THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: ...Phrases I'm sick to death of hearing

Break out the weed killer...
Break Out the Weed Killer...

There are Green Shoots in the Economy!

Each spring, I watch my sleeping lawn, waiting for the first sign of fresh growth and the imminent promise of grass to be cut. A month or so back, I looked out from my porch and saw a blotch of color. Green shoots! I ambled over for a closer look, thinking ahead to hot summer afternoons mowing and the cool adult refreshment after a hard day's work.

I bent down for a look at my green shoots, and frowned. My "green shoots" were just weeds.

Weeds, weeds, weeds...

Just like our economy.

Weeds, weeds, weeds...

I am frankly sick to death of hearing about "green shoots" whenever a beleagured company posts either a small profit or a smaller than expected loss.


Because all too often the profits have been boosted by "cost-cutting" measures. Companies cut back on capital spending. They freeze hiring. They freeze or cut wages. They kick people to the curb, leaving those left on the job with more to do (a torturous process called "increasing employee efficiency").

Sure...this most certainly cuts expenses. In the short run, it may boost profits. And from a distance, this improved bottom line looks like a "green shoot."

T'aint so. Those "green shoots" growing around those corporate profits are just weeds ...a quickly growing army of unemployed Americans.

Weeds, weeds, weeds... and they will eventually overwhelm all those corporate profits.

The only "green shoots" I want to hear about are sustained drops in unemployment. That's a long way off. In fact, there's talk out there that higher unemployment and creeping economic growth may be our "new norm."

Umm...not exactly news to warm the heart, is it?

Quietly, the projected unemployment rate has been slipping upwards. It's also being projected to stay high deeper and deeper into the future. 2010. Maybe 2011.

That's a long, long, time to watch weeds grow.

And the "real" unemployment rate? Well, the weeds are growing a lot higher than folks realize. Let's say the Gubbermint tells us at year-end that unemployment is at 9%. Pretty miserable number, isn't it? But when you add back in anyone who quit looking for work, or ended took a part-time job ...either of which makes you vanish from the statistics... you're actually closing in on 16%.

Weeds, weeds, weeds...

In the meantime, in this growing sea of weeds, the Gubbermint plays shell games. It creates budgets with astronomically high deficits. Huge gobs of money are targeted to reform health care ...before a plan even exists. (Isn't that bass ackwards? Telling Congress: "Here's the dough, the plan is coming..." is, to qoute P.J. O'Roarke, " giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.")

Where the heck will all the money for the bailouts and mega-budgets come from? The way I see it, one or all of the following places:

  • Those lucky enough to still have jobs
  • Those deemed to be "rich" by Obanomics
  • The Gubbermint printing press (the most likely place, in my opinion)

They won't get much dough from the weeds, and the weeds are creeping steadily across the American economy, gobbling everything in their path.

Weeds, weeds, weeds...

What we need, folks, is weed killer.

But what we're getting is perpetual Gubbermint Brand Third World America crabgrass.

* * *

Too Big to Fail

Lord in Heaven, I am sick to death of this one, too.

Gotta bail out the Mega Banks: They're too big to fail!

Gotta bail out the big boys on Wall Street: They're too big to fail!

News flash, Congress and Mr. President: The American consumer drives 70% of economy. The American consumer drives a significant portion of the global economy.

From where I sit, the only thing "too big to fail" is the American consumer. And the fate of more and more American consumers?

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds...

* * *

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