American Elephants


Is This “The New Normal?” Nah. Just Really Bad Management. by The Elephant's Child

Unemployment up, deficit up, and U.S. consumer confidence has dropped in August to its lowest level in nine months as Americans turned more pessimistic. The Conference Board is an industry group that attempts to measure consumer attitudes. It’s index has fallen from a downwardly revised  65.4 in July to 60.6. Economists had expected an increase to 66, according to a Reuters poll. It was the lowest level since last November.

“Consumers were more apprehensive about business and employment prospects, but more optimistic about their financial prospects despite rising inflation expectations,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center .

Consumers were more concerned about price increases, with expectations for inflation up.

You can judge the mood to an extent by statements that “this is the new normal.” This younger generation will be the first that cannot expect their lives to be better than their parents. Lots of grumbling in the grocery store, as many manufacturers attempt to disguise the rise in price by offering a smaller quantity in a package that appears to offer the same unless you look at the net weight.

People in the drought areas of the Midwest are scrambling to line up feed for the winter months, as the hay crop has been far smaller than usual, or sending more of their herds to market.

Gun sales are way up. Crime is mostly down. (The two statistics go together) The impulse for some is because they”see it all going bad.” They see Obama’s lawless behavior — the attempt to go around the other branches of government with executive orders and agency regulations — as evidence of an unlawful power-grab. But for others, it is worry that the Obama administration is going to further attempt to regulate guns. The Anchoress says she is hearing discomfited talk at the hairdressers:

In the past few weeks I’ve heard some surprising people admit they’ve been arming themselves and purchasing ammunition — one such discussion happened all around me at the hairdresser’s while I sat and listened. The stylist and his boss, they’re storing food and arming themselves. The chiropractor who popped in to say hello while taking his afternoon stroll said he is armed, too: “never in my life thought I’d have a gun in the house, now we have two.”

They’re arming, they say, because they “see it all going bad.” These same folks who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 were now asserting an idea the far-left had floated around before that election, but instead of “Bush is going to install martial law and suspend elections.” they’re saying it of Obama. “He paid off his friends and did nothing to create jobs and he wants it all to go bad, because then he can stay in power and dictate.”

This seems as nutty as it did when the far-left got so paranoid back in the Bush administration. Maybe the worriers are the same paranoid people.  I notice that talk of “home invasion” is up, survivalist supplies are being advertised, and books on survival hawked.

I’d forgotten the paranoid talk back during the Bush administration. They thought there was certainly a militia of some kind lurking in the mountains, somewhere — wherever there were mountains.  Apartment people are often unfamiliar with the out-of-doors, and find it discomfiting.

The economy is bad because the policies chosen to address the economy are wrongheaded and misguided. Democrats’ faith in Keynesian multiplier effects have never waned. If it worked for FDR (it didn’t) it will work for them. Democrats march in lockstep, and share odd, paranoid ideas of what Republicans are all about — witness the pink vagina-clad Code Pink protesters at the Republican convention, protesting — not much of anything intelligible.

Yes, people are concerned about the economy, about jobs, about inflation. When money is tight, inflation adds to the worry. The ads and flyers I see indicate that business is hurting. People are avoiding the extras.

Mitt Romney offers a career history of turning declining and failing businesses around, spectacularly.  His business career has been sterling. Democrats are trying desperately to create doubt, suspicion and fear with smears and lies and misrepresentation. They have tried to portray him as “unlikable,” untrustworthy, out-of-touch, too rich, — whatever.  I don’t think it will work. Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, a family man who has gone out of his way throughout his life to be of genuine service to other people. It is not his way to even mention such things, but other people who know are beginning to speak out, to expose the real Mitt Romney. Who would think that exposing the reality about a candidate would be entirely to his benefit. Oddly enough, Republicans would.

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