For a Political Princess, lately I’ve been mum on the state of Political affairs. The reason is simple: current politics depresses me.
I’m not disillusioned because I’ve jumped on the Obama Failure Train; I’m disillusioned because that train exists. For a President who has done more in his first year of office since FDR, he’s mainly managed to unite the Right and Left in a never-ending tirade against his Presidency. I’m tired of hearing Republicans talk about how he’s done nothing when it’s their own party who is holding up the line. I also have no tolerance for those on the Left who bought into the Conservative talking-point: “Obama Is A Socialist/Communist/Anarchist/Liberal Overmind,” and are now disappointed he’s not living up to that hype (was no one paying attention to his campaign?).
In fact, I have never seen a sitting Head of State get so much flak since the days of…FDR.
Indeed, the same arguments against the New Deal and Franklin seem to be popping out against Obama–everything from criticisms that he’s a warmonger, to the idea that he’s secretly plotting on taking over America and running it like a dictatorship. The more I read about FDR’s detractors, the more I see how those dissenters haven’t changed their tune in 70 years. Top that off with the fact that the Obama administration is drawing conscious comparisons between the two men (whether it be by TV and web broadcasts to the nation, or emphasis on New-Deal-Esque programs and reforms) and it feels as if the last seven decades never happened. In an era of financial instability, we revert back to our previous era of financial instability, like an adult reverting to her brooding acne-teen self when visiting her mother. Underneath all this angst, all this fear and hate and rage, there is one simple cause: we know jack-squat about how the economy works!
Oh, we fooled ourselves for a while. The prosperous ’90’s harkened back to the roaring ’20’s–a comparison that, in hindsight, should have been a red flag for the coming millennium. Regulation and safety nets were done away with under the idea that unfettered capitalism would bring in unimaginable wealth. And damn them, it did. Greenspan and the economists broke the rules and then declared there were no rules, and the wealth went up and up. It was living life financially day-to-day…which worked until the very reasons for the saftey nets came crashing down. Those in charge took life day-to-day because they had absolutely no ability to think further than one acquisition ahead. The markets collapsed, the bubbles burst, and we came face to face with the knowledge that no one really understood what they were doing. No one. From Goldman Sachs to Greenspan, all admitted they were pretty much making it up as they went along. As talking heads throw around terms and lingo and theories, the only thing that’s clear is that we’re all still in the dark.
For an example, I turn to horses.
You see, the economy is like a Mustang. It is it’s own creature, with hungers and wants and drives and moods that we can understand…up to a point. Then the Mustang, like any wild creature, begins behaving wildly.
And at this point we freeze. Those who would restrain the beast, who would bridle and saddle it and tame it, are told they are wrong, for they will just break its spirit, sap its vitality, and in the end it will wither and die. Those who want to leave it alone and ride freely over the prairie are told they are wrong, as the Mustang will buck it’s rider, kick that rider’s stomach through their spine and run off joyfully as the rider slowly bleeds to death. So we compromise, with reins made of twine, and hold on for dear life. The problem is, there is no blanket rule for dealing with the economy. Just because something worked in the past does not mean it’ll work in the present–just ask Jimmy Carter. Or the Lehman Brothers. Taking care of the economy is like trying to ride a horse, a process any equestrian will tell you takes equal parts skill, luck, and screaming at the stupid thing at the top of your lungs while banging your feet into it’s sides as hard as you can.
It is foolish to think that our prosperity in the past was because we mastered the Mustang…and it is fatal to believe future wealth will be the result of anything other than the horse forgetting we’re on it’s back.
Wow, what a somber post. To make up for it I give you: An Adorable Kitten!
You can now go back to your regularly scheduled lives.