A Lack of Focus

Mr. McDade did an excellent job in detailing with what went wrong and caused this current economic crisis, and we should focus immediately on focusing the current crisis.  The best route would be to detoxify the banks and to buy up their assets – the primary goal of fixing up the economy should be to fix the credit system, which is currently rather dysfunctional due to the various poorly-made loans.

However, we are having a lack of focus on solving the economic crisis from across the aisle, for both Republicans and Democrats.  Much of this is due to rampant populism that has once again reared its ugly head and prevented Congress from taking the necessary steps to fix the economy, as many  Americans seem more interested in punishing the various banks and their executives than in taking the necessary steps to actually fix the economy, as shown through the current AIG Bonus controversy, where various Congressmen and the American people bemoaned the idea of paying the dues of a company that has been virtually nationalized.  Furthermore, we are seeing hints of protectionism appearing once again, best demonstrated with the current spending bill which contains a provision that terminates a project allowing 97 Mexican trucks on American highways as specified under NAFTA.  While it may feel good to attack the “greedy” banks and their “corrupt” executives, it is not a productive path, and will unfortunately lead to disaster as the economy continues to muddle along in its current stupor.

In addition to this, both the Republicans and the Democrats are using the current economic crisis for political gain and are more focused on this than on actually taking the simple steps needed to fix the economy.  In recent years, the Republican Party has been bitten by the populist bug and at times appears more interested in representing the common man than actually taking steps to help the common man, of which its embrace of Mr. Wurzelbacher (otherwise known as Joe the Plumber) and Mrs. Palin are a symptom.  The Republican Party is bitterly determined to cling to the notion that the economy will fix itself, as would happen under the classic economic cycle – and while such logic may be true in theory, it would be more useful for the government to simply step up and enact certain simple steps to fix the economy.  In an attempt to go back to true conservative ideas, the GOP is bitterly refusing to take any steps at all to fix the economy, and to some degree is hoping that the Democrats fail to fix the economy so that they can regain power.

However, the Democrat Party is hardly blameless, and it could be argued that they have taken the economic crisis and used it for great political effect.  Mr. Obama is a consummate political operator, and he has frankly tried to use the current economic crisis to get his political agenda passed.  At times he seems more concerned with redefining the relationship between the American people and their government and dealing with education, health care, and energy problems than he has with fixing the current economic problem – and while these areas are important, he should take care and remember his Democratic predecessor’s slogan of “It’s the economy, stupid.” than to play political games with the economy.  The Democratic Congress is hardly better, as they have used the economic crisis as an excuse to get their various bills passed, such as the so-called stimulus package which was for better or for worse a leftist wish list of goodies, pork, and political paybacks, and the resulting spending bill which was largely more of the same.

Overall, the American people and their government have completely failed in taking the necessary steps to actually fix the economy.  While the American people seem to be more focused on kicking the evil corporate executives and populist antics, the two parties in Congress are more than content to satisfy the people, all while using the economic crisis as a method to play political games with one another.  We are currently in one of the worst economic recessions in recent American history, but as long as the United States continues to toy around with various agendas rather than buckle down and focus on fixing our current problem, we could be in this recession for quite a while.

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