- Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 00:00
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It’s not a depression, the economic situation in our country isn’t grave enough for that designation, but it could well be called the recession that never ends.
Technically, if you go by the book, a recession is when the nation’s gross domestic product, the sum of all we make, produce and spend, declines two quarters in a row. By this definition the recession ended in 2009. However, with sluggish growth, high unemployment and a continuing decline in housing prices, it sure doesn’t feel like it. For many, the “recovery” is just a nice word they use in Washington. The reality
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 00:00
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Nineteen years ago, in the run up to election ’92, the Democratic Party, or so it seemed at the time, offered a weak field of candidates in the primaries. The stronger candidates were a former senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas, and the governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton. For many, as one Democratic pollster put it, “it was a throw away election.” No one, or so went the popular wisdom, could beat George Bush. After the U.S. victory in Desert Storm in 1991 his approval rating had soared into the 80 percent range. However, as we all know, George Bush lost that election and the reason why can be offered in a few words on a placard in Bill Clinton’s campaign headquarters, “it’s the economy, stupid.”
In 1992, going into the general election, while we were technically coming out of a recession, things were still slow, houses weren’t selling, and, most of all, 7.4 percent of the workforce was unemployed. In retrospect, compared to today’s economy, that doesn’t seem so bad, but it was enough to cost a sitting president his job.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 00:00
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The United States, for all the woes of our current economy, for all the worry we have about China eclipsing us as a world power, is still, going away, the world’s largest economy. We employ over 139 million people and generate a staggering Gross Domestic Product of $14.8 Trillion. These are encouraging numbers. But behind this massive economic engine is a government that is very close to defaulting on its own financial obligations.
If the government were a business, we might be able to work out a deal with our creditors or perhaps even declare bankruptcy. But that’s not an option. Our creditors are far too numerous, our debts too big, and as for bankruptcy, we can’t do that either. Even states hardly ever do that. In fact, only one state in our nation’s history, Arkansas, during the height of the Great Depression, has ever declared bankruptcy. For governments, it’s just not an alternative.
So, what exactly do we do when the debt ceiling, our own internal permission to borrow, runs out? The logical course might be to extend that limit and cover your bills. But that’s not the way this is playing
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 00:00
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Historically, religion and Presidential politics have never been that far apart. Thomas Jefferson, never one to follow the crowd, took some heat for his views on religion. In fact, he was so free thinking, that he even wrote his own version of the Bible.
Abraham Lincoln, while a deeply religious man, was criticized for not aligning himself with a particular denomination. In his era, to many, this was deeply disturbing. A century later, John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, had to convince a still skeptical America, that, “…he wouldn’t be taking his orders from the Pope.”
In 1976, Jimmy Carter introduced America to yet another religious phenomenon. Carter was a born again Christian. 35 years ago, for many, particularly the media, this was a new concept. Now, in 2012, there is a new religious twist in American politics. Two of the leading
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 15:09
- Published on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 15:09
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As I write this I am looking at one of the most unusual and now most treasured gifts I could have asked for. It’s a small, finely detailed model of a ship. And no, it’s not an aircraft carrier, a battleship, a destroyer, or a minesweeper. It’s a survey ship called the U.S.S. Sumner. My Dad served on it during World War II and his memories of that ship, and his time as a member of its crew, were some of the most precious of his life. My Dad died 25 years ago and I have tried over the years to keep some of the memories of this quirky, but beloved little ship alive.
Of course, there isn’t much left to go on. The post war draw down was fast and the Sumner was scrapped in 1946. Save for some photos, and a wonderful ship’s
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 00:00
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There is one stark reality about our current economic situation. Namely, that you don’t have to be out of work to be living on the edge. And what’s more, the number of people teetering on that edge seems to growing larger and larger. True, the economy may be recovering, but for many, the normal sense of security that comes with an improving economic situation remains elusive.
For some, living on the edge has been “situation normal” for most of their working lives. Often, they’re simply called the working poor. Most are hard to count since few are on any kind of relief or assistance. Many work at jobs that pay more than minimum wage, but not much more. They