Tag Archives: economy

A Week After

A week ago, the American people voted and made history. Whether or not you agree with the outcome, it will certainly be interesting to see how the first black president responds to a very challenging set of circumstances that face him.

Here are my quick thoughts on the Obama presidency and our current economic situation.

  • If I had bumper sticker to suggest how I feel about the election, it would say, “I voted for McCain, but I am praying for Obama.”
  • There is no magic bullet for our economy. It took 20-30 years of bad policy to get us here. There is no one person or even party at fault. The only hope for a somewhat speedy recovery is ingenuity and the courage to do the best thing no matter what the public believes is the right decision.
  • The media is likely to give Obama a free pass for a while, which may help bolster consumer confidence as reporters look for positive things to report. Note: this doesn’t mean our economic situation is improving even if the media says good things.
  • The government will likely keep chasing good money after bad. Bailouts for everyone… except small businesses, non-union shops and reject retailers (Circuit City).
  • Obama ran as a new kind of candidate. He presented himself as the first postmodern candidate who would try to work across party lines and develop common sense solutions. That means he will have to be careful trying to push through too aggressive of an agenda. He can only do this if he convinces the American people his reforms are not “socialism” wrapped in an American flag. 
  • Obama promised to be a different kind of president. But it appears he has selected a Washington insider, a beltway shark, to run the White House in Rahm Emanuel. And those aren’t my words. They were writteny by a major D.C. reporter. Also, it is rumored that Obama will pick many former D.C. heavyweights to fill other top posts. How is appointing a bunch of Washington insiders anything new in government? 
  • Guns sales have gone through the roof. I guess many people don’t think that Obama will really be favorable to gun owners. Does that mean that Ray Schoenke was wrong about Obama in his radio ads? Or do gun owners just spook easy?
  • Obama may have to back off on some of his tax hike plans. Rich people are the only ones buying anything right now.
  • Good news – I just paid $1.99 for gas. Wow! I never thought I would be able to say that.
  • It looks like inflation is staying in check except for the cost of college tuition. Endowments took a major hit with the recent Wall Street losses.
  • In his first 100 days in office, I think Obama will throw some bones to some of his favor backers – that includes abortion rights groups, stem cell researchers, unions and environmental groups. I expect for Obama to reinstitute the ban on offshore drilling. He will make it easier to get federal funding for abortions, and press through reforms intended to help unions form in smaller companies. 
  • Housing sales should pickup some as more new people enter the market due to depressed prices. This will primarily be first-time home buyers.
  • It won’t be a great holiday season for retailers. A number of big names could take a wallop at the register. A few might even go out of business.
  • Smart investors will look offshore for opportunities to seek decent returns. Some good stock deals will be available in American companies if you are willing to wait years for a rebound. Overall, economic contagion will impact all economies around the globe even China and the other Asian powerhouses.
  • Obama’s election will likely improve U.S. relations with many countries around the globe. It may also cause a few rogue nations to test the resolve of the new president.

We Only Have a Few Options…

All this talk about bailouts and blooming federal government deficits is enough to make you wish that you could click your heels and go back to a simpler, less chaotic time.  What really bothers me is that I worry we are only delaying the real crash. Sure, the stock market could soon drop below 8000. But the bigger point is that we eventually have to live within our means and start to pay back what we owe the world.

I believe the government basically has a few options to pay back its dept.

1.) Increase taxes and fees. This is likely to happen, especially for anyone with money or those who have done the right thing by saving money over the past 20 years instead of live like a Saudi prince.

2.) Refuse to pay it back and ask, “Whose going to make us?”

3.) Take over another country and use their resources to pay off our debt. This isn’t likely to happen. This kind of exploitation stopped in the 1800s or did it?

4.) Crank up the printing presses and pay our debts back with a worthless dollar.

None of those options looks really appealing. We could always cut budgets and try to reduce our debt. But that would be responsible. And who likes to be responsible in the federal government? Republicans used to be for less spending. Not any more. Democrats have always liked to spend like a teenager with his/her first credit card. At least they want to pay for the spending by getting daddy (all the rich people) to pay for it. Of course, this has a negative effect. It causes people with money to buy less, live in other places and generally take money out of our economy.

I have a feeling we will choose a bit of option 1 and 4. That means we are likely to see more downward pressure on the dollar. This is basically a tax on wealth, which means those who have done the right thing will pay with their savings become almost worthless. It is enough to make us all want to march on Washington and demand someone to just, “Fix It.”

A Crisis of Faith

The recent economic and political events in the United States have helped to bring to the surface a problem that is prevalent throughout our society. We don’t know who to trust any more. As a society, we have lost faith in our government, leaders, institutions and long-held philosophies. This goes way beyond presidential politics. It trickles down to every aspect of life from finances to religion.

There seems to be a growing tide of skepticism in this country. We feel like we have been burnt too many times in the past to trust again. Some of this is the result of a society that has valued the wrong things. From absentee parents to compromised politicians to ungodly preachers, we have become accustomed to those in authority letting us down or in some cases abusing us.

I wish this was just a Washington D.C. problem. But the level of distrust is growing out in the heartland. It has impacted the American Church as millions leave the pews never to return. Many Christians are disillusioned with the church and their pastors. They struggle to find real faith and a community that will embody Christ in this world.

We are at a moment of decision. This crisis of faith could lead to redemption or even more fear and panic. I believe now more than ever is the time for us to cling to the only one we can really trust. And His name is Jesus.