Obama expands his job stimulus plan, moving the goalposts from 2 to 3 million jobs to be created over a 2 year period. There are a few things that don't add up in this. First, these are largely jobs that cost the US economy money, instead of making it richer. And that economy is already so broke that any more additional costs will weigh heavily on it. Second, the expectations for the numbers of jobs lost in the economy are rising towards a cruel, eye-popping and devastating 1 million per month for 2009, and likely beyond. Creating 3 million jobs while a potential 24 million will be lost, it's not a very reassuring statistic.
Besides, it puts the US in a category of economies that has members in the likes of Bulgaria before the Berlin wall came down. State run, inefficient, and most of all doomed to fail. The trillions of dollars spent so far to "rescue" the utterly bankrupt US banking industry have not created a single job. The billions thrown carelessly and with eyes closed at the automotive industries of America and Canada will not save one single job either. They'll just move the problem ahead for a few months, leaving Obama, as the proverbial patsy, to face an insurmountable issue that may well prove too much for him, perhaps as early as next year.
Still, all that could be forgiven if the current and incoming administrations would tackle the one problem that nobody dares stand up to: Toxic Assets. All of the money spent so far, all the trillions, every penny of it, will be a complete waste if these assets are not forced out of their closets. Everybody talks about the need to restore markets by restoring trust and confidence. Well, Mr. Obama, here is your key to reviving that trust. Find your own Elliott Ness, this one specialized in derivatives, get him the people he wants and needs, and start raiding the banks' vaults, and the hedge funds, and the pension funds. Force it all out into the open. Refuse to give them even one more nickel, until all of it is on the table. All of it, not just some of it. If that doesn't happen, the US economy will not recover, because there will be no trust and no confidence.
Would be nice, right? Well, don't count on it. The man behind the curtain of Obama’s financial team is Robert Rubin, and his proxies are the likes of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. These guys have one goal in mind only: to let the firms, and the very culture, that enriched them and provided them their lifestyle and friends, their yachts and mansions, and the power they so enjoy, endure. Even though they are smart enough to understand that that culture is gone, broke, bankrupt and dead, this is still the sole thing they will work towards. And they will do so at the expense of hard-working or no-longer working ordinary people.
An era is over. We have been the last of the affluent, the carefree and the innocent. Not that we're really all that inncoent, mind you, it was all just pretense all the way, many millions of people have died for our affluence. We just never told ourselves their life stories. They will be our stories soon.
Are you now ready to fight in the streets, to protect your family, to share your meal with the hungry? It’s not about being a leftie, or a softie, and I certainly am neither. It’s about survival. It’s about being smart enough to read the world you live in. The model of the nuclear family will die with the affluence. It’s never been but an aberration. You will, like your ancestors before you, need your family, your friends, and your neighbors.
Life itself is about to come calling.