When did I wake up in Europe? I want to go home, to the USA that I remember. 9.2% unemployment is for France and Italy. I’ve been to these countries — nice places to visit — but not to work hard and get ahead. High unemployment is cultural, normal, systematic.
Is Germany the new USA? It’s the only European country doing well. Germany has pride and strength of purpose. Germany has its fiscal house together.
Is the USA becoming the next France? Jobs for government workers, modest jobs security for those with jobs, and very few prospects for the unemployed and for recent college graduates.
The fixes for our current economic mess are not rocket science. I agree with Bill Clinton’s recent comments… the corporate tax rate needs to be reduced. The U.S. government needs to reduce the self-employment tax that is a huge drain on U.S. small businesses. Congress and the Administration need to encourage, rather than stymie, domestic oil and natural gas production. Finally, an intervention is needed to halt Washington’s latest spending bender. Washington has been drunk behind the wheel of a massive M1 tank, trying to drive the economy, whilst drifting lane to lane and taking out the odd car here and there. That tank, fueled by 14+ trillion of debt, is about to find the price of fuel is about to rise.
Now is not the time for platitudes, or experiments. Now is the time for prudent action.
I am sad that the Space Shuttle is being retired. Such action is merely a symbol of where the US Government, en masse, sees the USA heading. This need not be the case. The US, as a whole, has all that we need to succeed. We are are free, independent, creative, and motivated. The US has shown repeatedly the resilience to challenge adversity and thrive. Why so few lawmakers can see this — communicate this — is baffling to me. Are they simply economically ignorant? Or indifferent?
Until some economically sane action emerges from Washington, I am hedging my personal finances. I’m positioning against the real possibility of long-term, government-sponsored inflation. I’m factoring in the likelihood of the government CPI (CPI-U Urban Consumer Price Index) understating true inflation and overstating the real US GDP.
There is a chance, a glimmer of a chance, that the current debt ceiling negotiations will lead to economically sound changes. I think the chances of that are less than 20%. I will watch closely and act accordingly.