Friday, April 4, 2008

The Economic Crisis: A Valuable Republican Opportunity

Just when you think you’ve beat the winter flu, your immune system inevitably fails and you get blindsided with that post-winter / pre-spring fever. I got sick earlier this week. Not that I went to the doctor – because I, like 15% of Americans, don’t have health insurance. Not that I could have afforded my co-pay anyways. I made an executive self-decision that my last $20 had to go into my gas tank.

And sadly, for middleclass Americans, this is what it has come to. We’re now projecting cost /benefit analysis into our daily lives. As inflation increases and economic stability decreases, we’re all feeling the pressing pinch of the dwindling dollar.

What we’re seeing now is a redistribution of economic pain as this recession plows forward. It was easy to sit perched on our ivory towers, pointing fingers down at the helpless victims of subprime mortgages. It was easy to blame the mythological behemoth financial institutions and their frivolous money mongering lending policies. Too many of us were quick with our smug smiles, shoulder shrugs and dismissals of self blame.

Unfortunately, what once was ‘it’s not MY problem’ has become ALL of our problems. As a nation, we are all destined to suffer under George Bush’s fouled oil war, the economic downfall and skyrocketing commodity prices. The economic beast pays no mind to social or economic status; he will make victims of us all.

And for those who have escaped this fiscal massacre untouched: beware. Commodities will continue to increase, making purchasing even the most basic items expensive. Increased oil prices will turn weekend road trips into expensive excursions. And interest rate cuts, instead of promoting liquidity, will create inflation. Even our savings accounts can’t catch a break.

In these troubled times, we’re forced to fall back on a life cost/benefit analysis – something many of us aren’t comfortable with applying. This means shifting focus from what we want to what we need by concentrating on the big picture and what’s ultimately important – not the trinkets and toys that we may have to give up every time the closing bell rings red. We’re now confronted with dollars and cents choices that did not exist two years ago. Some of us are going to have to sacrifice that big summer vacation this year, or those weekend road trip getaways.

McCain is missing out on a valuable opportunity. If Bush were running for reelection, he would have already taken credit for all the benefits that the recession has created. After all, Bush’s oil war has prompted a healthy return to the American core. We’ve been forced to abandon our capitalist ideals in exchange for a return to moral fortitude. Perhaps we’ve stumbled upon “American moral restoration” as the next excuse for our endeavors in Iraq – seeing how terrorism, WMD’s, and Iraqi liberation didn’t seem to work. “American moral restoration” could even justify turning a blind eye to the economic crisis. Either way, if there’s one truth we can believe, it’s that the republicans will spin whatever disaster they’ve created into something positive they can take credit for.

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