By neglecting Ben Franklin’s gospel of thrift, Americans got into trouble.
Let me get this right. We are in a painfully stubborn recession that began in the last years of George W. Bush’s presidency. And, if polls are right, President Obama, in office less than 21 months, is soon to be punished by voters who want to saddle him with a new, vindictive Republican Congress in November, committed to obstructing and blocking every White House initiative.
Huzzah! Let’s elect a GOP House and Senate, abolish federal taxes, and bankrupt the American Republic.
After the 1929 stock market crash, it took 11 or 12 years to pull the country out of the Great Depression. Poor Mr. Obama! He’s been given less than two years to perform some economic alchemy. Time’s up, Obama! Americans demand instant gratification after their binges.
Our sullen American electorate simply requires someone to blame, regardless of culpability. Today even my many Republican friends are flailing George W. Bush for running the US economy into the ground. Conveniently, they overlook the fact that they twice voted for Bush. Now they want to take out their frustration on Obama. We have become a mob exulting in political nihilism.
Yet blaming the “Bush leaguers” no longer serves any useful purpose. The blame game creates no new jobs for the millions out of work.
Let historians judge Bush’s economic stewardship. Now is the time for the rest of us to immerse ourselves in political truth-telling – reminding ourselves, as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
As part of their poisonous recriminations, Americans indict avaricious Wall Street brokers and bankers while failing to acknowledge that they were willing feeders at the trough. Home buyers and investors have been no less greedy and dishonest than the Wall Street titans they castigate. Remember the popular “liar loans” that required no documentation of income to obtain a home mortgage? It took two to sign those forms. And do you recall the exotic bank investments that imploded two years ago? Someone gave them the money to gamble – it was us.
While I was out sailing earlier this month with a much chastened Republican friend who has watched his portfolio atrophy, he confessed he had invested far too heavily in high-risk stocks.