Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fear & Penny Pinching

John Aravosis had an interesting post up about the constant comparisons of our economic crisis to the Great Depression, and how maybe we need to dial it back a notch when hitting the panic button:
Initially I thought Depression comparisons were necessary and relevant in order to impress the gravity of the current situation on the American people. Things have changed. The people now get it.

It's time to call off the four horses.

By “four horses,” I assume John is making a reference to this David Sirota piece which dares utter the “A” word:

Apocalypse ... it seems so biblical, but suddenly feels so now. And if we don't quickly wake up and turn things around, we will be left to mutter Col. Kurtz's despondent whisper: "The horror ... the horror."

I admit, the media is starting to scare the crap out of me. I’m starting to rethink things big and small, questioning whether now is the right time to begin a long-planned home construction project, or even something as small as a trip to the nail salon. I’m worried, and I can see how worry leads to fear, and fear paralyzes.

This isn’t healthy, and while it’s all very well and good for President Obama to say we shouldn’t stuff our cash in the mattress, good luck convincing any sane person otherwise when one hears words like “apocalypse” and “Great Depression” every time the TV is on.

The irony of writing that last paragraph is that I sound an awful lot like conservatives over the past two years--you know, those folks who were in deep denial about the sickly state of our economy, and wrote it all off as the “liberal media” and Democratic fear-mongering.

From the TennViews memory hole comes this compilation of TN GOP press releases talking about how wooooonderful our economy was under Bush and overlooking such benchmarks as rising unemployment and decreasing income.

Here’s a good one from last March:

"The Doom and Gloom Democrats are at it again, taking a small dip in the economy and pretending it's the Second Great Depression, in order to convince voters to buy the "hope" they're selling that's really just the same ol' liberal recipe of higher taxes, more government spending and more government regulation. But the truth is that while the economy has taken some hits recently, it's not as bad as the Democrats will claim between now and election day. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, 2008 is nothing like 1929.

Here’s another one from last February:

Bill Hobbs, Feb. 2008: "The "mortgage crisis" is really just a shakeout of some bad deals in one very small corner of the overall mortgage market. A tax credit would make those homes more attractive to buyers. But, then, so will their falling prices. That's the way it always works."

Heh. Well, turns out we were in fact seeing the beginning of the great implosion, which they’re now trying to call the “Obama Recession.”

Words are funny things.

I wonder what might have happened if the Republicans and Democrats in power had acted sooner. They didn’t; instead, they were too worried about grabbing power in the upcoming election. Now I worry that partisan obstructionism will slow the recovery. Somehow I suspect the Republicans and some Democrats are more worried about the midterm elections in 2010 than helping the country get back on the road to recovery. A lot of folks don’t have that kind of time to waste. We need to act now, and we need to quit quibbling over stupid partisan stunts like tea parties and Rush Limbaugh.

I wonder if there’s any chance that we could put all of that aside for the good of the country?