Saturday, December 06, 2008

I Wonder... Is It Already Too Late?

"There's no money in poetry, but then, there's no poetry in money either."

-Robert Graves

Well, as of this past week, The National Bureau of Economic Research, has made it official... we are in a recession. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I have been saying that we were for months and months. But while it didn't come as any surprise to me, it seems like it did to President Bush. I wonder if it really did? How could it have? He had more access to information regarding the economy then you and I did, and yet, we got the same old tired lie... the economy is sound. The economy is doing a fine job. And wasn't that the biggest clue of all? Every time he says everything is ok, I run for cover. I am jaded... I admit it. But how can I possibly avoid it? Time after time we have had to endure his delusions and lies, and the outcome has always been total devastation.

So now we find ourselves with the irrefutable truth, staring us down. What happens next? We have been in a recession since the first of the year, could it be that we are actually in a depression, rather then a recession? Maybe we just aren't saying it. Could that possibly be? There are some scary statistics out there right now. 500,000 more people lost their jobs last month, and if the big 3 automakers fail, it will bring that much more devastation to an already over burdened unemployment system. What a mess.

I wish I knew how to feel about the probable Big 3 bailout. I can see both sides of the issue. If we bail them out, why not keep going with the love? Why not bailout the stores that I love, which are heading down the road of bankruptcy? November saw some mighty dismal sales figures, and while Black Friday posted higher then expected spending, I have seen the empty spaces at the malls here in the Bay Area, and I have to tell you, I don't remember having so much ease at finding a place to park, especially during the holiday season. It's a little spooky. I went to Target last Thursday to pick up some Christmas lights for our tree, and there were only 3 aisles devoted to holiday decorations, as opposed to the 9 or 10 aisles just last year. The prices were at least %30 higher as well. Less to choose from, at higher prices. Not good.

My heart goes out to the autoworkers. Their industry has been hit hard since the 80's. The average guy working a line making automobiles have very little to do with the stupid, greedy decisions being made by the top management. It's heartbreaking. On one hand I support the worker, but on the other hand I cannot support yet another bailout of greed and mismanagement. Alan and I watch the news at night, and we both wrestle with the issue. His point of view is that enough is enough. We have already seen waste of the original money given out to bailout banking. I never thought giving Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke free reign was a good idea, and I even mentioned that tight oversight and accountability needed to be in place. But do they listen to me? LOL. How would the money given to automakers be managed?

I fear that with a similar bailout of the auto industry, comes the waste we have already seen. It didn't particularly impress me that they drove to Washington to make their case. It didn't really impress me that they are willing to work for a token salary of $1. Nothing about what's happened has impressed me. All I know is that if the auto industry fails, and all those folks are forced out of work, it will be even more devastating for our country. I am beginning to think that we are in a depression, and no one is saying the word. DEPRESSION. If we have really hit bottom, or are about to, the good news is that there is only one direction we can go on from there. Hopefully.

So tell me, what do you think? Did it come as a surprise that we are officially in a recession? Do you think it is already too late to turn the economy around? Do you think we are poised to fall into a financial depression? How do you feel about the proposed bailout of the automakers? Tell me what you think. Opinions, opinions.

"The End Of The Day"
Pacific Grove, California
November 15th, 2008


Julie said...

When prices for things get so artificially inflated it is inevitable that a crash will follow. So no, I am not surprised and actually think we have been in a recession for a decades. We were starting to recover briefly, but will now start the true crash.

A great book talks objectively about the last depression. It is called the Forgotten Man. The New Deal they did back then which was suppose to create so many jobs actually prolonged the depression for 8 more years. And we look to be going to do the same things.

So I think things are going to be getting much worse for quite awhile. My opinion. Hope I am wrong. But I am stocking up on things.

Sandra said...

I will tell you it scares me.... I remember what my mother said about the depression etc and what life was like.... you were rich if you had a job period and you had better keep it too,.... I think they should help the auto co but put some restrictions on it not like the banks... they said the banks will be called back to let them know how they are spending the money is not tolerated but I wonder if that is too late? they got billions more than the auto co wants and they don't seem to be giving any loans... its just a shame it got to this isn't it

MyMaracas said...

I've been thinking for some time that a depression could be in the cards. As distasteful as bailouts are, the alternative could indeed be more thousands out of work, plus the permanent loss of manufacturing capacity. We live in interesting times.

Suzanne R said...

I think it's scary, too. A depression is a definite possibility, in my mind. That would not mean good things for me or my business, let alone a lot of other people.

The problem with bailing out the automakers is that people are feeling the economic pinch too much to buy new cars, so it would just be a very expensive bandaid. I don't know what the answer is but I hope that Obama is a miracle worker. Bush sure isn't.

Martha said...

When they officially announced that we are in a recession I thought "well, duhhh!" It's been quite obvious for anyone that pays more attention to life than the news. Yes, I think we are at the beginning of a depression, and I think it will hit us really hard. We are all so spoiled, even those of us who don't have much, and very few of us know how to survive without money. I know I was considered an alarmist when I started planting the fruit tress and embarking on learning how to grow my own veggies when I mentioned that I was doing it because of the economy and where it might lead. I just hope and pray things don't get as bad as I think they will.

Linda's World said...

Yes, it's a little scary but hopefully it won't be like it was in the late 1930's. I'm on Social Security and have a small pension from the hospital where I retired from. So I have no opportunity for overtime for a little extra. The only thing I could do is get a part time job somewhere. But after 47 years of working the thought of that makes me ill. Being home everyday, I am able to make the dollars stretch farther than when I was working. Cooking differently, no need for new clothes, and even though gas is much cheaper I still don't run around in the car everyday. So there are ways to be thrifty. I just posted an entry & included a video of my little kitty. Hope you'll stop by and watch her video. Linda in Washington state

Celeste said...

I think it is very scary, but it was very predicted long before it was declared by many people.

Ours is a society that was living on way too much credit. Rather than let the economy self correct, our government seems willing to bail out the greed...and so what endpoint? Although I feel for the people that would lose their jobs if the big 3 were allowed to go into bankruptcy, why support an industry that is over-grown and over-inflated? I hate hearing that money, that was potentially targeted towards technology development is now being diverted to an industry that refused to see the writing on the wall and insists upon being grounded to the "old way." We so desperately need a new way.

There are no easy answers. I think we need to stop digging out of our past and start investing in the future -- a future without reliance a fossil fuels, a future that pays attention to the greenhouse effect, a future that keeps our children (and I don't have any....), in mind. We need to start investing in a new way, because the status quo is what got us into this mess. Just my opinion this Sunday afternoon.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I started hollering recession a year ago. Now I think and it is just my opinion..we are in a depression. The yuppies and their bad use of Credit during the Clinton Administration is now being felt. I support no bail outs what so ever. Let the chips fall where they may. Bail outs or "loans" will only pour salt on an already open wound. People will be homeless, jobless, and hungry. I believe it will hit bottom sometime in the next 2 years..longer if there are bailouts. I think you have to stock up on the things you know you will need, and it might be time to think about a garden, hunting and fishing just to survive. I feel sorry for my children and especially for my grandchildren. I will survive this..but will they? It is a hard lesson to learn..overspending and credit. But until it is learned there is no way out til you hit bottom. One thing that worries me, crime will be on the increase, people will be stealing food..some already are in this area. Soon we won't be able to leave our homes because we won't know what will be missing when we come back. It is sad:(

Liz said...

No country stands alone in the modern global marketplace. We can now see the evidence that proves the beating of a butterfly's wings can have an effect on the other side of the world and I for one am not 'sending to know for whom the bell tolls.'
I hope that the recession does not become a depression, as the effect would be truly devastating to the whole world.
I send my best wishes to you all in these difficult times from across The Pond and in words that do not make any money I will continue to write and combat the effects of stress that money cannot begin to address.