Friday, January 22, 2010

End of an Era?

I talk with a co-worker about trends sometimes. It's one of the things that he lives his life by. I see them, but usually go into denial about them if they're negative or difficult to correct. It's not flat-out denial. It's more of an optimism that I'll figure out how to work my way around the apparent long-term problem when I get there.

Looking at the current economic and political situation, I stand before you as a pessimist. The prosperity of the last several decades is a house of cards held up by quick, easy credit and a populous willing to use it.

In 2007, this started to fall apart under the weight of all of the cards, the Bush Administration tried desperately to keep the credit markets flowing through government intervention. The Obama Administration has continued this, even to a greater extent.

The house of cards is teetering and is precariously holding up under this strain.

Looking forward, however, the trends are all looking bad from my chair. National debt is skyrocketing and looks to get worse with the government plans for health care. Social Security and Medicare are in major trouble. People's savings and retirements are not going to be enough. The financial industry appears to have learned nothing and is back to its old ways, now armed with the knowledge that they're "too big to fail".

Sounds bad, right? Maybe.

The obnoxious spending/bailout efforts of government may be successful in keeping the house from falling. The debt incurred, dampened by inflation over time, may not cause the implosion that appears to be on the horizon. Government may be able to tackle the problems in healthcare and properly police private industry.

The strong optimist in me can't seem to look at this situation with optimism though. All of these governmental efforts just seem to be postponing what appears to be the inevitable. This economic house must fall because it is a false one. It will fall. It must fall. The key is how to minimize the damage.

The current trend toward more government - more programs, more control, etc. The majority of the people seem to welcome it. I'm not sure why - paranoia? ignorance?

President Obama does not seem to get the way a capitalist economy works. The success of this country isn't built with government. It isn't built with the common man. It's built by the wealthy - the business owners and the investors. Without these people, there are no jobs, no taxes for government wield, and no prosperity. Yes, there are abuses of power. Yes, the wealthy often seem to be wealthy to excess. Those are "cons" opposite the long list of "pros" in capitalism. Capitalism isn't perfection, but it's the best system we have.

We need to let our capitalist system work. It's the only way. Sure there needs to be checks and balances against the corporate world and I guess I'm OK with government playing a leading role. In the words of Ronald Reagan, "Trust, but verify."

Ramble, ramble, ramble...

This blog post is all over the place, but there's a reason. America, its government, and its economy is a mess. It's failing and the people trying to fix it are just making it worse. The solution to many of these problems is less government and more capitalism, not the opposite trend of more government and less capitalism.