Build complex toys and simple tools
by Tony Karp
We need new words to describe what's happening
A recession in the sky - the sun and clouds - We need new words to describe what's happening - Tony Karp, design, art, photography, techno-impressionist, techno-impressionism, aerial photography , drone , drones , dji , mavic pro , video , 3D printing - Books -
Are we in a recession?

The current administration fiddles with the numbers and denies that we're in a recession. The president says it's just a "rough patch" and things are getting better. Economists quibble as to whether the current situation meets the classical definition of a recession.

Are we in a recession?

The administration has plunged us into a war in the Mideast, one that has no chance of ending soon. The war, with all of its ghastly elements, is also putting an incredible drag on the economy, with the eventual cost now estimated at several trillion dollars. In past conflicts, the government has raised taxes to pay for their wars. In this case, it's going on a national credit card for our grandchildren to pay.

Are we in a recession?

Thanks in part to the war in the Mideast, and to the threat that the administration will take us into further wars in the Mideast, the price of crude oil has skyrocketed. It's now five times higher than when the administration took office. This will affect almost every aspect of our lives. The price of gasoline has more than tripled, the price of heating oil has jumped even further. Some can no longer afford to drive to work. Everyone who drives for a living has been hit, from taxi drivers to truck drivers. This winter, many Americans will have trouble coming up with the money to heat their homes.

Are we in a recession?

The cost of fuel has had an impact in many other areas. The price of essentials like milk and flour has jumped. Many businesses will fail when they can no longer absorb the higher costs and are unable to pass them along.

Are we in a recession?

Thanks to an unregulated mortgage market, coupled with skyrocketing costs, we are seeing the worst housing crisis since the great depression. There are almost a million houses in foreclosure nationwide, more than 3,000 in the county where I live. And the experts are predicting that this will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Are we in a recession?

Hidden beneath the housing crisis is the credit crisis. People are living off of their credit cards just to pay for the essentials of life. In the meantime the credit card companies are raising their interest rates. Experts are warning that this is yet another time bomb waiting to explode.

Are we in a recession?

And, while no one was looking, the dollar has fallen against the world's major currencies. Since the administration took office, the dollar has fallen over 60% against the Euro. To make things worse, American corporations have shipped manufacturing overseas. Things that say "Made in America," once a point of pride, have become exceedingly rare. When your made-in-China gadget stops working, someone in India will talk you through fixing it.

Are we in a recession?

When this administration took office, there was peace and prosperity. There were plenty of jobs and some industries were actually experiencing a labor shortage. There were "Now Hiring" signs everywhere. Now, you see announcements almost daily of companies that are laying off thousands of workers just to survive. It's estimated that the housing crisis alone will put more than 100,000 people out of work. Where will they find jobs? Who will hire them? Real wages have decreased steadily since the start of this administration. Many people have taken pay cuts or have been forced to find employment at work that's far lower than they were trained for. Many people work two or three jobs just to make what they were making eight years ago.

Are we in a recession?

Instead of raising taxes to fund things like the war and the growing need for social programs, the administration has actually given generous tax cuts, mostly to the rich and to corporations. The result is that the social programs that make up America's safety net for its citizens have been cut to the bone to help fund the tax cuts and the war. There are now an estimated fifty million Americans without any health insurance, and almost that many living near or below the poverty level.

Are we in a recession?

During the current administration, hundreds of thousands of Americans have seen the collapse of their pension funds that would have guaranteed a secure retirement. The administration is borrowing from Social Security to make its budget numbers look better and help fund the war and the tax cuts. But this endangers the future of Social Security. The future, once so bright, is getting dimmer.

Are we in a recession?

You would think that the administration would do something to fix these problems. Instead, it ignores them. The president tours the country saying that his tax cuts are working and that they should be made permanent (not sure how you make a tax cut permanent). Other than that, they haven't done a single substantive thing to address any of the problems described above.

In the meantime, Americans grit their teeth, watching the price of everything except their wages skyrocket. For many it's becoming a week-to-week ordeal just keeping a job, a roof over their head, getting medical care, and feeding their family. And it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

So, if it's not a recession, what sort of words would you use to describe it?

--

Artist's note: Sorry for the rant, but it finally got to me. I just checked the calendar and it's 222 days until someone will be sitting in the White House who can take a hand at fixing things. There's an election in November, quite possibly the most important one ever. This will be the only chance that you and I have to change things. Don't waste your vote.
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