Monday, September 27, 2010

Recession is Over

The report from a group of economists that the recession is over – in fact has been over for a year now – brought a rude confrontation with reality. It doesn’t feel like the recession is over as millions of people are still out of work. Reaction around the country was quite strong. Who do these people think they are making such a pronouncement when the facts tend to show otherwise! But, then reality sets in. The economic term “recession” has a technical definition that goes something like this: two consecutive quarters of decrease in the gross domestic product (GDP).

Of course, it is a little more complicated than that, but that’s the reality of the thing. For over a year we have had increases in the GDP and even though those increases have been very small, it means that technically the recession is over. Americans have been under the illusion of continued prosperity and economic growth for many years. Coming to grips with the reality of a jobless recovery is a harsh experience indeed. From my perspective, reality really isn’t much fun in this case. There will be no quick return to widespread prosperity.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sarah Palin as a Politician

I am very impressed by how well Sarah Palin is maturing as a politician. (And, I use the word politician in a positive rather than a pejorative sense.) When she first hit the political scene she seemed like a country bumpkin. However, now she is much more sophisticated and has made a number of wise political moves. From my perspective, Sarah Palin is the candidate to beat in the 2012 Republican primaries.

The Tea Party, particularly with the celebrity of Sarah Palin providing a catalyst for its functioning, has had notable success in several primary elections around the country. Palin has built a solid core of supporters all across America which will give her a distinct advantage going into the presidential primary election season.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Obama’s Anti-Colonial Worldview

President Obama seems to struggle to maintain public credibility these days. His enemies seem to have the upper hand particularly when it comes to managing the news cycle. The latest accusation against him I find very interesting. None other than Newt Gingrich, himself a potential presidential candidate, has accused him of having a “Kenyan anti-colonial worldview.” Evidently Obama’s father, who was a native of Kenya, had a tremendous influence on him during his first two years of life. I view this as a frivolous charge.

From my perspective, I hope Obama does have an anti-colonial worldview. Anyone who has bothered to read the Declaration of Independence would note that our fair Republic was born in opposition to the colonial power of the British Empire. Newt Gingrich, who is a trained historian, should know this. His doctoral dissertation was a study of colonial power in Africa. Why he has brought this silly accusation against Obama is a mystery to me and should call into question his fitness for the presidency.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Justice American-Style

Paris Hilton was arrested recently for cocaine possession. She compounded her sin by lying to the police officers that the purse which held the cocaine was not hers. If she was a migrant worker or a kid from the inner cities she would be doing a good stretch in the state penitentiary. But none of that for dear little Paris. She got merely a slap on the wrist, probation and a fine. And of course several hours of community service which will give her plenty of photo opportunities to enhance her career.

From my perspective, it is a real shame that there is not more evenhandedness in American justice. Why should a spoiled little rich kid get radically different treatment than anyone else?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gambling in the Stock Market

Americans are fascinated with making money. In 1884 a European magazine commented on this national characteristic:

“The English, however speculative, fear poverty. The Frenchman shoots himself to avoid it. The American with a million (dollars) speculates to win ten, and if he takes losses takes a clerkship with equanimity. This freedom from sordidness is commendable, but it makes a nation of the most degenerate gamesters in the world.”

Even though this was written 125 years ago, it still seems to describe the American spirit about making money off the stock market. It may explain what has driven us into the economic downturn we are experiencing today.

One of the seven deadly sins of the ancient world was wealth without work. From my perspective, that still applies in modern times. Maybe our society should reject the desire for a quick dollar and go back to work. We’ve had enough of gambling in the market.