Monday, October 6, 2014

The Economy: Feel "Better" Yet? Hmm...

Who would have thought that an improved economy would still leave a feeling of muddling along, and yet this has been the case. Democrats aren't getting many accolades for "better" rhetoric, in spite of considerable gains on Obama's watch. Even as plenty of folk are uncomfortable with the "hard right turn" among Republicans, there's little enthusiasm to be had for Democrats, either. According to E.J. Dionne:
Democrats...have made their living as the party that lifts up the many and not just the privileged few. Republicans have traditionally said that growth is everything and if the rich get richer, their success will eventually work its way down to everyone else.
Interestingly, both of these "normal" perspectives have shifted somewhat. How many Republicans continue to promote growth?? Meanwhile, Democrats can scarcely continue to pursue policies which lift up "the many", which is why the middle class appears as though squeezed. Of course, the current fiscal definition for many needed services, does not help their case.

Services as fiscal in nature, is also problematic for Republicans - albeit for different reasons. Even though recent Republican arguments highlight the problems of the poor, the same service sector issues which plague the middle class, particularly plague the poor. For instance, cutting bloated programs in favor of a general income, does not get to the root of structural services limitations which remain in the system. So far, neither party has been willing to seriously consider the supply side problems which continue to stand in the way of economic access.

As a result, many Democrats and Republicans aren't willing to back substantial growth, in part because they desire growth on terms which satisfy their goals. If that were not bad enough, recent years of focus on economic dialogue has not even translated to a greater public understanding of monetary policy in general. As Bonnie Carr indicated:
This just goes to the point that almost no one is the wiser about macro than they were 8-10 years ago. We haven't had the public debate necessary to put all of the fallacious arguments about the origins of inflation to bed forever, leaving us vulnerable to inflation nutter talking heads and monetary policy that is in disarray.
She also spoke of a decline in blog traffic, which is indeed evident just from a quick perusal of comment sections for normally high traffic blogs. Often, there's more spam to be deleted, and less engagement with post authors. I believe that the public has become weary of discussions which seemingly go nowhere, hence are trying to get on with life as best as possible. Who can blame them!

All along, political factions have been too interested in making solutions about their own personal platforms, instead of engaging with the public to see what other visions of progress might actually exist. So even as the blogosphere succeeded in heightening the volume of the discussion for a time, the results often felt more political in nature, than anything else.

As Scott Sumner now reaches out to provide greater monetary definition with a futures market for NGDP...why aren't other private interests trying to do the same for the marketplace as a whole? Why aren't entrepreneurs going straight to the public to find out the infrastructure shifts they actually seek, instead of leaving this vital matter to Washington insiders? There is so much that could be gained, by looking beyond the political gridlock of the present. After all, Washington gridlock is of a nature that citizens might not feel better, for decades.

An unfortunate aspect of political realities is that too many people are paid - quite well - to "stay in line". Which in turn means brilliant minds that are exponentially smarter than my own, are not always free to voice their own ideas for progress. It's true: more inclusive ideas invariably step on the toes of someone within our economic, familial and social realm - whatever one's connection to the economy or lack of it. But without structures to meet changing realities, the "logical" standards not only become more distorted over time, but boring. Finally the same old same old wins the day. And long will the day remain "won"? One wonders.

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