Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Although technology continues to progress, the divide between rich and poor continues to grow markedly in the US, which is in a steep decline from its 20th century hey day. Globally, other economies struggle to deal with the decline of the American consumerism that they were geared to service, then turn East. Asian consumerism sets market trends and strongly influences fashion and design. The US population continues to age and the Baby Boomers increasingly tax the health care system, which is mostly run by doctors who came to the US from other countries and is split between the public system that has been instituted to meet very basic needs and private specialists helping a few wealthy people survive as long as they can looking 30 years younger than they actually are. Maintaining as youthful an appearance as possible is important because it signals wealth. Jobs are increasingly split between basic services and the Intelligentsia, which monitors and manages automated manufacturing. After the financial crisis following the implosion of the the US real estate market and Democratic presidencies, strong government regulation stabilized the situation, but continues to make it difficult for money to flow in the US. Most people in the US who are not retired, are busy working to pay their personal and the national debt. Credit and loans are difficult to get. Most people who are not all ready homeowners have little hope of owning a home. Investment cartels buy lots of foreclosed homes at a steep discount and establish rental communities, which leads to a widespread decline in the standard of living in American suburbs. Although clean fuel technology cars are available, most people can't afford them and continue to struggle to meet the cost of commuting with now aging hybrids. One highlight is that as the value of the dollar drops and transportation costs continue to increase, some small business manufacturing thrives in the US. The US military is still dominant, but the US has fewer and fewer resources for intervention overseas. Overall, the US functions more and more as Europe does today.
Interestingly, on my work blog, some people interpreted this as meaning that the Democrats are contributing to the financial crisis, which is not what I meant. I believe that Obama will be elected President and that Democrats will put more regulations in place than a Republican administration would. I don't say this in a judgmental way, just that I believe it will happen. Regulations will stabilize Wall Street and the economy, but at a lower level. We are no longer in the boom times. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans alone are responsible for that.
At the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, together the American people and their banking system acted with greed, inflating values first in technology then in real estate. As those sectors of the economy imploded, the money rushed elsewhere. Money is now concentrated overseas in loans, commodities and manufacturing. However, Americans can no longer afford to make full payments on our debts nor can we afford the commodities and products that are being produced. We have additionally indebted ourselves for a war that has brought us little but thousands more deaths. When our soldiers come home, there will be few jobs waiting for them and we will have to care for the physically and mentally injured. The crisis on Wall Street has averted attention from the problems we were all ready facing that our population is aging and we cannot afford Medicare and Social Security. Now, many private retirement accounts have been wiped out and more people will be depending on a system that is unsustainable and will simply have to continue to work or fall into abject poverty. What we're seeing today is that our credit has run out. The proposed massive buyout of bad real estate debt may temporarily loosen the credit market, but it won't fix the underlying issue that Americans are over leveraged in every area.
The global economy cannot depend on Americans to spend their way out of a recession and borrowing more money to try to fix Wall Street, because US Treasuries is ultimately where the money would come from, will exacerbate the underlying problem. The high rate of foreclosures is a signal that we are now being forced to give up the comforts that we were borrowing to purchase. Ultimately, we must either pay our debts or default and lose property, including real estate. Visitors to the US are all ready saying that we look like a third world country. We cannot afford to fix our aging transportation system nor can we afford to act as the global police force. Americans' average standard of living and influence in the world will continue to decline for at least 20 years because it will take that long to pay down our debts while providing for an aging population and rebuilding the base economy.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008