TABLE D'HOTE: Bad hair days
“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” - Edward Abbey
From the haggard look on President Bush’s face in a recent USA Today photo where he appeared with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke, the President should have stayed in bed.
Either that, or the financial state of the western world is more shook up than a plummeting Amy Winehouse hairdo.
With the rescue of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Bear Stearns, the AIG crash, the crack down on short selling, the proposed $700 billion dollar taxpayer Wall Street bailout, and the inevitable en masse golden parachute bailouts of America’s hotshot CEO’s, all remaining money should be placed in Vegas on 10-1 odds that the economy is “Under Siege,” starring Greed, Avarice, Non-Regulation, Exploitation, and co-staring the Sucker Lower Classes.
Is there a way out of the economic morass that Mr. President and all his men just six months ago were calling a “downturn?”
Let’s give the Prez credit on this one. One look at the photo proves he is staying awake at night, sweating out the possible collapse of the world financial system. It beats telling American consumers to go out and have fun and shop their way out of the mess.
Thankfully, the President is leaving details about saving the collapsing western world financial system to his staff, appointees and Wednesday night poker buddies. Unfortunately, his most famous appointee was a FEMA director named “Brownie” who got lost on the way to Bourbon Street when New Orleans was struck by Hurricane Katrina.
Thankfully, there is a real life way out of the financial debacle that no one in the present administration or on Wall Street has thought about.
Is anyone surprised that Entergy has approached the Public Service Commission about charging ratepayers with the cost of upgrading its system and the right-of-way-clearing which it performed in Louisiana after governor Jindal kicked the company in the butt to get energy recovery work started after Hurricane Gustav? Of course, not. That’s how monopolistic energy companies traded on Wall Street operate.
Entergy doesn’t have to give jilting customers a second thought, even though ratepayers are scratching their heads in disbelief. Who can blame captive customers for thinking upgrades and right-of-way clearing are normal business costs and covered by monthly rates without increases?
Which brings us to the solution of the greatest financial crisis in America since the Great Depression.
It’s not sexy and its not shopping. It’s infrastructure.
The money being poured into making Americans shopping addicts should be diverted into infrastructure development.
America has too many service industry fast food and shopping outlets, all of which hire too many people at wages too low for dating, much less supporting a family.
Investors large and small who throw their money into copy cat burger franchises and clothing outlets should be encouraged to put their money into infrastructure projects. For the conservative investor, bridges, roads, sewer lines, underground utilities, mass transit projects. For the adventurous investor, solar power, natural gas fueled autos, wind power. In other words, build one bridge, open one McDonalds. Convert one neighborhood to underground utilities, open a Victoria's Secret.
This solution won’t solve the Entergy problem. But ridding the world of bad hair days by rebuilding America’s infrastructure is a good start.