Laying Planks into the Chasm
Almost since the recession began, I’ve been wondering out loud what was going to pull us out of it — what unexplored industry, what as-yet-stagnant market, what boom. In the intervening months, it’s been clear that the Obama administration’s strategy has been to prop up the public sector (i.e., insulate government from the downturn), flood some borrowed money into the economy, and hope that the private sector would stumble onto something, as it has proven so proficient at doing. But anybody who’s spent a decade or so, after college, without that magical high-paying job that’s supposed to appear when you take all the right steps and do good work has learned to look for incremental steps, and I’m just not seeing those steps for the economy.
Anthony Randazzo goes so far as to call the currently touted recovery a “myth”:
… a closer look reveals those appealing numbers sit on a dangerously shaky foundation. Economic growth in 2009 was largely dependent on a historic level of government spending that even the president acknowledges is unsustainable in the long term. The root problem of mortgage delinquencies has yet to be worked out. Bank lending is sparse amid ongoing uncertainties surrounding regulatory reform. As a result, manufacturers and small businesses continue to struggle with limited credit. All that translates into historic job losses and a bleak outlook for meaningful growth in 2010 and 2011.
Worst of all, many of the core problems in the housing, banking, manufacturing, and service sectors are being perpetuated and exacerbated by the very federal programs the president credits with jump-starting economic growth. Instead of confronting the roots of the crisis head on, as Obama has repeatedly boasted of doing, his administration and the Democratic Congress have kicked the can down the road, postponing the day of reckoning for real estate, the auto industry, and the toxic mortgage-backed securities that were at the heart of the economic meltdown. These unsolved problems will keep looming over the economy until they’re finally addressed.
At this point, perhaps the best thing we could do, as a nation, is spin a 180 away from big government. Especially in Rhode Island, going from overburdened to liberated would at least attract the growing market of investors, entrepreneurs, and skilled, motivated workers looking for a sanctuary.