Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gut feeling -- it won't be enough

I think the stimulus package, regardless of what exact form it takes, is not a bad thing. It's at the least, politically necessary that the government appear to be doing something.

But at the end of the day I don't think it will prove to be enough.

I don't have any deep economic data to back this up. I don't have a crystal ball or a degree in economics, although I don't think there's any evidence either one would be useful in making a forecast.

No, I base my opinion on the simple observation that at every single stage of this unfolding crisis the "experts" have severely underestimated the nature, scope and duration of the problem.

Looking at Congress members, particularly the GOP, yammering about tax cuts and spending (which they suddenly hate), shows that they really don't get it.

The speed and scale of the crisis has stunned the general public, so the coming reaction has been delayed, but it will come. Dick Cheney, of all people, warned the Republicans about a "Hoover moment." They aren't listening.

The class warfare that the wealthy have waged for the last couple of decades (note the disconnect between earning power and productivity) is very dangerous. Historical precedent suggest that it could end rather badly for the let-them-eat-cake crowd. While U.S. political structures are probably robust enough to prevent the worst kinds of reaction, that's not true elsewhere and I'd be especially watchful about how things play out in more volatile places such as China, India, Brazil, Russia and, closer to home, Mexico.

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