The Providence Journal: May 5, 2008
AS THE LAST few billion dollars of liquidity are sucked into the national debt and scarfed up by Wall Street, strange things are happening with the U.S. dollar and American economy in general. Bonds are inverted, Chinese goods are expensive, and John McCain may soon be in charge of it all!
The winning political slogan of the 1990s was “It’s the economy, stupid.”
In ’08 for McCain, it should be “The economy: It’s stupid”.
In political terms this is also known as turning a negative into a positive, because when John McCain tries to talk about economics he starts to grammaticate like George Bush. He means well, but perhaps somewhere in the wings waits VP Mitt Romney.
However, no one, not even Mitt, really knows what’s going on with high finance; the New York Times said so!
A rising tide of economic uncertainty floats all boats of opinion equally, elevating non-economists like me, John McCain, and our new slogan, “The economy: It’s stupid.”
The economy is stupid because we made it so. Too many tax cuts, unfunded social programs, unfunded wars and other failed policies from the last 25 years have been tucked away into the mother of all subprime mortgages, the $10 trillion national debt.
Wall Street’s got nuthin’ on Washington when it comes to credit issues. Admonishing the CEOs of Bear Stearns, Citibank, Bank of America and others is like a stern lecture from “Mr. T” regarding fiscal discipline.
The elephant in the room, with a big dunce cap on, is the national debt. It’s the unspoken, unintended punch line to all of the CNBC punditry-talk. It’s a black hole from which all rational economic law and free-market principles are slowly disappearing into, along with Jim Cramer. At some point soon it will render moot the discussion of stocks, bonds, and interest rates; do not pass Go, or collect $200, proceed directly to Jail!
The economy: It’s stupid. There is no believable explanation for the markets, and perhaps soon the American system, because so much has not been paid for. John Adams once “United the States of America,” but today we are more like Thomas Jefferson in our insolvency.
“In God We Trust” has given way to “In Debt We Trust.” It was spending money that united us post 9/11, E Pluribus Unum now means, “From many, one giant, stupid debt.”
It’s a conversation my mother and I have had for years. We start things off with, “Where does money come from?” From there it gets very complicated, but now we know that we’re on the same level as Ben Bernanke.
The economy: It’s stupid. I think that McCain could actually run on this slogan, with the promise that we need to pay down the national debt for it and us to make sense again.
Bring on the marketers and branded entertainment pros. We need a catchy advertising campaign for the national debt! When it’s time to get serious, it’s time for a coordinated media plan. There will be dress-down breakout meetings to get a creative handle on what the national debt should look like — Spielberg’s final shot in Indiana Jones?
If we’ve become a nation of compartmentalizers, than this surely is the biggest deposit of them all.