It used to be that 20 years ago was a significant amount. Not so much now. Haul someone from 1992 to 2012 and there wouldn’t be the same amount of future shock that bringing someone forward from 1930 to 1950 would have. Maybe we’ve become more sophisticated, more technically savvy. But, a 20 year span isn’t as shocking as it once was.
Take things back 35 years and the details of life were much different. Cable TV was strictly for rural folks who couldn’t get broadcast signals. Computers were room-sized hulks that only big businesses could afford. There were still pay phones, and they only cost a dime.
Technically things changed, but in the political / economic life, things haven’t changed that much. We still don’t know how to effectively control inflation, avoid recessions, or the complex relationships between economic growth and interest rates.
Back when Gerald Ford was president, the US was going through an inflationary period. Banks CDs were paying 10 percent and home mortgage rates were in the 13 and 14 percent range. Ford, and his administration, had no idea how to address inflation. In a move that only politicians could call “brilliant,” the president started wearing “WIN” buttons: Whip Inflation Now. As if the normal shop guy could go to a vendor and tell him to drop his price.
That kind of ineffectual blah-blah was called jaw-boning. If those in power would only say that the economic hard times were over, then through some magic fairy-dust, the hard times would disappear. Things haven’t changed much.
The current administration and it’s sycophants in the press keep trying to tell us that the Great Recession is over and that we’re on the road to recovery. It’s jawboning from down here in the trenches. Unemployment figures released in mid-May are up again, and that’s just those applying for unemployment benefits. There are millions of us out here who have burned through those benefits and are still jobless. And, it is jobs that make the economy roll.
We’re a consumer culture. The old saying “Nothing gets done until someone sells something,” is an economic fact. Without jobs and incomes, nothing gets sold because nothing can be bought.
Pumping printing-press money into the economy, in the guise of “economic stimulus” isn’t going to bring us out of recession. All it does is mortgage the future to higher taxes to pay off the loans the government is incurring.
If governments at all levels really want to get the economy back on its feet, it’s time they stopped making it harder for the small- and medium-sized business to get back to business. Lower taxes, less senseless regulation, and fewer “entitlements” will allow the guys with small businesses to get back to making things rather than filling out forms.