Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wham Bam Thank You Gramm

I want to take a few minutes to defend the man who should be president:
former Sen. Phil Gramm. The economics PhD. has come under assault in
the last few days for claiming we are only in a "mental recession" and
that we have become a "nation of whiners." In a society that claims to
want "straight talk" and holds spin and pandering by politicians in
disrepute, this should have been received as refreshing. Instead, this
has become an overblown media story that is just another excuse to
attack Republicans as uncaring.
Q: How do the media know we are in a recession?
A: We have a Republican president and it's an election year.
Despite
not meeting the textbook definition of a recession, this downturn is
still portrayed as such, if not as a depression. People, please, get a
grip. Growth is anemic, but not negative. Unemployment is only 5.5%,
historically low and close to the old definition of full employment (5%
unemployment). There are some troubling aspects to the economy, but our
pain threshold as nation is
very small. Stocks are down, gas is expensive, some prices are going
up, but America as we know it is not coming to an end. We've
experienced worse, and in recent history. This, well, mental recession
is another example of our country's historical illiteracy and short
memory.

But are we a
nation of whiners? This statement was criticized as if Sen. Gramm was
referring to, say, a recently unemployed factory worker who is facing
foreclosure and a future with neither health care nor retirement. Uh,
no. I'm too lazy to look for links, but two examples of what he was
referring to come immediately to mind. Both were published in articles
in either the NYT or WSJ. In the first, a woman complained that that
economic downward had caused her to have to eat at
Applebees instead of fancier restaurants, and to shop at Target
instead of more upscale clothiers. The other involved a man kvetching
that the decline in the stock market had caused him to delay his
retirement by a few years. He was a health 57. Wah. Sen. Gramm was
right.

1 comment:

Dr Minus said...

The fact that everyone is whining about being called whiners kinda proves Senator Gramms point, no?