The first thing I saw on the news this morning is that Sarah Palin has a tanning bed.
I am officially in the "I don't care" category on Sarah Palin's tanning bed. Actually, I do not care about her relationship with her husband or her children. I do not lay awake at night worrying that her daughter is pregnant. There are many things about her policies, etc., and her prevailing philosophy on things that I am interested in. I do not care that she has a tanning bed.
This weekend Lehman Brothers collapsed. Merrill Lynch was bought out by Bank of America. AIG is seeking major loans; loans exceeding its corporate worth. The Stock Market plunged over 500 points yesterday.
Lots of people believe that this is not going to impact them. Many people do not own stock or mutual funds. However, many pension plans and annuities that we are relying on or will rely on when we retire are getting hammered by this.
Phil Gramm (of you're a bunch of whiners fame) was the principle author of a bill deregulating the banking industry and allowing them to make almost unlimited investing. It has worked as well as Napolean's strategy at Waterloo or Custer's strategy as Little Big Horn. The fact that many people see him as the architect of John McCain's economic plans is downright chilling.
John McCain, to his great discredit, stated yesterday that the economy was fundamentally strong stands as one of the most monumental statements of the campaign.
Fundamentally strong on the day of a collapse of one of the country's leading investment banks. Another one is sold. Another one is in major trouble. The stock market plunged 500 points. The job market is bad. The housing market is bad----people are losing value on their homes. Interest rates for investments are low. There is no place for people to put their money. Fundamentally strong? My sense is that when you have help to toast your bread and butter your toast and pour your coffee, you might have a bit of a disconnect with the average person. I think that John McCain, at his core, is a good person, but he is woefully out of touch with the average person.
I am not sure Barack Obama is either. He, at least, is pointing to the elephant in the living room. He is not touting that the economy is fundamentally strong----he sees a problem. I'm not sure, however, that he has any sort of idea on how to get the elephant out of the living room.
The economy is something that impacts all of us. A great deal of rhetoric has been thrown out there talking about the American worker and that small business has been the foundation of the American economy.
The thing is, this isn't what built the American economy. It was built by manufacturing. When the United States entered World War II, Herman Goering said he wasn't worried because the United States was too busy worrying about manufacturing cars and razor blades. To his great chagrin, those automobile factories built tanks and planes in quantities Hitler's Germany could never match.
In many places, part of the dilemma that is facing people is that the manufacturing jobs are gone. Automobile assembly lines are shutting down. In Louisville, General Electric's Appliance Park is being sold or shut down. My Dad worked for GE years ago for product service in New Jersey. In his GE branch in New Jersey, people spoke of how great Louisville was and how they would love to see where the refrigerators, stoves, and washing machines were being built. That branch, a proud group of people, is gone.
We are in a time of major transition and I suspect we will never again be the manufacturing superstar that we once was the American dream. The transition, however, is painful. In the meantime our greatest financial institutions are collapsing, the stock market is plunging, and there is no place for people to invest their money.
There is a huge issue hanging right out there.
And this morning, the first story on the news was that Sarah Palin has a tanning bed...