Sunday, January 04, 2009

Obama in "oh twelve"

I offer the president elect a campaign slogan for his next election campaign. If Palin is the best the Republicans can do on that occasion, Obama can just stay at his desk and continue sorting out our messes and calming our nerves. But just in case, a bumper sticker may be handy:


A little ambiguous for you? I frankly think the country's fascist hankering, in the form of its now permanent Military Industrial Complex, is resistant to even Barak Obama's persuasions. I fear stimulus only saves economies that are sound except for want of a rational level of confidence...but the US has deeper woes, having run on empty right to the edge of physical exhaustion of some mineral resources and selfdefeating policies involving its intellectual resources. Of only the latter can we even hope for reversal.

I am half way through Greenspan's mea non culpa, Age of Turbulence, and I feel less inclined to hate on the guy than before. He is so much less arrogant than the total pricks like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Dubya with/for whom he worked. The constant surprise to the geek's geek of economics is that anyone took his advice: he claims he never felt anywhere near as confident of macroeconomic forecasts as others who clearly hung on his words...after carefully picking the words they would hang on to. My point is that not even for the smartest of us, do the complexities of our economic world afford any useful transparency. Greenspan only grew more aware of psychology as a determinant of economic outcomes late in his career. Obama is smart and less of an ideologue than Bush league henchmen but the bus is already plunging down the embankment as Obama takes the wheel. Softer landing maybe but only on a lower road. More certainty is not available. I expect that unless someone works a miracle on the ruinous materialism and consumerism that now define American character more than our claimed piety, hard work or intellectual freedom, Obama's hands are tied. We will go on wanting to have more and pay less and history will only accelerate its punishments for our childishness. It is effective politics to work the extreme factions toward the center and to steer middle courses no one faction loves but in which each faction sees some benefit. But compromises between the wishfulness of the entire body politic and fundamental physical limitations of resources are not possible and their simulation by denying reality has been shown to fail painfully.

We hear a clamour, right and left, to borrow on top of our mountain of borrowings so as to fund stimulus programs...yet I hear little of cutting our offensive defense budget. My job would be one lost in such cuts and yet I beg fate to be so good to us. Obama will not stem that flow of money wasted on weapons and world bullying.

In my admittedly dim view, if Obama actually tries to spell out for us just how hard we will have to work and how insecure we are, he will be hated for his message and his reelection in ought-twelve will not be a foregone conclusion.

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