It looks like most of use can look forward to working another five years--thanks to yesterday's stock market plunge. Hopefully in those five extra years of having to wake up at 2:45 am they will perfect the technology for me to actually do the news from my bed--napping between updates. You would think that after 13 years I would be accustomed to getting up that early--but you never get used to it.
Anyway, it looks like the economic recovery is farther away than many of us thought it was--especially those at the White House. Yesterday's drop--based on the economic "experts" you listen to--was due to either the debt ceiling increase bill being approved, expectations that today's new unemployment report is going to be worse than everyone expected or the continuing debt crisis in Europe.
I guess it's telling that those who rely on Wall Street for their livelihoods are running for the hills because of the debt ceiling plan. My guess is they agree with the hardline fiscal conservatives that we have actually fixed nothing--and that perhaps having a debt to GDP ratio worse than 1-to-1 is not a sound economic strategy.
As far as unemployment goes, I'm not sure what we are supposed to be looking for on the horizon to give employers reason to expand their workforces. Penalties for not providing health insurance to employees? Increased tax rates because corporations are "greedy"? Villainization in all of the recall ads? I was talking with some local business owners at Waterfest last night and they were almost afraid to show their faces in the midst of so many "hardworking Wisconsin familymembers".
And then there is the European Debt Crisis. If my retirement security is going to be tied to the financial stability of France, Spain and Cyprus--then it might be time to start living fast and dying young. Entitlements are so entrenched in the European culture that it will likely take all out war to pry them away from those on the dole. Historians always thought World War Three would be fought to contain Communist expansion. It may turn out being fought to reduce Socialist influence.
Back in November of 2008 I wrote a My Two Cents piece about the Presidential election debunking the analogy from the left that it was 1980 all over again. I wrote that we were actually reliving 1976 again--and that the worst was yet to come. All we need now is Muslim radicals to take a few dozen hostages and for President Obama to give a televised speech lecturing us on how we need to get out of our "national malaise" and how we should just put on another sweater this winter. 1980 can't come fast enough.