Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yes, I am worried

The most dismal exponent of the dismal science, Nouriel Roubini, remains in full gloom mode. The gist:

[I]ncome and wealth inequality is rising again. Poorer households are at greater risk of unemployment, falling wages or reductions in hours worked, all leading to lower labour income, whereas on Wall Street, outrageous bonuses have returned with a vengeance. With the stock market rising and home prices still falling, the wealthy are becoming richer, while the middle class and the poor – whose main wealth is a house rather than equities – are becoming poorer and being saddled with an unsustainable debt burden.

So, while the United States may technically be close to the end of a severe recession, most of America is facing a near-depression. Little wonder, then, that few Americans believe that what walks like a duck and quacks like a duck is actually the phoenix of recovery.

Roubini fears that the U.S. working class will never recover from its losses in the Great Recession. And he makes a strong case. The suffering in this country is palpable. Hunger and want are growing in the land. The Hoovervilles -- shantytowns -- of the 1930s are appearing again. And it's just going to keep getting worse.

Astonishingly, the Obama administration and the Democrats in congress seem utterly unaware of what is happening in this country. They don't talk about it, they don't seem to want to do anything about it, while the political opposition right now is extremist, bellicose, and irrational. Does it remind you of a period in German history in the past century? If the sane party doesn't wake up right now, we risk a political debacle more ruinous than our present economic disaster.

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