Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making sense of our current situation

My last post with where I discuss current situation here in America with debt generated a comment on Facebook with someone "blaming" the current President. One of the super-mems detailed in The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction is the personalization of blame.  She gives the example of our current obesity problem- it is obviously a system problem.  Is it more calories and less exercise? The root cause(s) are not obvious, but it is happening to more and more people everyday and it is a complex system problem.  I am not trying to claim a solution, but only the point is a system problem requires a system solution.

As a country we spend too much money.  Actually, I feel that our two biggest problems is how much of the stock markets' value is based on public opinion.  A simple story can have significant effects on a stocks, and therefore a companies, value- immediately.  Second, something like 40% (actually I just saw an article claiming 70%- way too high) of our economy is based on consumer spending-- which is us buying crap.  If you have not watched the videos on Thestoryofstuff.com, you need to. Also, our country spends too much and has been since the end of World War II.

So we have again raised the debt ceiling and politicians have made a big deal about reducing FUTURE spending increases-- NOT actually balancing expenses with revenues at any point.  Of course, we cannot blame Obama since he came into office during two wars and at the start of the financial collapse.  George Bush lead our country during a difficult time and had to defend us after we were attacked, locate weapons of mass destruction, and build democracy in the middle east.  Whatever, I am not a republican or democrat and the last two sentences probably upset both.  Let me continue, so Bush moved into office with a surplus budget and a few year without increasing expenses the debt would have been paid off (yeah, not sure if anyone remembers that).  Of course we were attacked and we had to respond (but hold off- cause we are still going backwards).  Now Clinton left office with that huge budget surplus so he looks golden other than his half ass attempts to get Bin Laden.  Of course we now know that large corporations may have also been cooking the books and the internet bubble was a part of that upswing.  Value on paper as opposed to real value as at least an equal part of the upswing.  Part was real value as the internet and other technologies have increased productivity-- a large part of why I think the next few years may be difficult but we will pull through to a better future.

So Billy C. became president as our economy was starting to recover from the short desert war and the fall of communism.  That brings us to GB I. after the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan we had an opportunity to help rebuild.  And we didn't take that opportunity.  And yes, I am taking this from seeing Charlie Wilson's War (Widescreen). Now this is a gross over-simplication, but the point is until to put politics aside and work towards real solutions while also realizing that we are all in this together.  Politics has not been about making progress or succeeding it has become making the other team lose.  We are far from a solution and I certainly can't foresee a definitive path.  Here is what I do know.  We need basic ideals.  Right now most people want to return to business as usual and most of the things have been done to add to the walls of a system with a crumbling foundation.  The top banks are getting bigger.  We need them to be smaller. (actually someone posted this earlier today on facebook: http://moveyourmoneyproject.org/) and this idea of "too big to fail" is garbage.  What it really is the Powers that be cannot accept the idea of a world where they do fail.  My response is misquoting Titanic "I assure you sir, she is made of iron-- she will sink".  We are within a system requires unsustainable growth and the momentum is increasing while its ability to change is decreasing.  The question I believe is can we change the system before it reaches that tipping point.  I believe we need to follow some fundamentals and start small.
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