So, can somebody tell me the collective IQ of the lemmings on Wall Street? Somebody? Anybody? Seriously, I’m thinking there’s a pair of Cole-Hahn loafers in the Bob’s closet with a higher comprehension level than most of the Financial "Braintrust" working in the financial markets today. So, some Harvard schmuck, Ben Bernanke, finally says "Recession" and suddenly everybody realizes that "things are bad". Amazing! Never knew that the head of the Fed was the modern-day equivalent of the Oracle of Delphi. Well boys, here’s an idea that you might want to consider, get your collective butts out of Manhattan and check out the real world! Because, you might be shocked to find out that here in the real world, things have been recessing for quite a while. We may not use your fancy language to describe the bleeding of our home balance sheets, but those of us who are residents of that rapidly disappearing land known as middle America are well-aware that things are bad all over.
I mean seriously folks, when oil is over $100/barrel, credit is tight, and costs of everything are going up, why is Ben Bernanke’s pronouncement even news? There is no way that the effects of those key issues can be kept from being felt throughout the economy. Not just at the gas pump, even though that’s where we see it the most. If you look beyond the obvious spike in gas prices, those high oil prices are driving up everything else in your life. For instance, take corn prices. If you look back, corn, less than five years ago, was practically a give-away crop. US Farmers were being subsidized with huge price supports from the US Government in order to keep them in the corn production business because as any farmer would have told you, there was no money to be had in growing corn. Today nothing could be further from the truth. Today US Farmers are selling all their corn to Ethanol producers because alternatives to fossil fuels (no matter how suspect the production method) are now in vogue. Nevermind that corn-based Ethanol production burns more fossil fuels than it conserves, just ignore that fact. Corn is the new gold for farmers, and they’re putting it in the ground as fast as they can in order to capitalize on the much higher prices. But, the downside to that higher price is the direct impact on prices of both food and other consumer goods. The most obvious impact is the much-increased cost of transportation. But that’s not the only impact. Because most of the corn production is going to Ethanol, the remainder left for food production is naturally commanding a higher price, simply due to reduced supply. And, lest you think that just skipping corn on the cob is the answer, higher corn prices are also impacting prices on almost every food product for sale in the market today. You may not realize this, but corn is in virtually everything we eat, in one form or another. Eggs and poultry? Corn in the chickenfeed. Beef, Pork and Dairy? Yep, again, corn in the animal feed. Processed foods & soft drinks? You betcha, Corn in it’s most evil forms – High Fructose Corn Syrup and corn oil. So, higher corn prices, driven by higher oil prices, is affecting virtually every part of our food chain. Now, add to that mix the mortgage crisis, which was created by not just the consumer but also the mortgage banks, and I don’t want to hear any republican rhetoric otherwise, so STFU. The worst-case scenario that is playing out everywhere was crystallized by this local blogger, who doesn’t own her home but is still homeless because of foreclosure.
I guess my point here is that I’m confused as to why all our leaders are coming to the "OMG the economy sucks" party so late. Putting out a breaking news bulletin saying "Bernanke says it’s a recession" is old news to me. Where’s he been anyway? Oh that’s right, he’s in Manhattan, which obviously isn’t the real world. He’s in a place where life comes with a car and driver, two homes at least, and huge investment accounts because he had the benefit of not having to worry about paying for food or gas. So, really, I don’t care what Ben says. Ben’s not really living in my world, and neither are any of my other elected officials. I just want to know from them where this is going to end? And how? Those are my question for them, and sadly they don’t have any real answers or solutions. But then again they never have and they never will. That’s why we’ll solve it ourselves, just like wethepeople always have, on a micro level. But because I’m busy doing that, please Mr. and Mrs. Politician, don’t talk to me about whether my life is safer from terrorists (it’s not) or how you believe about moral issues (doesn’t matter, you can’t legislate morality, it never works out the way you plan). No, I really don’t have time to discuss high principals, because I’m a little busy right now. Your decisions and inaction have made it even more difficult than ever to make my ends meet. And making my ends meet is a lot more important to me. That’s a matter of life or death. Ben doesn’t get that, and neither does anybody else in Washington.
Not so oddly, because of all these issues that keep coming, I guess I’ve been pondering this thought: Was this the kind of leadership we had in mind, way back when in 1776, when we overthrew an out-of-touch government who was not responsive to what wethepeople needed? Ask yourself that question, if you have time, in between going about the business of fixing your own personal economy. You know, because that government wethepeople created isn’t helping you to do that, mainly because they don’t know how. And, because they’ve just now figured out that it’s broken, because Ben said so.