Interesting times these we are living in.
You see, the press loved it when this economic crisis seemed to be restricted to the US. Actually, the whole world loved it. It was supposed to be the end of “casino capitalism”, the time when America would pay for all the greed and undeserved success that it enjoyed for so long. Not only our wealth would disappear but so would our status of super power and all the influence we have in the world. China would be the new military powerhouse, Japan the new tech hub and Europe the new finance center. And with a tiny bit of good luck, we were looking at the shameful downgrade of the American Empire to a mere third world country. The end of the American century!
Then, a funny thing happened. Other countries figured out that their banks had also been ‘bad’… Even worse, they started to remember that without America to buy their cars, toys, oil or soy, their own balance sheets looked kind of crooked… And so began the global crisis we have today.
Whoever looks at the current situation without bias can see easily that in the end the US is in much better shape than all the other big players. One could look at currency numbers, GDP growth, unemployment, etc. There is really no question.
Still, the American people elected a President that wants to make us look like Europe in many ways. Pink pundits think it is really cute how conservatives are ‘spooked’ by the simple (and inevitable they might add) evolution of the US to a more ‘modern’ European system.
Now, I am not a hypocrite. Government spending in a crisis like this is indeed inevitable, and some of it might even benefit the country. But could someone please explain to me how this beautiful model we are after is so much better if it has also failed so miserably? If all we need is more government spending and regulation, how can Germany, France and all the ‘modern societies’ be in such deep trouble?
I don’t know, maybe it is just wishful thinking but I think people are slowly wakening up. Obama is still king for now, but I can feel things are changing. Americans are mostly skeptics and we can stomach bailouts now and then… but I cannot imagine the majority accepting to turn this kind of thing into an acceptable tradition. Little by little, Americans are starting to figure out that this idea of moral hazard is much closer to home than they thought. I don’t think Obama is talking about reducing our debt just because he thinks is financially responsible to do so… I think this is a clear message that he is sending – that the current spending will not become permanent. Whether or not he means it is a totally different question; but the important thing is that he knows that things like that still matters to a lot of people.
The main reason I don’t consider myself a classic conservative is that I am an incorrigible optimist.
For all the doom and gloom that is out there, there is a huge amount of people – an enormous majority – that is still working and producing wealth that was not remotely possible just a few decades ago. This is and will still be the richest country in the world not just because of bankers and stock brokers, but because of all the enterprise, small and large, that has attracted the most qualified work force the world has ever seen.
Maybe I am not too afraid of everything that has been going on because I grew up in such a messed up and dysfunctional country… You know, living through a time where the government can simply decide to confiscate all your family’s savings without any warning or penalty makes the drop in the DOW look like kids play.
Yes, we might have to nationalize banks and things might not be super for the next few years. The economy might not grow much and hey, maybe we will have to learn to live with a bit less. But in the end, there is no other place in the world I’d rather be.