Wake up, already

The government is us; we are the government, you and I.

--Theodore Roosevelt

How any American cannot see that we are in a such a pit of economic pain right now that it requires all of us to beseech-- yes, beseech-- our government to do far more than what it has so done so far (under now two presidents!) is beyond me.

Let me start by saying the whole argument that tiny government always trumps big government is facile. A country our size simply cannot exist in the modern world without a large, active government in place-- but it should be one with controls placed upon it by an engaged citizenry informed by a free and vital press, just as our forefathers intended.

And to those who would say our "big" government got us into this mess by its sheer bigness, I would say, "Yes, it did. Not by virtue of its bigness but by virtue of its dumbness-- specifically by taking away controls placed on the "free market" decades ago that were proven to work time and again... and by we the people keeping our ignorant mouths shut at the time."

Of course, there is no getting around this is a global crisis we are in-- but much of the worldwide problem we are now dealing with stemmed from similar actions taken abroad. And, yes, there are many other factors that played a hand-- rising oil prices, massive energy and resource consumption by the emerging capitalist-communist giant once known as Red China and the booming democracy India, not to mention our prosecution of two wars requiring a huge outlay in material and the dedication of our greatest resource, those men and women serving in our armed forces.

Why am I so wound up today? Complacency is why. In my view, too many Americans are still acting like all we are dealing with is a little slowdown, a little course correction. Sorry, but we aren't. This is the biggest mess we've gotten ourselves into since the Great Depression and if we don't start really tackling it, it may yet end up a bigger mess than the Great Depression. Even more than the national debt that terrifies so many, the legacy of living through something like the 1930s is one I would not want to foist upon my kids.

Don't take my word for it. Take the word of The Wall Street Journal, whose editorial pages are as pro-business and anti-big government as any on the planet not published by crackpots.

So what did the august Journal report today that got me so hot under the collar? How about this headline: Recession Job Losses Top Four Million. Did THAT get your attention? It sure as hell got mine.

The story itself, by Brian Blackstone, starts off with this grabber lede: "The U.S. economy continues to hemorrhage jobs at monthly rates not seen in six decades, a government report showed, signaling that there's still no end in sight to the severe recession that has already cost the U.S. over four million jobs."

Let's see, how many attention-getters are in that one sentence: 1) hemorrhage jobs at monthly rates not seen in six decades; 2) no end in sight to the severe recession; 3) already cost the U.S. over four million jobs.


Cartoonist Walt Kelly (1913-73) said it best.

Mr. Blackstone goes on to report that "The economy has shed 4.4 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, with almost half of those losses occurring in the last three months alone. And unemployment is lasting much longer. As of last month, 2.9 million people were unemployed for 27 weeks or more, up from just 1.3 million at the start of the recession."

He noted that the unemployment rate shot up 0.5 percentage point to 8.1%--making it the highest since December 1983 and slightly above expectations for an 8% rate. What's more, he added: "Some economists think it could hit 10% by the end of next year."

Ten percent unemployment! By the end of next year! Not good news, not at all.

There is even more grim talk in this one report, including the expectation that consumer and business confidence will slide even further and if they stop spending, said an economist with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, "the economy cannot get going again."

Seems to me there are just two things we can do and must do:

1) Spend money... if for some reason any of us have it to spend!

2) Demand that your U.S. Senators and Representatives actually do their sworn duty to you and everyone else by standing up with President Obama to ensure that as he keeps swinging hard to get us through this catastrophe, he will actually be able to hit some over the fence.

Or you can sit back and whine and complain about the big bad government. We shall see just exactly where that gets us in this time of crisis that demands nothing short of national unity and action, action, action.