The news media in this country is so backwards and full of itself sometimes. I wonder who I have to meet or who's butt I have to kiss to get a job as a talking head on some major network. President Obama did his 60 minutes interview and laughed a couple of times at what seemed like inopportune moments. All of a sudden, the entire (news media) world wonders if it's a nervous tick, or if he isn't taking the economic crisis seriously enough? Where were these "tough guy" questions when George Bush was telling us about Iraq?" Why didn't they ask Cheyney what the hell did he mean by answering "so" when he showed a callous disregard for the American people and our soldiers fighting and dying overseas?
To answer some of the stupid criticisms of the pundits. (The same ones who by the way also didn't know we were headed for an economic downturn, and who predicted that Hillary would easily beat Obama ) Here are a few reasons our President was probably laughing.
1) Although we are going through a rough patch right now, the President was absolutely right in saying "things are never as good or bad as they seem." Depending on which economist you ask, what their political affiliations are and how the planets are lined up on the day you ask, most economist will acknowledge that "full employment" is defined as between 90 and 97% of the workforce having a job. There is NEVER a time in world history when 100% of a population is working. Let me re-emphasize that. THERE IS NEVER A TIME IN WORLD HISTORY WHEN 100% of a population is working!!! The reasons are various but according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics , at any given time there are people who quit jobs, or go back to school, or retire or start a business, and yes there are people who get laid off when a business fails. There are also people who NEVER get a job their entire lives and find ways to manipulate the system. For example has anyone ever seen a person walk in an establishment and just ask for a business card? Well sometimes those people just want to take a 6 month vacation on the taxpayers dime by taking those cards to the unemployment office and stating they are "looking for work" but can't find anything.
So although right now unemployment has trended upwards, it always ebbs and flows as the economy adjusts itself. By the way, we just learned that housing starts jumped unexpectedly and real estate sales as well, which proves my point. So again, things tend to ebb and flow in our economy.
During the "Great Depression" the official unemployment estimates were 25%. Right now we are approaching between 7 and 9% unemployment, again depending on who's news channel you are watching and who's report they are running on the teleprompter that day. Some believe unemployment during the Depression was higher because government statistics are like everyone else's statistics. They only work when you have accurate info being reported from the field. In other words how do you label the people who NEVER get a job no matter HOW GOOD the economy is? Come on. We all know someone or maybe even have a family member that wouldn't take a job tasting pie in the pie factory even if it paid a million bucks a year!!!!
All that being said, we are still above 90% employment even with all the bad news we hear every hour of every day!! So we are still very close to full employment. The fact is, its a crisis to those who lost their jobs, those of us who may have lost money from retirement and still have jobs will recover over time. Those who lost jobs will find new ones in time. Some who lost jobs and had a great idea for a business, but were too afraid of losing everything, will now start that business because they HAVE lost everything and now have nothing to lose. So some of the losers will become big winners in time.
So the truth is that if we had only 10% of the population working and 90% unemployment, then THAT WOULD BE A REAL CRISIS!!!! Again, its never as good or bad as it seems
2) President Obama also knows that whats really going on is a reset in the economy. Pundits like to claim that 11 trillion dollars in American wealth has disappeared. What the pundits won't say is that the wealth never really existed in the first place!!! Appraisers, bankers, lenders, loan offices, mortgage applicants, house flippers, "get rich tonight by buying my real estate course today gurus" and yes even Jim Cramer, were all LYING to us!!! So the wealth was never real to begin with.
Real national wealth comes from a country that works hard and has a solid manufacturing base. Wealth is also generated by nations that SAVE portions of their income, not nations that live on CREDIT!!!. What has happened since the downturn? People have started paying off debts and saving!!! Imagine that!!!???
Since the 80's we started adding things like "junk bonds" and now "credit default swaps" to our GDP numbers. So yeah while the professional crystal ball readers ( economists) could point to the growing GDP, the reality was that middle America already knew something was wrong with this picture YEARS before CNN, FOX and MSNBC started speaking the forbidden words.. "Re.... RE, REEE,,,, RECESSION!!!! gasp!!! The horrors!!!!!! Again the money wasn't real. It was all smoke and mirrors. Part of our problem is we Americans either drink too much, or take too many illegal substances because we have very short memories. Why can't we remember the same thing happened during the dot com bubble? Or the Savings and Loans scandal, or Black Monday? Anyone over 30 years old has already seen similar downturns in this economy several times in their own lifetimes.
While I'm on that subject. NO CHINA WILL NOT OWN AMERICA AND START A NEW WORLD CURRENCY. Does anyone remember how we were told JAPAN INC. would one day own America? That was back in the 80s. Entire books were written about how the Japanese would one day own America. I mean they bought Rockefeller Plaza. "GASP!!!!" Only to have to sell it back at a loss 8 years later as they faced their own economic crisis which they are STILL not fully recovered from.
Here we are almost 30 years in the future and the Japanese still don't own us. Ok so now we eat more Sushi, but we still are speaking English and using dollars instead of Yen.
About 200 Chinese millionaires come to America to buy foreclosed properties and its on CNN and we work ourselves into a lather over the Chinese. Ok, when a 100 million Chinese millionaires storm our shores call me!!!!
In Physics scientists understand that everything in the universe tends to equilibrium. If a system that is at equilibrium is disrupted somehow, the system will do whatever is necessary to return to a state of equilibrium. Equilibrium is attained when a system is in place and uses minimal energy to sustain itself.
We are going through that process now. Home prices are simply returning to realistic levels that will allow young families to enable them to afford a home now. People who lied on mortgage applications and never should have had a home in the first place are having their homes repossessed and making way for people who aren't lying about their income to be able to afford a home. Mortgage companies that forged documents and created false wealth are being cleared away so ethical mortgage lenders can gain well deserved business. Businesses that lied, cheated and stole are being either removed or causing laws to be drastically changed so that the surviving businesses or new businesses can never lie, cheat and steal their way to the top again. ETC, etc, etc.( Well I'm sure some businesses will find ways to lie cheat and steal their way to the top, they always do )
So although this is a painful process, it is a necessary process to bring sanity back to the economy. Again everything in the universe tends to equilibrium
3) President Obama really DOES NOT want 3.6 trillion dollars!! Ok people stay with me here. I know the President is young, but he is a brilliant thinker and politician. People tend to forget that this young upstart found a way to defeat some of the most powerful families, organizations and PAC's in the world and become POTUS. He's very rarely caught off guard.
Does anyone remember how after the stimulus package passed, how the Republicans were crying about how they were not allowed to participate in any meaningful way, and Obama responded.." I already had placed some of the biggest tax cuts in American history in the package.. maybe I should have left the tax cuts out and let the Republicans put them back in so they could take some credit for it and feel good about it.."
Ok????? Remember Jeremiah Wright, and then the "clinging to their guns " statement? Remember how the entire world watched to see " ok smarty pants lets see you get out of that one!!!' Remember how even Joe Scarborough was like "wow this guy is good!!!' after he did get out of both incidents that could have sunk his campaign???
Same thing is going on with the budget battle. Its called negotiations. He absolutely knows Congress isn't going to authorize 3.6 trillion dollars in spending. No one in Congress is stupid enough to bankrupt our country just to prove a political point. ( Then again we do have some people in Congress , on both sides of the isle, that are so stupid they think a football coach has 4 wheels... so I digress!)
So what does Obama do ? He asks for 3.6 trillion while all the time thinking " They will probably come back with maybe a 1.8 to 2 trillion dollar budget." The Republicans will get to grandstand and state how they enjoyed working with the President but had to stand on principle and cut the budget. Democrats can crow that they " did the right thing to get American people back to work" and China will let go a huge sigh of relief knowing that they won't have to write a check that big. Commodity prices will come back in line with reality (They are the next bubble to burst) and the fears of massive inflation will dissipate. Photo ops will ensue, we the people will cheer for a day and then the next Battle Roy ale will begin.
Like I said. Obama is a quick learner, thats how he ran circles around the competition and become our President.
I could be wrong, but given his history, I don' t think I'm far off the mark.
Now given what I have observed and some things he probably knows that we have no clue about, its ok if he laughs at loaded questions every once in a while.