The country is in an economic mess. That’s not a term from the textbooks, but a mess it is. The unemployment rate stands above 9 percent almost two years after the recession officially ended. This anemic recovery is predicted to last another year at least.
The Federal Reserve has painted itself into a corner, trapped with little to show for its expansionist monetary policies except higher inflation. Normally, at this stage of a recovery, the Fed would be raising interest rates (as it did in 2004) but the huge federal deficit (still growing) and level of outstanding debt prevents any talk of rate hikes.
Congress is in the same corner of economic policy uselessness. Its expansionist spending policies have also produced no result, except for more debt. Moreover, there’s a good argument that the spending itself has slowed the recovery. The deficit problem has our politicians debating debt ceilings, spending cuts and default on government obligations. All of this makes for good cable news talking points, but does nothing to address the real economic problems.
Medicare and Medicaid costs are out of control and President Barack Obama’s healthcare industry reform legislation looks more and more like the disaster its opponents predicted. The Dodd-Frank financial industry reform bill now appears more hurtful than helpful with little in its 2,000-plus pages aimed at preventing another banking crisis in the future.
Energy policy is aimed at stemming any sources of energy production except those designated as renewable fuels. But this promotion of wind, sun and bio fuels (ethanol) as replacements for fossil-based fuels is a fantasy, and a dangerous one at that; higher energy prices do not support faster economic growth.
Nothing exemplifies the sheer folly and self centered lunacy of our government better than policies affecting light bulbs and spare tires. As of 2014, retail outlets can only carry florescent light bulbs. The new bulbs will last much longer (maybe) supposedly making them more economic and energy efficient. As for spare tires, auto manufacturers are under intense political pressure (augmented by regulatory edict), to build cars with more fuel efficiency. Since weight is a factor in fuel usage, say goodbye to the spare tire.
Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
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Write to Gerryk3001@yahoo.com.