Thursday, October 2, 2008
Don't believe the hype? Or do?
I have to say my brain has been in a bit of a tizzy all week. For years our fearless leader and republican nominee have been telling us that our economy is strong and stable. The American people are whiners. There is no recession. Now suddenly the economy is falling apart and things haven't been this bad since the Depression. Only a $700 billion bail out can solve the problem. I am scratching my head wondering what is the truth. I am always super skeptical of politicians (more of some than others), but how could there be this huge discrepancy. I am listening to other sources. Many congressional members and senators -- including many I support - seem to think a bail out is necessary. Others, think this bailout sucks. As well, there is a large group of economists who think this particular bail out is a bad idea and we need to look to other possibilities to save the economy. I am finding myself leaning towards the 'it sucks' folks who tending to be very conservative republicans I usually disagree with (see, my confusion).
Now, I consider myself an intelligent semi well informed person, but frankly a lot of this I don't understand. I have heard numerous news stories attempting to explain why we are in this huge mess and my rather fiscally conservative brain doesn't understand. I guess the lure of making huge amounts of money. And the knowledge that no matter what happened down the road you would probably be able to keep a good portion of that money swayed people in power to make decisions that benefited them but weren't so good in the long run? And what should we do? Well, giving those same people a huge pot of money to correct the problem, that feels like a very bad idea.
BUT, I also feel like we're in the huge mess of hype, from the media and from the politicians. And at this point, no matter what the reality of the financial system and the financial bail out, if the bail out doesn't pass, maybe we're screwed. Maybe people have gotten themselves in such turmoil, that the ecomony will enter a downwards spiral if we don't pass a bad bail out package.
I heard from a friend at Washington Mutual, that though they were doing badly, they probably could have held on. However, all the talk of them falling apart led to a huge rush on the bank. The resulting withdrawals expedited or caused their final demise. Maybe it's the same thing happening with the economy, if we weren't all so freaked out, it wouldn't be so bad?
I have found myself this last week going about my life wondering why everything seems to normal. People are going to the gym, going to work, going shopping. I seem to have this idea in my mind that we are in crisis. People shouldn't have jobs. They shouldn't have the money to go shopping because our economy is in tatters. Yet in reality, my life hasn't really changed at all or not much.
I don't really have an answer for this blog, but I am so frustrated by the media and the politicians and not knowing what to believe. How could our economy be slowing but sound and suddenly explode without anyone knowing or talking about it? Or was I just not listening properly?