And Left From My Dreaming Was A Feeling Of Unnameable Dread

November 24, 2008

First blog post about the economy ever that had a Rocky Horror Picture Show lyric as its title? Perhaps.

Why the dread? One of the very nice and well-meaning things many Obama supporters said after the election was “Don’t be afraid.” I’m not; I blew straight past fear into horror and dread almost immediately. I try to keep a handle on it, since we made fun of the Bush Derangement Syndrome weirdos back in the day. And again, I’m willing to give him a chance.

Still, the dread. Consider this. George W. Bush is a businessman from old wealth. That was one of the reasons he was supposedly evil–had an MBA, was an oilman, ran a baseball team. Eeeevil capitalist. Nevertheless, when the economy started on a rocket sled to hell, HIS default position was Socialism–bail everyone and everything out, send out “rebate checks,” nationalize banks. That’s what the evil capitalist did in response to the economic crisis. Given that, what will the ACORN-supported community organizing lawyer from the church that disavows middle-classness do? There’s the dread, right there.

To be fair, Obama’s choices so far haven’t been that bad. It’s sort of scary that he picked a person from EMILY’s List as communications director, but he has to play to his base somewhere. Clinton’s not a terrible choice. I like Bill Richardson okay. The market seemed to like Obama’s choice of Treasury Secretary pretty well, and I have yet to hear anything bad about him. Larry Summers would be a decent choice as Fed Chairman, for as long as we have something as misbegotten as a Fed.

And then there’s Pelosi. After we had a few hopeful days of thinking that we the taxpayers WEREN’T going to bail out the Big Three automakers and thus they would have to renegotiate with the unions that are bleeding them dry, I heard on the news today that Pelosi is now offering them not only the 25 billion dollars in taxpayer dollars they asked for, but another 50 billion on top of that. Ooh, there’s that dread again.

And, Obama’s talking the sort of policies that turned our 1930s Depression into a Great one. Increasing the size of Americorps, raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, taxing the wealthy, creating millions of government jobs in infrastructure and “green” jobs. For what it’s worth, many of Missouri’s state parks were constructed by the CCC–they did a great job…back in the day. That was a different culture, one that valued and was familiar with the concept of hard physical work. Will that work now? Will the banker who used to make million-dollar bonuses be willing to live in a dormitory and build rock walls? Will the college grad who can’t get a job be willing to do likewise? Will these highway building projects be subject to the same bidding quotas that have turned highway departments into such bloated bureaucracies? Will these green jobs be subject to market pressures, or government-subsidized make-work details? I guess we’ll have to see, but I have my thoughts.

The weird thing is, none of this will hurt me too much personally–the dread I feel is more for the economy as a whole, and our standing in the world. I have no credit card debt. I am toward the end of Step 2 of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, in that I am still paying for a car. That’ll be done by the end of next year. Then comes step 3–saving up 3 to 6 months of expenses in cash. I want to save more than that because I also want to save a 20% down payment on a Gulch of my own. That’s 2010 taken care of, maybe more than that, and I expect in 2010 to see a Republican revolution rivalling or surpassing 1994. I’m young-ish, and for now I’m only paying into my 401(k) up to my employer match (6%). By the time I get to step 4–investing at least 15% of my income for my retirement, we should have ended our sojourn with Socialism, barring a 1930s-style Depression and the market should be looking up. So, it’s all good–my destiny is mostly in my own hands. And yet, the dread remains.

Preparedness tip of the day: Booze. I was grocery shopping yesterday and noticed that the holiday liquors were out now–you know, bottles of good booze with glasses or other extras. They’re cheaper now than they usually are, and will be up through the New Year. Buy a few bottles (or more) of what you like–bourbon or vodka is probably better if things go to hell and you have to barter with them. Liquor has many uses–you can drink it to calm down when the President announces another Socialist plan, it’s as good as NyQuil for treating a cold at bedtime, etc. If you’re seriously into preparedness, consider buying the equipment and learning how to make your own beer or wine. You could be very popular if things go all to hell.

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