So who is right? Are we in a recession or is it a figment of the Republican haters imagination? Can it be both?
Maxed Out Mama has laid out a compelling arguments for the last nine months that the economy is in trouble. My 401K would support that notion. The New Jersey housing market would support that notion. The Michigan jobs market would definitely support that notion. Houston? Is there a recession her? Not so much, but people do seem to be tightening up on their discretionary spending.
Now, The Anchoress makes this point:
It’s very tiresome, isn’t it? The agendas and double-standards of the press and the willingness of the American people to accept superficial analysis and headlines. Yes, things are more expensive right now, mostly because of oil prices and the soaring food prices that are part-and-parcel of the enviro-hysteria that has America held-hostage to foreign oil (rather than independently supplied by her own resources) and is content to starve the world to burn dubiously “clean” bio fuels. I am at a loss to understand - and a little worried by - America’s willingness to be led about by the nose on these issues.
And I am coming concerned about how easily some Americans digest rank antisemitism without discomfort. That’s chilling.
Many Americans - seemingly more and more - are so busy entertaining themselves - with their flip videos, ear-buds, increasingly balkanized personal lives - that they don’t really care about the details; they just wants to plug in, tune out and (increasingly) let whoever they assign to be “Mom & Dad” in the government take care of them while they stay in their rooms, chat online and try to do as little around the house as they can.
Ouch. But you know what? She's right. That's why you guys get an economy post weekly whether you want it or not. The world is interconnected. What happens in Japan matters to us here and vice versa. Economics drive politics which cause wars or peace. So, to be ignorant and plugged in but tuned out about the truth of the numbers and policies that cause them is to be utterly unaware not only about today but the future.
The network news is not giving unbiased information. A person must have the curiosity and desire to know more. But people are so busy and distracted, they don't have the time or inclination to carve out the time to know more.
There is a real sense that the government knows everything, sees everything and will solve everything--or they should solve everything. This takes the power from the people which suits the elite political class, the academics and the media just fine. A guy who opines on "hope" and "change" has legs because the message feels good. His underlying policies will rob a person of his money, and therefore, his autonomy. So economics matters. He knows that, which is why he'd like to control it.
I don't think people realize the full extent to which their lives are controlled. My in-laws in New York cannot make certain choices, simply cannot do it, because they cannot afford them. So much of their money goes to the government--federal, state, city, county, village and on and on--and they have so little money left over, that their choices are constricted and determined. So yes, the grocery and gas prices affect them. Their anxiety increases because what little they have to spare is eaten up. And, oh, by the way, Barack Obama considers them "rich" and their tax bills will go up with him in office.
So, it's worthwhile to pay attention. It's worthwhile to pick through the news and prove for yourself whats true or not. The Anchoress is worried. Maxed Out Mama is worried. They are paying attention.