Monday, April 04, 2011

Stepping Up for Recovery

Those terms have close links in the financial bog that holds nearly all and devours many Americans. For these, the boomer generation who was supposed to know and do better than their often delusional parents are not stepping up to extract us from the mire.

My generation really doesn't have the excuses of lack of resources and information. We also are not so dull-witted as many moderns, who say, "I wasn't even born yet," as though that excuses every ignorance and lack of analysis. Instead, we largely grew up at my end of boomer-hood studying under pressure. We were the Sputnik/space race era, driven to learn history and civics as science and math. We read newspapers as well as books. We took standardized tests only for class assignment heading junior, then senior high, and for SAT, not to placate the rules-are-rules education overlords.

So everyone really should expect more of the early half of the boomer generation. Unlike the apple-skin thick mini-fact view of history, foreign policy and economics favored now, we had to discuss current events as well as historical ones daily and often at home. After all, our parents were of the WWII generation, who eagerly lectured us on their interpretation of history and humanity. Grunting saying you had no opinion was not acceptable.

So, you'd think that boomers 1.0 would:
  • Not live in the economic fantasies of an endless growth spiral as our parents did, the Utopian lifestyle that made the U.S. founder repeatedly
  • Not engage in military adventurism so favored by Presidents Kennedy through Reagan...and unbelievably into the next three boomer ones
  • Have learned from the examples of nearly every ally and enemy not to sacrifice the commonweal to irrational, unsustainable military spending (Russian was the exception and suffered even more than we)
  • Laughed off the pretext that we operate under a pure capitalistic supply-and-demand economy, and installed safeguards on the crooks and liars in huge corporations and financial institutions
But noooo, as the SNL types are so fond of calling.

I expect more of the boomers and shall continue to demand it. We and the whole nation are at stake. Join me. If you are of a different generation, likewise demand that your peers get their act together.

Tasting Recovery

To the opening terms here, we don't have to pore over enough sources to strain minds and exceed internet-age attention spans. Consider a few pieces in the Financial Times:
Read the three. Recapping them would be far too sketchy. I do see a seminal theme among them though.

Frank spotlights Greenspan's laissez-faire fantasy, the fund-management piece details how overpaid managers are sucking over a trillion out of our economy instead of leaving it for recovery, and Crook mentions the cowardly (my word) avoidance of hiring and paying well by cash-rich U.S. corporations when the economy needs the opposite. Together, these shine lights from different angles on how it is we are staggering and sputtering toward a recovery.

Facts include that government needs to pay enough attention and guide enough to keep money flowing and economies growing. We can't justify pretending we have a 19th century or earlier world economy before massive industrialization and global interdependencies. We as a nation share the European reality that we can no longer suck human and natural resources from developing nations for our own growth. They no longer are our real or de facto colonies.

Moreover, I return to a frequent theme here and on Left Ahead — corporate heads need to show some guts and wisdom. We early boomers grew up on a diet of history books and message movies. Americans are supposed to show courage, take calculated risks, and advance the nation. Companies that sit on bags of cash, refusing to do their parts in healing our economy by hiring and paying enough to provide disposable income, are abject failures at the American ideals.

We can see and smell and taste recovery. This is absolutely the wrong time to allow greed and irresponsibility to drown us all.

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