.

Angelo Codevilla, foreign policy analyst, writing in the Claremont Review of Books said:

Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as “the world’s only superpower,” ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it.

What’s going on here?  People have a tendency to straight line thinking.  If we have too much unemployment today, then there will be no jobs for young people, America doesn’t manufacture anything any more, there will not be good jobs, education costs too much and isn’t worth the price.  Disaffected people. America in decline.

Even our president is out claiming that” we have gone soft.” We are the generation that’s going to stop building. He tells  us that we can no longer compete with China who is building the best schools and the best airports.  The vice president of the United States is out claiming that if we don’t pass the jobs bill, then people are going to be raped and murdered because there won’t be cops and firemen to protect you. That’s just because Republicans oppose his unworkable jobs bill, which he intends to use as proof that it’s the Republicans’ fault. Whew!

Wretched excess. President Obama has slavishly followed the Keynesian idea that what the economy needs is a “jolt” with a big stimulus to create jobs.  $827 billion did not work.  It is an idea that has never worked. Obama does not change his mind. He wants more money for stimulus jr. which he calls The American Jobs Plan. President Obama set the agenda. He got what he wanted, and it didn’t work.

Obama has taken great pride in claiming that his recession was the worst since the Great Depression. That is nonsense. This should have been a short, if severe, recession, but Obama has done exactly the wrong thing in each and every case. There are proven ways to help recover from a downturn.  Obama rejected all. 

America has had bad recessions. The Great Depression was in a class by itself, again made into a double dip recession with slavish following of Keynesian economics and endless experimentation. The Panic of 1893 was very bad. We have had inept presidents before.  There is a business cycle with inevitable downturns. We have a press that does not fulfill its intended role of holding the government’s feet to the proverbial fire.

Americans are a resilient people. We have a special talent for muddling through. We will muddle through this and emerge stronger and better.  In the meantime, read some history. See how well we have done in good times and bad. Stand up for liberty. That’s what makes us exceptional, and a beacon of hope to the world.  

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