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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fringeville Edition #5, June 23 2011

Slipping and Sliding Down Devolution Road

While I was working yet another double-shift last night, it occurred to me that our nation’s economy is in a state of devolution. What the heck, why be selfish? We’re living in a period of global economic devolution.

Of course, I recognize that I may simply be seeing the state of things through eyes focused narrowly on my own uncertain future.

But I don’t think so. Really I don’t.

What got me pondering the devolution of our economy wasn’t statistics. It was the intangibles. There’s a sense of things slipping away. It’s something you feel in your gut, you can’t chart or graph it. I heard this consistently during my door-to-door campaigning last year. People feel uncertain. They don’t see a brighter future for themselves or their children. They had a general sense that the wheels were loose or already coming off.

And what about the “tangibles?” Well, they’re certainly not pretty. A double-dip housing recession. Persistent and unacceptably high unemployment. Slowing growth as all the sugar that’s been pumped into the economy wears off.

And then, today, I see yet another sign governments are getting a tad desperate. 60 million barrels of oil are being released from global strategic reserves. About half of that comes from US stockpiles. This is being released at a time when prices are slowly falling already.

It’s another stimulus, folks. It’s meant to drive down oil and free up disposable income to drive the great economic engines of the world. But strategic reserves are meant to address severe interruptions of supply. They weren’t designed to function as a stimulus.

But yes, campers, there is a bright side: lower gas prices will make the trips to the unemployment office a little cheaper.

And you thought this was note of pessimism!