Posts Tagged ‘get busy’

Cranked-up country

February 17, 2011

Poor ole uncle sam; all strung out on crack and heroin. Or, excuse me, I’m thinking of somebody else, some loser squatting in the abandoned house down the street.
Uncle sam is junked up with those other habits, the acceptable ones–credit crank and  mainline oil.
The politicians all have their two different camps for rehab strategies:

Liberals want to keep the methadonish greenback mainline flowing freely, with that rubbery Fed strapped around uncle sam’s arm so everybody rich and poor high and low has a little jingle to keep their jangle pump primed up, and they want to keep the oil price high with energy taxes to discourage consumption and theoretially get us weaned off the middle east fossilized mainline, which is so politically unstable these days due to widespread outbreak of democratic frenzy, rendering the Gulfs unpredictable, liable to be cut off at any time and you know we’d really be up shiite creek then. But it’ll be a sunni day in hell before we ever achieve energy independence. Nice thought though.

Conservatives want to cut the hell out of credit by going cold turkey with fiscal responsibility, which they mistakenly think the “American people,” couch potatoes all, want. They talk big about slashing budgets, but know it can never really happen thanks to the credit-cranked old new deal and all the neo-deals since then. On the other side of the pump, they wanna keep energy prices low so everybody can drive to work at the jobs they don’t have any more or are working parttime, gotta keep them gas tanks filled up, and if the Ahabs the Arabs get to be upstarts with their ole OPEC tricks we’ll send the boys over there to whip em in line and teach em a thing or two about democracy.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Dick and Jane are starting to figure out they better make the best with what they got. What will you do today to make the world a better place for you and yours?

Glass Chimera

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Searching for an authentic basis for realistic optimism

July 31, 2010

Economic growth has always been driven by emerging nations.
As the sun once set on the British Empire, it is now, in its unstoppable path from east to west to far east, now going down on the the good ole days of the good ole USA. The time of our manifest destiny expansion is winding down.

Now we have, instead of the good ole days for which we older Americans yearn, the good new days, which our children and grandchildren will inhabit, while we take on more passive, though hopefully wiser, roles. Our golden age of adaptation is begun. We need to adjust our goals and practices to accommodate the great moving mandala of opportunity.

Can we meet the challenge of our age, or will we atrophy into welfare statism while crying prescription-drug-laden tears into our beer?
The times they are a changin’. We must rise with our acquired storehouse of knowledge (one if by land) and wisdom (two if by sea). Here’s the first principle for our next phase of development: 
Necessity is the Mother of Innovation.

Our great growth phase is over. Merryn Somerset Webb, in a valiant search for the occluded silver lining, grapples with this inconvenient truth in her article in yesterday’s Financial Times.

She passes along a statistical observation which she had gleaned from James Anderson, which  points out that the rate of global growth peaked in the mid-70s at 5%. “Since then,” notes Ms. Webb, “it has been around a respectable 3 per cent.”

It seems to me that this “rate of global growth” slowing coincides with  the big-picture decline of our own overall economic growth. It is a natural development that, we now find, has landed us in the present predicament, not unlike the “stagflation” of that late 1970s malaise.

But our present malady is surely more severe, and much deeper in its effects upon our comfortable existence.

And its root cause is this: the torch of economic dynamism is now being passed to a new set of runners. The new movers and shakers of capitalistic endeavor of our era have, in this round, a little more state-controlled coordination than in previous thrusts. Like it or not, this is the way things happen in a planetary development fueled upon fewer resources than we humans had before. The Hegelian dialect is surely demonstrable here in the great scheme of things. Capitalism and Statism are merging, as we speak, to produce something entirely new–something that is intrinsically more restrictive than the old models, and yet somehow, necessary. It is the way progress happens in the 21st century.

Conservatives are not comfortable with this. I am, myself, a conservative, but also a realist. Good ole-fashioned competition, in the future, will require more exquisite channels of organization. And there’s no way we Americans, for instance, can perpetuate this prosperity thing without playing by the new rules. Those new regs, dictated not by us fat’n’happy yankee consumers but by the new kids (China) on the capitalist block require more correlation with government.

Read ’em and weep, free-market absolutists.
Nevertheless, there is hope yet for us entrepreneurs and wannabees. There is most assuredly a worldwide thrust of free enterprise, also by necessity, on the micro level. This is happening in China, and it can happen again here. Like the great irony of life itself, in order to think big, we must again learn to think small.

The new young-bucks in the global chemin de fer are now laying another BRICK in the superstructure of planetary wealth and development. Merryn Somerset Webb also mentions in her FT article the somewhat symbiotic interplay of  imitation and innovation by which economic  processes expand. These principles for efficiency and improvement mortar together the fundamental building materials: capital, education, and technology transfer.

All together they constitute a new  economic lattice-work that will surpass our obsolete edifices.

These inevitable changes will hit some of us pretty hard. But as the old gaming challenge goes: Put up or shutup. Or written another way: Quit y’ er whinin. Get used to it. Or stated yet another way:

Do or die.

While we have a dire need to renovate the way we comfort-seeking Americans do things, what we  really need now in the face of such challenges is optimism.

President Obama, among many hope-seeking others, supplies it. Yesterday he told auto workers: ” Don’t bet against the American worker. Don’t bet against the American people.” Jackie Calmes reports in her New York Times article that our President hopes to drive the now-subsidized automakers toward overhauling their operations and make necessary sacrifices.

Sacrifices? Yes.

In other words, change with the times.  Necessity is the mother of Innovation. We’ve got some Federal Reserve Notes to send in your direction, but you’ve got to make good use of them.

Is that possible? Is it possible that highly-institutionalized, multi-layered redundant American industry can figure this stuff out and make best use of both governmental loans and stockholder investments? Is it possible they (we) can emerge from this camel through the eye of a needle downsizing tribulation better equipped to prosper in future conditions?

Our life depends on it.

You carmakers–both owners and workers–better get busy doing the right things to make us leaner and stronger, not fat and happier.

That kind of surgery doesn’t happen without a few cuts.
.
Meanwhile, back at the tranche:  Has anyone built any trains in this country lately? Do we even know how anymore?

head in the sand?

May 30, 2010

Are your going to keep your head in the sand, or are you going to do something about it?

Oh, excuse me.  I was talking to myself again.

In your heart, you know he’s right.

March 21, 2010

Now that President Obama has spoken frankly to the US House of Representatives about today’s legislation, which  is “built on the private insurance system that we have now, and runs straight down the center of American political thought…”
Now that he has asked them to pass the bill and  “do it for people who are really scared right now through no fault of their own, who’ve played by the rules, who’ve done all the right things, and have suddenly found out that because of an accident, because of an ailment, they’re about to lose their house…”
Now that our President has publicly admitted to legislators and to the American people that the measures taken are not perfect…
but it is designed in these times of high unemployment to improve an “employer-based system (that is) fray(ing) along the edges…”
Now that he has spoken persuasively to our lawmakers about “all those people who you looked in the eye and you said, ‘you know what, you’re right, the system is not working for you and I’m (you’re) going to make it a little bit better…'”
Now that this “middle of the road” bill is passing…
We offer sympathy to those progressives who complain that the law does not go far enough. We also offer advice: Get busy making this country a better place to grow old and healthy.
We offer sympathy to those conservatives who complain that the law goes too far. We also offer advice: Get busy and make this country prosperous again, so we can all afford reasonable health care.
To the doctors of the USA, we offer appreciation for your excellence and care. And we have counsel for you as well: Strive to do what is best for your patients, without unnecessary procedures and tests. Work to achieve a level of professional excellence without resorting to cover your ass medicine. Protect life.
To the lawyers of the USA, we enter this plea: Lighten up, will ya? Let the docs make the medical decisions.
To the nurses (like my wife, Pat) of the USA, we offer appreciation for all your tender care and professional excellence.
To all health care workers, we request: Do good work, and keep in touch. Be content with your pay; you’re fortunate to even have a job in these hard times.
To the medical administrators of America, I offer these suggestions, as we move toward further improvement of our health care system:
~Set up a clinic next door to your hospital where  folks can get treatment without incurring the expenses.  of emergency medicine. Establish a facility where th ER personnel can say: “You with the bloody nose, go next door (where you can walk out after treatmnt without carrying a bill for a thousand dollars,” or “You with the sprained ankle, we’ll take you next door…
~Find ways to recommend appropriate palliative care for granny and granpa instead of requiring their life’s net worth just to gain another six weeks or six months of being tube-tied. Replace cover your ass medicine with compassionate care wherever possible.

To the drug addicts and alcoholics of America, I highly recommend: Get help and get clean. Turn to Jesus. Cease and desist from your expensive, system-draining, drug-seeking hospital stays. We, the medically-insured people are tired of bailing you out when there are so many people who need real medical attention, and we can’t afford to string you along any more.

To the newly unemployed, we offer hope: Although your Cobra coverage may be running out, the people of the United States of America are standing beneath you with a safety net. God bless em’ with all their capitalist and socialist foibles. Now go out and get busy! Find something productive to do, even if you don”t have a the job of your choosing.
To those previously uninsured who will now obtain coverage as a result of the new health care bill: Act responsibly and be thankful.
To those whose previously-existing medical conditions precluded your obtaining insurance: I hope this new law works better for you.
To those whose insurance coverage has ever been canceled due to serious illness or lifetime limits: Hold on. We hope to get som help for you soon.
To everybody else in America:  Quit smoking cigarettes and watching so much tv.
To the world, we say: Thank God for the United States of America.

It’s, oh, so much more than than the bully pulpit that Teddy calld it.

January 28, 2010

Teddy called it a bully pulpit; but it is so much more than that.
As our legislative branch of government finds itself in indecisive stalemate, our President steps up to the plate and speaks, among his many talking points, this simple statement:
“We should start where most new jobs do — in small businesses, companies that begin when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream or a worker decides it’s time she became her own boss.”
Oh yes, I know it sounds like rhetoric, and It tastes like cliched boilerplate Americana apple pie, but it’s true. Now is the time for all men and women to come to the aid of their country.
I’m serious, y’all.
Congress can’t fix it. The Court won’t correct it, because the Court understands that we are a free people, and we needn’t have the government do everything for us.
Just because the government bails out the fat cats, that  doesn’t mean we all have to be bailed out.
It’s time for the American people to rise up and do what their government is unable to do, because their government is broke!
Americans, find something productive to do.
Oh, so you think there’s nothing you can do in this situation?
Who’s going to suffer if you don’t act? Those, perhaps, who are dearest to you?
You may have to, uh, take a pay cut. That’s a big part of what this deleveraging thing is all about.
If you’re mad at the bankers, you can feel better about lowering your standard of living just a bit. The bankers don’t like deflation.
Furthermore, this belt-tightening is what we need to make our exports competetive with the developing world. But the real crisis is not in our trade deficit, or even in our budget deficit.
It’s in neighborhoods and our factories. Look around you. Look in your neighborhood, your city, your church. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
It’s up to you. Follow the President’s advice; step up to the plate and show us what ya got.
Let’s we the people lead our leaders back to true democracy.