It Could Be Worse!

The recent economic mantra from Democratic “spokespersons” makes a simple case for current economic policy; “it could/would have been worse”.  OK, it could always be worse.  Day after day, talking points quote a former McCain economic advisor writing in support of the stimulus.  OK, that’s one, what else have you got?  The CBO!  The CBO has maintained a margin of error that would result in a “you’re fired” in Trump’s boardroom.  The visit to the White House of the CBO Director resulting in a revised set of health care projections put the perception of CBO credibility in question, the question remains. 

It could have been worse!  1.6% adjusted 2nd quarter GDP down from 5.0% in the 4th quarter of 2009, effective unemployment hovers at 18%, productivity has flattened out as the productivity red line is encountered, credit for small business essentially non existent, The Fed with nowhere left to go, unfunded liabilities at every level of government.  Pension funds bankrupt by any rational measure of analysis, unaltered budget projections that guarantee federal collapse, monetizing of debt, unsustainable entitlement programs coupled with an absence of will to fix it. 

It could be worse! Big business hoarding cash, health care companies applying massive rate increases in the attempt to protect balance sheets from the onset of Obamacare.  Congressional leadership still committed to Card Check and Cap & Trade, tax increases on the horizon and legislation proposed by Senator Durbin to bail out union pension funds.

It could be worse!  According to Jonathan Cheng writing in the Wall Street Journal, companies who produce survival related items like bottled water, generators and Spam lead the stock market showing upwards of 23% gains in stock prices as a group versus a 4.5% decline in the broad market!    

It could be worse! The Gulf oil industry artificially hamstrung; same with farming in the California central valley in favor of a one inch smelt, millions of acres taken off the board for oil and gas exploration, no stimulus support for small business.  Environmental regulation by fiat; the CO2 you exhale now under the control of the EPA.  No doubt a federal regulation that orders plants to cease and desist their daily generation of CO2 could be right around the corner. 

It could be worse! Businesses, large and small are in stasis.  They remain fearful of what’s next; a consistent average of 425,000 to 500,000 new weekly jobless claims.  Real estate continues to crash and the crisis in commercial real estate looms but is not a topic of ongoing focus.  Failed mortgage relief programs; banks refusing to engage difficult loans short of the mortgage holder putting themselves in default.  The same banks that were bailed out with your money are intent on punishing you before they talk to you!

It could be worse!  Fannie and Freddy require yet more billions in new funding, even Barney Frank appears ready to actually engage in corrective behavior.  It seems like not a week goes by absent a new spending proposal by Congress.  Money committed to hold the status quo in critical political constituencies.  Calls for freezing unspent stimulus funds are ignored. 

Congress “deemed” a budget passed without actually passing a budget.  Perhaps they know better than any, the scope of the economic IED waiting to explode, politicians attempting to avoid the realities of an already exasperated political climate.   

It could be worse!  Economists now focused on the next “worse” possibility as the pending likelihood; double dip recession, or worse?  Why?  Policy guides the economy and failed policy is not changing.  CBS polling shows 83% of respondents say the economy is “fairly/very bad”.   

If we are indeed addicted to debt as the crack pipe of economic policy, perhaps the most fundamental tenant of addiction therapy need be considered; “you can’t help anyone who has not admitted there is a problem.”  Democrats are not admitting the scope of the problem; “it could have been worse!” Logically, one must assume that if they retain power, nothing can be done absent the admission related to  the scope of the problem.  Addicts, themselves will tell you that you must fall to a very dark place before that realization of the problem is, finally, admitted setting the stage for recovery. 

It’s not a dark place yet because, “it could  be worse!”