Friday, October 02, 2009

Uncertainty and The Future

The government employment numbers came out for the month of September and things do not look good. The "official" unemployment figure is 9.8%. A statistically significant number yes, but realistically it's meaningless. The true number of unemployed or chronically under-employed is probably better than 15% maybe even 20%. Twenty-one months of decline and million upon millions of good jobs lost. Why is this downward spiral continuing? One word: uncertainty

There is massive uncertainty about the creeping Federal takeover of the economy. You might scoff at the notion and label me (and many others) a reactionary, but it has been a long time coming and this administration has got the accelerator mashed to the floor.

The only one doing any hiring right now is the Federal government. What business, big and small, need from government now is a steady hand at the helm with a calm and measured response to the continuing financial crisis. What we have now is calm words from an articulate speaker (teleprompted of course) but whose actual deeds are anything but reassuring.

America followed George W. Bush to war after 9/11, even invading a country that had nothing to do with it because he was steady and resolute. There were no flowery speeches, quite the opposite actually, but underneath there was calm, conviction and certainty. He was reelected. Less than a year later his Presidency was in shambles as he appeared absent in the aftermath of Katrina and uncertain as Abu Grabbe and Fallujah unfolded. Bush never recovered from this shocking appearance of uncertainty.

Barack Obama is not instilling any certainty in middle America. We have seen our world turned upside down by this financial crisis that most of us had little to do with. The crash of the housing sector was as much a function of government meddling as it was so-called capitalist greed. So here we have the same players - congress and the big lending/investment/insurance houses - gobbling up even more of the cash while the middle class plummets. Rather than a calm and steady hand Obama appears to be ready to double down on all the things that got us into this mess... What is he doing about bringing jobs back to America? What is Obama doing to instill confidence and certainty so that employers big and small can start calling the American people back to work? The answer is nothing.

As the value of the dollar shrinks due Obama's massive spending programs American business is going to take what dollars they have left to grow their businesses overseas. It's already happening - has been for years actually.

Without certainty there is no future.