cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Is our economy really on the rebound? On the one hand, I hear about all the jobs saved, and the robustness of our economy. But on the other, I learn that 118 banks have been closed so far this year. I learn that 500,000 people claimed unemployment benefits last week. I learned that the government’s mortgage relief program has failed miserably with some 630,000 homeowners who tried to keep their homes failing so those foreclosed homes will add to the glut already present. And, I learned that government, federal and state government, is the growth industry today.
There may be signs that politicians see which are beyond my ability to discern, but I tend to think their ‘rose-colored glasses’ may be at fault when they opine about all the good they have done for us. If I were running for re-election this year, I think I’d probably be trying my very best to put lipstick on the pig that is our economy, but in my heart of hearts, I’d be looking for my next gig.
It is tempting to think there might well be a general overthrow mentality when voters go into the polls in November. That temptation could prove foolhardy given the history of American voters. They, we, are an unpredictable bunch. We have defied the pundits’ predictions more than once, and sometimes against all odds.
Are we better off today than we were two years ago? My response might well disagree with yours. I can’t see how we are in better shape today than two years ago. I can’t find the golden lining in the cloud of health care reform. I don’t see the benefit of all the government spending on government-driven projects. I haven’t seen many shovels being used in those ‘shovel-ready projects’ that Joe Biden told us about. I have difficulty getting excited about the economy because I don’t see it taking off. The economy I see is one where some small gains are registered but where we still have something approaching 10% unemployment. I see the specter of rising taxes given all the unsupportable, and of arguably dubious value, deficit spending we have had in both state and federal budgets. As I travel the state, I see plant parking lots with virtually no workers’ cars parked in them. I talk with people who lament that they can’t find decent jobs. “No one is hiring” has become the standard phrase when you ask about jobs.
I see the lame duck governor of our state simply impervious to the likely results of his last minute programs. He wants to leave a legacy; he will, but it will not be a legacy of which he can be proud. I see a state budget deficit in the multiple billions of dollars and I see a state where taxes and fees have risen to already unconscionable levels.
While I have always taken pride in being a ‘glass half-full’ guy, I cannot find it within myself today to see anything but a nearly empty glass. I fear that we are, without wise and strong leaders emerging from the coming round of elections, both on a state and national level, destined to be in the economic doldrums for years to come.
I’ll continue to work at keeping that stiff upper lip thing going, but we need help in the form of realistic government that doesn’t see itself as the solution for everything, real or imagined, and that gets out of the way of the economic driver that is small business. At the moment, we have exactly the opposite kind of government both in Madison and in Washington, and that simply has to change if this is to get better sooner.