Dear Congress: Do Something
Location: Kirkydu's CAPS Blog
I won't use too many big words or a lot of math here Congress people, I know you have a hard time with that and get offended when you are not the smartest folks in the room, which of course means you act offended a lot.
Yesterday, Ben Bernanke basically said he's going to let loose the monetary hounds at some point soon, again, but not just a couple of them, ALL of them, if you do not do something that creates jobs very quickly. If he does that, it means that by default he is going to pay off America's debts almost exclusively through inflation. If he does that, not only will that make my energy and food even more expensive relative to my income (and I do ok relatively speaking), but it will make my friend Adam right to have bought a lot of physical gold, and I do not really want to have him be right because he is prone to gloat.Bernanke does not really have any choice to using monetary policy to do the best he can if Congress is going to keep doing nothing with fiscal policy on stimulating economic growth you know. It is in fact the Congress' job to help bridge the gap between economic cycles, it always has been, and always will be.
Let me make this easy, that is, spend when things are rough (and therefore by common sense, save when things are good- Bush screwed that one up as he must have forgot we have rainy days). I know, I know, business creates jobs, government doesn't. Blah, blah, blah. That's such rubbish it makes me want to swear, but rubbish is a fun word so I'll use that.If you can not fit it into your ideological dogma, please take a break from that part of your shtick. It IS your job Congress to help fill the gap when things are tough. Do it. Yeah, yeah, I know, you want to keep arguing and let your radio mouth pieces say that Keynes is dead. You know what, you will be dead someday too, so deal with it. Heck, Keynes mentioned death happens to people ("In the long run, we're all dead").
While I agree that having a more balanced budget is a great long term goal, right now, Americans standards of living is falling very noticeably. Maintaining standard of living is the Government's number two job (after protecting us), so please, get to it. If you do not get to it quickly and loudly, I am very afraid, and very certain, we will see more incidents of violence which even now are occurring with too much regularity. Come on, we can not take another State Fair incident here in Wisconsin. Do something to stimulate growth. I have a few ideas at the bottom. You can even say you came up with it, I don't care.
I know, some of you are thinking and saying, but we are having problems because of spending and entitlements. Again blah, blah, blah. Look at the numbers if you are willing and able (willing and able, that is the definition of something is it not). The United States drove into a valley from about 2002 to 2008 without using a nice road down the slope. We just bounced and banged in our nice American made SUV to the bottom bouncing off or rocks all the way down.
Having just gotten back from South Dakota and Wyoming, I can tell you, valleys are cool because you can look up at some neat mountains, but it gets cold and damp down there. We need to get over the mountain at some point to get back onto a nice flat plateau to live. Getting out of valleys is hard though. You have to climb a mountain. A nice road is the best way to get out, but we at least need some nice gloves, rope, hooks or whatever mountain climbers use.
So, right now we are in a valley. We need tools to get back up the mountain. Or, we could build a road. Maybe we do some of both. Hey Congress, send our most skilled people up to survey, then build roads and heck maybe a power plant, water filtration plants and sewers too.
In any case, just to review history, we are here not because of keeping promises to the elderly, sick and the disaffected by economic malaise. We are here because of two unpaid for wars (maybe we needed them, maybe we didn't, I'm not here to argue that), large tax cuts for the rich and special interests (that are NOT stimulating hiring) and a massive financial collapse caused by deregulation. You can look up the numbers, I presume you have a copy of the Congressional Record, it's all in there. If you decide to accept that, then maybe you can act more responsibly and less dogmatically. That is the only reason I bring it up.
One of my high school friends who happens to be a corporate President said we should have had a "run of the mill recession." There is no question what we have instead is a DEPRESSION. In case you doubt we have a depression, since you are on vacation Congress, take some time to talk to people. They are depressed. And, to hammer home the point, keep track of a few things. First, count how many people you talk to are on food stamps. You will find that number is one in three. Also, keep track of how many people are unemployed or very under-employed, that number will be one in five give or take.
Alright, here are my, I mean, your ideas for stimulating growth in America. Put together an infrastructure, energy and water bill that rebuilds the interstates, US Highways (which are beautiful, have you driven 16 in Wyoming), bridges, adds a handful of regional high speed trains where population density dictates, rebuilds the power grid including adding some solar power plants (you have heard that solar is as cheap as natural gas in the southwest now right), revamps sewer systems, adds water filtration plants that focus on recharging water systems and a few solar powered desalinization plants, and adds some communication towers (it's pretty sketchy out there in the west). If you did that almost every skilled person in America would have work and millions more would get trained and have work. What is even better, is that as skilled people got back to work, they would spend. Not just on consumer stuff which would cause more employment, but they would probably hire a few administrative people. The knock on would be tremendous. Now, I know, we have to pay for this. I love your idea of paying for it by getting rid of tax breaks for special interests, hedge fund managers and subsidies to big business. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. In fact, I think if you did a "Rebuild America" bill you could even make the tax brackets permanent. I'm not sure about that, and I promised no big numbers here, but I am pretty sure.
Now, I usually reserve this next admonition for a hitter when the team I coach is down by three runs with the bases loaded and two outs late in the game, but please, Congress, when you get back from your refreshing vacation, DO SOMETHING!