…the sun is about to set.

Sign says 'The only time politicians tell the truth is when they call each other liars'. Caption says '2008 Election FAIL - Signs like this did not appear in past elections, but they are appearing now. What does this tell you?'

As you already know, I had little to say about the 2008 US presidential election because, then as now, I regarded both of the candidates, and all their pomps and all their works, as beneath comment.

Who's More Trustworthy - Obama or McCain? Vote Now - Caption says 'Damage Control FAIL - Psychopath Versus Psychopath - When the Only Alternative is Emigration'

Even before the election, it was obvious to me that the winning candidate would someday deeply regret having run for that office. Let me go on record that I stand by that prediction.

Photo of a septic pumper truck with license plate 'POO PMPR'. Text on truck: 'CAUTION: Vehicle may be Transporting Political Promises!' Caption: 2008 Election FAIL - Once both major party primaries have been stolen and nearly every candidate corrupted, the general election is but an empty distraction.

It has often been claimed that no one can win a thermonuclear war. Be that as it may, there is no question that it is easy enough to lose one! In similar fashion, becoming president of the US at this time is just as clearly a no-win scenario for the perpetrator and all his retinue.

Screen shot of WaMu website after takeover by JPMorganChase. Caption: Bank FAIL - The house of cards is down.

Despite all the empty promises from both sides, there is simply nothing that any US president could do at this point to effect a recovery. A recovery would have to happen on its own, and every day that goes by, it seems that we have less and less to build on, in terms of civil and industrial infrastructure, a functioning civil society, and an informed citizenry.

Screen shot of RTE News showing a map of the state of Georgia in the US accompaning a story about the nation of Georgia in the Caucasus. Caption: Geography FAIL - What do they teach in journalism school, anyway?

The mass media and what we call our educational system seem to be doing everything they can to keep the citizenry from figuring out what their supposed betters are about. Oh, and by the way, everything I have just said about the plight of the US goes double for the EU.

The scope of the problem

See for yourself what already happened to a part of the US that lost its productive capacity:

With trees growing up through abandoned buildings, large parts of Detroit have already come to resemble scenes from the grim speculative documentary Life After People.

By now, the US economic decline has spread far beyond Detroit and the Rust Belt.

Think about it: When was the last time you saw the label “Made in USA” on any product, good or bad?

And no, it is not possible to sustain a “service economy” without a viable manufacturing infrastructure. Not that there is a service economy to sustain – the real estate bubble has already burst, the remains of our financial sector are being artificially propped up with money that we do not have and cannot earn, and much of our service sector employment has already been outsourced! It should surprise no one that the unemployment picture is considerably worse than the official figures would lead us to believe (see The really, really bad news about the unemployment rate). Newspapers throughout the US report that state and local tax revenues are shrinking due to declining income and property values.

What is left?

I recently heard yet another self-styled pundit of the US employment scene recommending three areas where there still seem to be some jobs for Americans. The only available jobs are in health care, education, and government work – because they cannot be outsourced.

Wow.

Will someone please explain to me who is going to pay for this health care, education, and government work? Does anyone care to predict what will happen after we go into debt to educate the next generation, knowing that there will be no jobs for them after they finish school?


Where do we go from here?

Good question.

And yes, I do have an answer! My point in posting this is that we need to understand exactly what our problems are, and the true extent of our difficulties, before we can even begin to address them.

What’s the next step? We need to stop wasting tax dollars on bailing out Wall Street. Instead, we need to bring our industrial base back to the US. We need to repeal the tax laws and ever-proliferating regulations that have been strangling US businesses or driving them overseas. We need to make it much simpler and more cost-effective for businesses, especially smaller businesses, to provide jobs for US citizens. That’s the only government “stimulus package” that will work.

No, it is not all under our control. But we can keep the faith and do our best to help each other. As Bishop Antoun of the Antiochian Orthodox Church recently told us, “The Lord will provide.”


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Bryan March 3, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Excellent post and points all around.

You’re one of the 1st people I’ve heard (outside my immediate circle of peers) that actually ‘gets it’ regarding the relationship between industrial/manufacturing capacity and wealth generation.

There are only 3 ways to generate wealth in an economy: Exploit a natural resource (e.g. oil), agriculture, and manufacturing. That’s it. All the talk of ‘transitioning to a service economy’ as we shed manufacturing jobs like it’s no big deal is foolish beyond the pale, and I thank you for pointing that out.

Take care,
Bryan

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