This is the time of year when everyone feels compelled to predict what will happen in the following year. I will follow this in spirit, but violate it in fact since I will give three different views of
America’s economic future in 2010. In The Outlaw Josey Wales, Clint Eastwood–who plays Josey Wales–kills a man. A young man who is with him asks about burying the dead man. Wales spits tobacco juice on the dead man and says, “Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.”
Using this iconic Hollywood image, I will explain the three current views on America’s economy for 2010 and beyond which I have been hearing for some time.
This is the most despairing. The group which subscribes to this particular assessment believes, essentially, that the American economy is a corpse which has neither been buried nor had a proper funeral. Instead, the corpse has been left above ground for the buzzards, which in this case are the Wall Street vultures and the international banking cartel in collusion with the Western governments. The entire economy is a banking fraud that has been sustained by more banking fraud, a “sugar high,” as one famous investor put it, and the United States Federal Reserve is secretly funneling trillions all over the world in order to artificially attempt to convince us that the man we killed is not really dead. He–the economy–can be revived any day now. Honest.
This particular opinion revolves around a cynical view of the American dollar and the American national debt. The claim made through the Reagan years and continued by Dick Cheney as vice president under George W. Bush that “deficits don’t matter” has been proven false. The American dollar has been overprinted and overspent, and is about ready to have its value destroyed. Low interest rates will destroy the currency. High interest rates will make borrowing impossible. It is very possible, if not likely, that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insures America’s banks, will go bankrupt, and soon after that the American dollar will have to be devalued in the same manner as the currencies of South America were devalued in the past.
The reason this view is so full of despair is that inherent in it is the belief that none of the “remedies” the government has presented, including the so-called “stimulus” package forced down America’s throat nearly one year ago, have anything to do with economic recovery. Instead, everything the government is doing is a power grab. As Americans, we simply do not understand that there are nations all over the world that have unemployment rates consistently over ten percent. These societies cater to a rich, powerful ruling class that control the lives of the nation’s citizens by giving and withholding the scraps they toss to the peasants.
Predictions: Unemployment will reach 20 percent (with true unemployment exceeding 25 percent), the dollar will be devalued, the FDIC will fold, the middle class will be on the path to destruction, and the stock market will dive back down to 6,000. In other words, catastrophic.
The “Middle Ground”
This is the position of the political left, whether it admits it not, and is a very dangerous point of view. It refuses to admit the economy is dead. Instead, it claims that society is currently undergoing a re-organization that was long overdue. This dangerous perspective has its roots in the Great Depression of the 1930s, the New Deal of President Franklin Roosevelt, and the creation of the social welfare state. They feel the New Deal had a lot of unfinished business — it left out civil rights, medical coverage, and a federalized universal education for all. The economic mess we are currently weathering, therefore, is the perfect time to fix these social inadequacies and build a more just society by government edict. The left becomes a savior that can raise the dead to new life.
Wall Street handed the left this chance and they saw its potential. The new economy that emerges from the debacle of the last two years will be the creation of a new government faction which was in the background thirty years ago, and the periphery ever since. Now it is taking over and rewarding itself.
The best employment, now, is government employment. Government employment includes pensions, healthcare, and good salaries compared to the devastation of the private sector. Look at a World Almanac. Government federal employees often make thirty to forty thousand dollars more a year than the average citizen. Capitol Hill is the new Wall Street, the White House is the new Detroit, and the halls of Congress becomes the new health care providers.
The left has been waiting for this opportunity for decades, especially since George McGovern’s campaign for president in 1972. Since the left believes the private sector is more dishonest and uncaring than the government, a world dominated by the government is superior to one dominated by private interests.
This is a dangerous point of view, because unlike the previous perspective, these people think that government is the answer. Those in despair in the previous view believe that the government has been the problem, and that government-based answers only deepen the despair. What we need to think about is the world described by those in the catastrophic view may actually exactly the same as in this one — it is just that purveyors of this perspective run our government right now, and firmly believe that more government is good.
Predictions: Unemployment will remain steady at ten percent, with the true unemployment rate remaining at roughly 17 percent. The deficit will balloon. Most Americans will learn to live with less, which is good for them and the world ecology. The Dow Jones Industrial Average will stay around 10,000.
The optimists are a group of private capitalists who think everything will go back to the way it was before the banking crash. I meet these people off and on in my daily routine. They live with the belief that the government and the private sector are separate entities and that the business sector will take care of its own.
They do not believe that Josey Wales killed anyone. The man at Clint Eastwood’s feet may be unconscious, but when he wakes up, he will be fine.
Predictions: A slow economic climb back. There are problems ahead, but there are also opportunities, and this is America, right? Work hard and be happy.
All three of these attitudes are based upon many circumstances, private and public, but they reflect the uncertainty of the coming year. For the record, I happen to believe that the first one is correct in the long run, that the second one will prevail in the short run, and that the third perspective is delusional. We are watching an attempt to federalize the lives of every American. Energy. Health care. Education. Banking. The man at the feet of Clint Eastwood is dead.
What all three of these groups leave out, however, is what will happen in the congressional mid-term elections in the fall of 2010, and whether these will show that America is unhappy with a federal takeover. Unfortunately, I think the optimism of the final viewpoint will be difficult to cling to. The elections may help, but they will only be the first step in ridding us of our despair. That being said, the ballot box may never prove to be as important as it will be in 2010.
Happy New Year. Now get out, get active, and vote.
Ronald Glenn has worked in real estate and law for more than twenty years. He now works in Philadelphia, and lives outside the city with his wife. Ron has been writing for America’s Right since January 2009.