Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Election, the Economy and the Blame Game

As with the Bush tax cut and $300 Bush rebate checks back in 2001, no one remembers the months leading up to the 2008 election.  As Barry Ritholtz mentions in his post on his website,    

"...Had Al Gore been President from 2000-08 (and controlled Congress), the next GOP President would have flailed him for the recession and crisis bank relentlessly. Hell, the GOP still beats Jimmy Carter like a piƱata. Once Obama took office, that was pretty much the last we heard of the Bush recession. The public actually forget who authorized TARP, who bailed out Citibank, BofA, AIG, Fannie Mae, Bear Stearns, etc."  

The tea party movement--while distancing themselves from the Bush years--blame Obama for the failing economy.  Now the shift in power is back to the Republicans in the House establishing a split Congress.  Funny how our memories are short term.  The same people that voted for change this year voted for change 2 years ago with a strong shift back to the Democrats. 

Pivital election years like this one only verified my long standing thoughts on the voting public:  Most people have no idea what REALLY drives the economy and this go-around, what REALLY caused the financial crisis.  No one realizes that the systematic failure of the financial sector and eventually the global economy is beyond any individual person or political party.  We so easily overly simplify the economic issues in 2010 to one or two areas:  taxes and government.  Television and radio ads beat these ideas in our heads.  Yet the seeds of economic destruction that lead us to where we are now reside in deregulation and--at the time, clever--financial engineering.  The environment existed in the 2000s and still exists to this day. It wasn't illegal
but it was hazardous and full of great risk.  As long as Congress is lobbied by the banking industry regardless of who is in power, PROPER and SMART regulation will never be established.  The Consumer Protection Bill was a good start but won't have a huge effect on the overall economy and unemployment.  It might not be next year or 5 years from now but the same problems that got us in this mess will resurface sometime in the future. 

We fail to remember that after the smaller recession in 2000-2001, employment took several years to recover to pre-recession levels.  We want unemployment to fall NOW yet our economic reality dictates otherwise. 

I guarantee that in two years, if the economy is still struggling, the balance of power will shift once again.  The blame in 2008:  The GOP.  The blame now:  The Dems and Obama  The blame in 2012 will shift back to the GOP if unemployment stays high (which it probably will).

Watch it happen.

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