Everybody Panic! Six reasons to read "The Economy Is Even Worse Than You Think"


This post is a response to the WSJ article of the same name (minus Everybody Panic!, of course), found here.

First, a “thank you” is in order: Thank you, Mr. Zuckerman, for levelling with the American populace and calling an end to the bullshit about how everything is fluffy and peachy keen. It’s about time someone with some clout said so.

Second, a “fuck you” is in order. Your closing paragraph destroys the majority of the respect that I built for your voice in this article:

“No wonder poll after poll shows a steady erosion of confidence in the stimulus. So what kind of second-act stimulus should we look for? Something that might have a real multiplier effect, not a congressional wish list of pet programs. It is critical that the Obama administration not play politics with the issue. The time to get ready for a serious infrastructure program is now. It’s a shame Washington didn’t get it right the first time.”

A steady erosion of confidence in the stimulus bill is occurring because the happy-happy joy-joy news is vastly at odds with what is occurring in the United States, and it’s only a matter of time before people will see that. I wouldn’t put it past you political types to have foreseen that the charade was wearing thin, making your aggressive coming-clean with the American people a political ploy so that the WSJ could be the first mainstream media to report of monkeys throwing feces. Well, congratulations, I guess.

Also, look at your last three sentences. Obama playing politics. Infrastructure now. Shame on Washington. Well where the fuck were you, Mr. Zuckerman, when the first stimulus bill was going through? Where’s the link back to previous articles where you’re talking about how we need to spend money on infrastructure? Oh yeah, you were on FOX news lobbying for a second stimulus package and sitting on FOXBusiness sitting in some snazzy bar talking about greed. Come to think of it, where’s your infrastructure plan suggestion now? Alright, we need infrastructure investment; so what’s your big idea? What notion do you support? Oh, you’ve never mentioned it before? Don’t have an idea just yet? Well thanks for the tip, you old windbag. Go back to the drawing board until you can stop being political and come up with an opinion that matters.

Now that I’ve made friends, let’s talk about the good things in this article and why I think my modest readership needs to see it.

One, there’s a ten-point list of why things are fucked and will continue to be fucked. As far as I see, it’s on point, so read it and pay attention.

Two, despite a lack of definition, there’s a call for infrastructure spending. Fucking duh, but why aren’t we talking about it yet? The best idea I’ve seen so far is a redux of freight train lines. Got a better idea? Post it in a comment or, better yet, SEND IT TO YOUR SENATOR. We can, after all, hope that senators are still representatives of the people and worth their governmental paycheck, an idea I’ve always doubted but is sure time to put to the test!

Three, this article gives you real and adequate reasons why you should be concerned about the unemployment rate. Yes, in general the unemployment numbers are a lagging indicator of the economy. BUT IN THIS CASE, we have wiped out all industry growth from the previous economic expansion: 9 years of growth gone in 6 months.

Four, it gives you a more realistic breakdown of the statistics than can be seen by the raw numbers, including the adding of unemployment and underemployment, which puts our nation at a total of 15-20% sum. One in five Americans is either unemployed or underemployed, and those are the ones who are currently seeking employment. In the meantime, why not get a job on a cruise, since they’re hiring? Dear Business Week: Nobody else may tell you this, but you’re a bunch of fucking assholes for posting that article/blog post.

Five, it shows that people are doing the wrong reflex in this time by saving money. It often happens in the course of a human life the one does exactly the wrong thing when simply reacting; you see someone running a red light and you slam on the brakes instead of the gas, guaranteeing that they’ll hit you. You see an accident coming and you tense your body, which will cause you more pain than if you have relaxed instead. During economic slumps, interest rates for savings accounts go down while inflation goes up, making any money saved worth less over time instead of worth more. The proper time to save is in economic expansion; recessions call for spending. It’s important to note, even though it’s obvious and natural, that people are reacting the wrong way because the situation won’t change until people react the right way en masse.

Six, there’s a realistic discussion our country needs to have about why giving money to the managers and bankers is not a good idea. In capitalism, MONEY DOES NOT TRICKLE DOWN. The basic theory states it, for god’s sake: The circulation of wealth gives rize to the centralization of wealth. The stated incentive to own a business is to centralize wealth (called profit when a business is working correctly), and while I suppose that one might give it back once one has it, one often doesn’t. The great benefit that infrastructure projects have over any other type of stimulus is that they put money back in the hands of workers, who spend it such that it eventually ends up in the hands of business owners and once again needs to be given back to the people where it once again rises to the hands of the business owners ad infinitum. We’ve corrected this psuedo-Marxist critique time and time again in American history with the highway project and the development of national parks and with massive wars; anything that puts money back in the hands of the people allows the economy to thrive a little bit longer. Think of it as a gravity clock: sand falls from the producers to the centralizers, and eventually the sand runs out. Or think of it as a convection cell: the material at the producers’ level gets spent and rises to the businessman’s level where it cools and falls back to the producers, except our capitalist system artificially cuts out the part where the material falls back into the hands of the producers. Well, guess what? That’s the primary problem that we’re seeing; too much money is centralized with the business owners such that it’s not circulating anymore, and the first symptom (probably not really the first, I guess) showed up when producers couldn’t pay their mortgages anymore. NOBODY IS AT FAULT HERE, not the bourgeois or the proles, not the banks who aggressively gave out mortgages to people who probably couldn’t afford them or the people who took out mortgages they probably couldn’t afford. There’s a system in place that has yet to be understood, but the reason infrastructure programs work to reignite slagging economies is because it puts money back into the peoples’ hands, in this case allowing them to pay their mortgages, which makes money rise to the businessmen who own the bank. So do it!

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Author: Greg Freed

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3 Comments

Filed under Criticism, Journalism

3 responses to “Everybody Panic! Six reasons to read "The Economy Is Even Worse Than You Think"

  1. Did you find this article because I tweeted about it? If so, I feel very instrumental to this post. I thought mr. Z had his facts very well-organized and simply put, which is what really matters. I’m not reading this to develop an opinion on the subject (already have one) or to find out his (that’s not his job). So I liked it quite a bit.
    And you need to clean up your mouth, young man.

  2. Amos

    Another good post, though less of it self-generated.

    Power likes to collect power, and it has the power to do so constantly. It’s a positive feedback loop that needs to be monitored… always.

    The mandate of tithes in Islam (am I right?) is an idea on the right track. All the worries about welfare states and communism just show how easy it is for selfishness and dreaming of one day becoming rich blind humanity to what makes communities work well.

    True reciprocity, as opposed to naked quid-pro-quo stuff, is a virtue. We’re all in it together.

    Doing the wrong thing at the wrong time? It reminds me of the amusing tendency to buy stocks when the market has been hot for a long time, and to sell them when the market has been cold for a long time. Very counter-intuitive, but very pro-feeling. Human psychology has so many loopholes, and emotions, I learn more and more, can do such huge damage when one doesn’t know how to be in control of them.

    Oh… and… I want a job on a cruise ship!

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