Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You Can Cut The Economic Tension With A Knife

Have you noticed the economic tension rising recently?  I have.  As one who reads and watches a variety of sources all day long from officialdom to the financial press to those in the blogosphere (where I often find some very intelligent debate going on), I can't help feeling that the tension pervading all these sources has risen noticeably in recent weeks.  The stimulus money is mostly spent, job creation in the U.S. is non-existent, and retail investors don't trust the stock markets.  I could go on ad infinitum.  On a long drive through the foothills the other day I listened to Tim Geitner being quizzed about G20 matters, the European sovereign debt crisis, etc.  Listening to an interview on the the radio is qualitatively different than watching it on TV - sure you can't see the body language, but the pauses, intonation and choice of words seems much more acute in the absence of distractions like advertisements (or traffic in this case).  The thing that struck me most was his deft evasion of some questions, using the old "tell 'em what you want 'em to hear instead of answering their questions" ploy.  I distinctly got the feeling that he didn't really believe in what he was saying, ie. the U.S. administration line he was delivering.  His tone was just plain unconvincing.  I feel for the guy because I think he's bright, has his heart in the right place and is doing this job for the public good rather than personal glory.  However, I think he's beginning to experience serious doubts about whether the U.S. economic recovery is on the right course, and that affects us all.  I hope I'm wrong, but there are more and more voices and indicators telling me we are entering very dangerous economic times.