Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bad Economy Blues Part II

Krugman's column in the NYTimes today is worth reading -- well, it almost always is, but today especially.  He's talking about the need for more stimulus.  The bit that's been done already has helped some, and, as Krugman admits in the column, that's nice; but nowhere near enough.

What I keep hearing from Washington is one of two arguments: either (1) the stimulus has failed, unemployment is still rising, so we shouldn’t do any more, or (2) the stimulus has succeeded, G.D.P. is growing, so we don’t need to do any more. The truth, which is that the stimulus was too little of a good thing — that it helped, but it wasn’t big enough — seems to be too complicated for an era of sound-bite politics.

Of course, we've got the Teabag fringe, wailing (now, not when Bush was running us into debt paying for that useless war) about how our grandchildren will be SADDLED with DEBT!!!1!; but, as Krugman also notes, this is classic pennywise thinking.

Deficit hawks like to complain that today’s young people will end up having to pay higher taxes to service the debt we’re running up right now. But anyone who really cared about the prospects of young Americans would be pushing for much more job creation, since the burden of high unemployment falls disproportionately on young workers — and those who enter the work force in years of high unemployment suffer permanent career damage, never catching up with those who graduated in better times.

And, as I'll point out, to anyone who isn't living in that Winger alt.world (we'll just make up the planet we want to live in, where global climate change isn't happening, and the Iraq War is being won, and Reagan Was a Great President), things are dire out here in the actual world. Yesterday I had the third student of this semester alone drop out of school b/c she could no longer afford to be a student.  This one was a junior -- the other two had been underclassmen.

Rent and debt and food and health costs and fuel prices are so high these students are not able to stay in school.  It's not tuition.  It's the cost of living.  My freshman who quit mid-semester said he just couldn't spare the time off work.  (He works at Sonic, by the way.)

We're eating our seed corn.  For what?  To pay for a useless war?  To make health insurance executives even richer?  To prop up some demented old white guy's notion of what this country should be?

When will this be enough?

1 comment:

tonkelu said...

My mother is buying our groceries this month so that we can provide our son with a few mediocre birthday presents (her idea, I didn't ask). Otherwise, I'm not sure what we would've done- take out a credit card and go into debt, I suppose. Or maybe I could hock my engagement ring? I'm sure as hell not going to tell my almost 7-year old that we can't afford to celebrate his birthday.

We pay our bills on time. Live a fairly healthy lifestyle. We play by all the rules yet we- like so very many families out there- are struggling to take care of basic expenses. We're both trying to find part time jobs so that we don't have to accept charity from our parents, eat tomato soup every night for dinner (we pretty much did that last week) or develop ulcers when we think about how close we are to the brink of financial disaster. But the jobs are few and far between and people like us aren't really the ideal candidates for part time jobs. Why? Because the companies know that as soon as the economy improves, as soon as our financial situation improves, we'll probably leave thus wasting their time and resources. Yet I've filled out five more applications tonight because I have to try.

I've had enough. I'm not sure what world the Wingers are living in but, damn, I wish they'd make room for me because THEIR version of how everything is hunky dory right now is a lot nicer than my nasty version of reality.