Here's a letter to the editor of the SB News-Press that I submitted yesterday. I'll update this post when/if it's published.
UPDATE: The letter was published on Friday, October 23, 2009.
We’re being told that improvement in the “real economy” (that’s us, folks) won’t begin until Americans start spending again. But we can’t spend more unless we have more, and that means we need more jobs and better pay. But those increases are dependent upon improvement in the “real economy.” Do you get it? We’re caught in an economic loop, a “jobless recovery,” where only the money-changers’ pockets benefit—just like the one we suffered through during the Bush years.
There’s this difference, however. Whereas over the last decade Americans were able (and induced) to borrow against their homes and credit cards to spur spending, now we can’t. We’re already maxed out (or more), while our home values are declining, our mortgage payments increasing and our credit limits shrinking.
What about all those billions (or is it trillions?) that were poured into the banks and their insurers during the last year? Well, it turns out they haven’t “trickled down” after all, unless you’re one of their CEO’s or shareholders. But job growth? Nada. And an increase in real wages and salaries of workers? No way. Indeed, we’re still losing jobs at a monstrous rate, and wages are still in decline. Only the stock market is rising—and that’s merely an increase from a panic-driven bottom. In short, all that’s happened over the last year can be captured in a single word: Nothing.
To quote Bette Davis, “Fasten your seatbelts, we’re in for a bumpy night.”