Friday, December 12, 2008

A Booming Bust

It seems every time I read something about the economy it just keeps getting worse. More unemployment, the housing collapse isn’t improving, and the incredible expense of our idiotic nation building isn’t helping. Of course the defense industry is booming but that is only good for little pockets around this sad-sack nation. I’m no economist but one thing I do know is that a nation that doesn’t manufacture anything is doomed economically. We don’t manufacture much of anything anymore. In fact, I would say we have been sliding downhill for years now with the exodus of manufacturing companies to nations across the seas. I don’t think much of Obama’s ideas for fixing the economy or at least what I have read about it. Rebuilding the infrastructure is fine as far as it goes but it doesn’t go very far. That war is good for an economy is bullshit, just look around you. We are waging war on at least three fronts, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq but the economy is a bust. If Obama can figure out a way to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. we might see some improvement but that will take time and I seriously doubt that Obama has the guts to go against his task masters who certainly have no interest in preserving the middle classes.

When industry leaves an area that area soon collapses economically like much of the North Eastern seaboard. The town I was born in, Utica, New York, is a perfect example. In the 19th century it was a center for the textile industry and later in the 20th century had a tool and die industry as well as General Electric. However when those industries relocated to the South East their local economy never recovered.


Like many industrial towns and cities in the northeastern Rust Belt, Utica has experienced a major reduction in manufacturing activity in the past several decades, and is in serious financial trouble; many public services have been curtailed to save money. Suburban Utica, particularly the towns of New Hartford and Whitesboro, have begun to experience suburban sprawl; this is common in many Upstate New York cities, which are suffering from what the Sierra Club termed "sprawl without growth," although recently notable efforts have been made to revitalize the Downtown and Oneida Square areas of Utica by planning the construction of quality apartment housing. The city's economy is heavily dependent on commercial growth in its suburbs, a trend that is characterized by development of green sites in neighboring villages and does little to revitalize the city itself. Because of the decline of industry and employment in the post-World War II era, Utica became known as "The City that God Forgot." In the 1980s and early 1990s, some of Utica's residents could be seen driving cars with bumper stickers that read "Last One Out of Utica, Please Turn Out The Lights," clearly taking a more humorous stand on their city's rapid population loss and continued economic struggles.

Most other industrialized nations like those in Europe have safety nets for their people in times of economic woes but not so here in the U.S. for when times are booming everything is fine for most of the middle classes but when times are bust there is no worse place on the face of the planet to be than here in the pull yourself up by the boot straps country. And of course when things are bad for the middle classes you can bet it is even worse for the poor as programs are cut which no doubt will be some of Obama’s “hard choices.” Obama will bail out the wealthy, that’s his job of course, but the poor and the middle classes are sure to get left behind in the dust. As for Congress, don’t make laugh, with gold plated tin gods like Pelosi I wouldn’t look for any help from that quarter. In the end what might start the U.S. down the road to economic recovery would be for the federal government to invest in the working middle classes, monetary stimulus to develop new manufacturing and industrialization to provide real jobs, jobs that manufacture goods that people need like cars, refrigerators, toasters, clothes, and what have you. It may not be as romantic as building bunker busters and hand grenades but it would at least be practical. Too bad our “government” won’t even consider such things, it’s a lot more fun to murder brown people in far away exotic lands.


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