Backup

As a follow-up to my post yesterday, “Ever Vigilant”, I include the articles below as a kind of “backup” to my ideas.

As I said previously, I am appalled at the inertia demonstrated by our legislators to face our crushing issues, specifically energy dependence and health care reform.  In order for effective change to occur, we must assume a new mind set.  Keeping in the forefront of our thoughts, although not for the sole purpose of, expediency and cost, it is urgent that we view our economic chaos and needs of our population in new and more situation-sensitive ways.

What we have seen so far, are old, outdated methods of dealing with new, more emergent issues.  There has been a sea change in the realities of our nation that is not being properly addressed.

First, Paul Krugman in the New York Times today speaks about “boiling the frog”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/opinion/13krugman.html?_r=1

He addresses the tendency for crisis to sneak up on us, bit by bit.  But then, if we step back and look at the big picture over time, we find that we are way out of sync with the issues at hand.  Our country, as we know it, is crumbling, falling apart. Plus, there is a paralysis in devising new programs to alleviate our chaos.

Secondly, please read the following article by Ross Douthat also of the New York Times, regarding this same issue of accomplishing pertinent change in response to today’s issues.  Even though he uses the Pope and his most recent encyclical, don’t be put off lest you miss the greater meaning:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/opinion/13douthat.html

Yesterday I wrote about our current fence-sitting on the energy and health care fronts.  I still do not know if the culprit to relevant change is due to Americans’ lack of patience with allowing a process to run its natural course or if the actual blame is due to a reluctance to overhaul policy, based on our present needs.  For example, over the last two weeks there has been some hysteria generated by the ever-increasing rate of unemployment.  Stop: even the dimmest bulb in the room knows that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator i.e., the figures are “late bloomers” in the life of a recession.  Yes, our unemployment figures continue to rise, plus the actual rate is probably not a true indicator of the real existing hardship because there are pockets in our country where the out of work people are much more numerous than the figures would have us believe.  Likewise, the stock market index is a leading indicator, i.e. the markets’ actions can tell us in anticipation of an economic trend.  I daresay that within the next four to six months, the unemployment rate will top out (but with no guarantee that it will recede in a short period of time thereafter) and cause a knee-jerk reaction in our equity markets to plunge.  In theory, that should be the perfect entry point for investors to enter the investment gambit. In today’s crazy world, I do not think I will have the guts to jump aboard then, even though in theory, the time will be correct.  I like sleeping at night better than the prospect of making a killing.

At any rate, I am back to the same dilemma regarding our destructive energy policy and health care reform: time versus policy change.  It is probably a combination of both factors, but I am inclined to favor the argument that our lawmakers and citizens refuse to adjust to changing times and circumstances.  They will not consider alternatives outside of their lifelong comfort zones.  Thus, our stagnation just might be our ultimate downfall.

I certainly hope not.  There is still time for our ship to be saved.  Cautiously though, we must start to alter the underpinnings of our ideas.  Once we accept that our major policies of the past are not relevant to our current status, the appropriate policies will follow.

Next post: the wonderful being of Sonia Sotomayor.  Tune in.

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