Lack of consumption is hurting the U.S. economy

What were they thinking? The world, including most of us in Costa Rica, are watching as the United States financial system goes into free fall and the government becomes a shambles. A Tica friend sent me a cartoon of a “flow chart” of American political parties. In politer language it shows the constituents considering the guys in Washington as dunderheads and the dunderheads regarding their constituents as ignoramuses.

Some 70 percent of the Gross National Product of the United States depends upon how much its people buy and use. This is so important to the health of the economy that people are not called citizens or people, but rather “consumers.” It is not the success of corporations, which are doing very well, thank you, with huge stashes of cash, or the banks or Wall Street that tell us how well we are doing. But the government has bailed out the banks and Wall Street and worries itself sick about the corporations and why they are not hiring.

Some say less taxation would solve the problem. (If that were so, the poor and unemployed would be the happiest people in the country since they pay no taxes.) Others say give the companies bonuses to hire a worker. Corporations are like babies. They want security and predictability, a cushy future before they build or explore or produce.

The economy is going in the tank because people, excuse me, consumers are not consuming. They are not buying the stuff that corporations, or even small businesses are producing because they have no money, and they have no money because many of them have no jobs or work only part-time for very little. And they are discovering that maybe there is as much satisfaction in being thrifty as there was in having more stuff. And it is better for the health of the planet. (Yes, people are taking notice.)

So no matter how many bribes and tax breaks are offered them, businesses are not going to hire people to do nothing. Heaven forfend. Their purpose is to make profits. They would rather overwork the fewer employees they have. Other than slaves, Americans who have jobs are the most overworked and under-vacationed people in the world. (I have already written about how things are a little different in Costa Rica.)

When the housing bubble popped, some people (usually those in real estate) suggested that the government give every threatened home buyer $100,000 to pay off their overpriced homes. Families would have a home and the banks would eventually get the money. Now I think, that was probably wiser than the bail outs that happened.

But there is no concern about the little guys (men and women). The Atlases who are holding up the GDP world are being ignored. Oh, every now and then over the past months we have heard a small voice from the Oval Office say “Jobs, fellas, we need to concentrate on jobs.”

But no one was listening to this timid voice. Instead, I heard one new dunderhead in Congress proclaim that the government had no right to give money to the wind or sun power companies and not give it to the oil industry. He had no idea that the purpose of these grants is to help new and promising companies GET STARTED, to promote research on NEW ideas that might help people, not gift well established oil companies.

Other dunderheads keep declaring that the government should be run like a business. Businesses are not concerned about the general welfare. According to the Constitution, the government should be. Nor does a business rush to help people who suffer nature’s disasters. And a government cannot declare bankruptcy when it gets into trouble as easily as a business can. Just ask Donald Trump about that.

And I recently heard an ignoramus comment that if a family were to behave like the government it would be kicked out of their home, have their electricity turned off, etc. Well, fella, that is the way families HAVE been behaving. It was called houses too big to support and credit card debt.

Meanwhile, no one is creating jobs, the infrastructure is falling apart, children are not being educated for the future, crime is becoming wanton and closer to everyone’s home, and the costly and fruitless wars on everything and everywhere continue while fear and greed are the biggest consumers.

What are they thinking?

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