Just What We Needed: Bigger Government, Stalled Recovery, and More Ridiculous Spin
The Stimulus might be the economy's only saving grace? Really, MarketWatch? Is that the official line you would like to go with? I point whichever MarketWatch rats put this little story together to this piece of evidence which clearly shows the Stimulus to be a FAIL, at least going by projections made before its passage in February of this year.
A reasonable person who hasn't been slipped a bit of the Kool-aid that has everyone seeing green shoots might seek to debunk this theory... so let's do just that, shall we?
The U.S. economy will begin to grow again in the next few months, most economists agree, but it may not feel like much of an improvement to the millions who've lost their jobs, businesses or homes.
By almost all accounts, the recovery from the worst recession in several generations will be sluggish for the next year or two or three, with the economy firing on just one cylinder - the Bernanke-Obama stimulus.
Even the most optimistic analysts believe it will be a tough slog for the economy.
The usual sources of growth seem missing: Consumers are paying down debts, businesses aren't investing, and foreign markets are deep in recession. Any growth this year is likely to come from the government's stimulus spending and from the turn of the inventory cycle, but those are temporary factors that will fade.
I hate to piss in everyone's Cheerios here (oh who am I kidding? No I don't) but one cylinder is not enough. It is sad that I should even have to point this out.
This leads me to infer that there is really only one likely result; everyone you know will work for the continually-growing United States government and state rights will be eroded as bankrupted municipalities reach in desperation to Washington for a handout.
This scenario is dangerous. Not just to my libertarian sensibilities that tell me I most certainly do not want to live in the sort of world where 4 out of 5 friends work for the government but as we have learned by watching the FDIC dance with the Fed and Treasury, moral hazard combined with Washington stupidity produces noxious fumes detrimental to the health of any potential "recovery."
Via NYT (interesting, too, not just because I'm a Wisconsin girl with an entirely inexplicable loathing towards Minnesota coded into my DNA somewhere), what incentive do states have to exercise their rights to a reasonable state of fiscal affairs when the federal government helicopter is about to make a drop?
Still, some of the efforts to reshape government have faltered or faded away. In some cases, the arrival of federal stimulus money (“spackle,” in the words of one budget expert, to patch the most immediate cracks in the state budget) seemed to have quieted the calls for wholesale government restructuring. Elsewhere, efforts to make drastic changes were overwhelmed by more immediate fiscal woes.
As the MarketWatch article points out, when speaking about recovery, we must define what we mean. The "experts" are referring to a shift in performance; the line "things are falling apart but not falling apart as badly as they were" might be a familiar example of this idea at work. To the common asshat unacquainted with the esoterica known only to initiates that is economics (copyright 2009 Zimbabwe Ben Bernanke and yes I'm totally stealing that line, ZB - you've stolen my wealth so it's a fair trade, not that you'd know anything about that), of course, "recovery" implies an obvious sense that things are getting better.
Either way you look at it, it's bad. Even the "experts" have now been forced to reluctantly admit as much. Sort of.
Point being, what the mainstream media and powers-that-be seem unable to grasp is the fact that without a fundamental overhaul of the sickened systems which bred this economic infection, we're relegated to the same fate over and over and over and... until what? This might be our last opportunity to get this one right - the United States would do itself well to consider muscle-flexing preening taking place in Russia, China, and of course at the IMF (likely with the help of our own Tim Geithner, though I would never suggest as much without evidence) against the dollar as legitimate.
But how could they possibly manage that when they find their own ridiculous behavior to be legitimate?
Case in point. Goldman Sachs' Stephen Friedman (or NY Fed's Stephen Friedman, depending on how bad you want to make him look, though he has since abandoned his FRBNY post) likely finds his behavior to be absolutely appropriate. He may even get incredulous a la AIG's Edward Liddy and imply that he is actually performing a public service. They just don't get it.
Neither does our fearless leader. But I'm glad the statistics are at least working out in President Obama's favor for the moment. Oh wait, what?
Deny, deny, deny...