Archive for January 19th, 2008

Economic Help?

I can’t say I’m surprised by media and governments narrow-minded approach to re-energizing the economy.

Normally, I wouldn’t post on this subject, except that I think media plays a big part in reinforcing attitudes the public carries about our economic situation.

We never seem to get beyond the basic economic indicators to explain the situation in government nor the media.  It’s pretty inaccurate to report only on and issue policies on employment numbers, consumer sentiment, consumer product spending and sub prime housing.  Worse, if you are basing any of your personnel micro economic decisions on those metrics, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

let’s consider:

  • the largest expense in a person’s budget is HOUSING (whether renting or mortgage paying)
  • the second largest expense in a family budget and elderly budget is HEALTH CARE
  • the third largest expense in working family budgets is CHILD CARE (it becomes education for college people and post graduates)

Food, transportation, entertainment, and connectivity are all distant runner ups.  Thus most of our analysis and policy deals with our least costly expenses.  Really, think about it.

So now the economic stimulus package is going to give us $1600 back.  As if that makes EVEN A DENT in any of our major expenses.  Spare us the paper work and IRS work of issuing credits.  Fix Health Care costs via transparency or single payer or vouchers or tougher enforcement of fair practices.  Allow the importing of pharmaceuticals to reduce costs of medicine. Raise minimum wages and provide better laws for maternity/paternity leave to reduce dependence on child care. Don’t reduce school budgets for afterschool programs and more teachers as all it does it put pressure on the family to make up the difference. Stop nailing people on property taxes (which forces landlords to jack up rents and homeowners to not save) – yes we can replace those taxes with other taxes that don’t have such trickle down consequences.

and so on.

I don’t have the answers, no one does.  Neither the media nor policy makers are asking the right questions, so there’s no chance to find good solutions.

Bloggers, News outlets, papers, magazines – report on the big economic factors in our lives, not the mice nuts.  The price of consumer gas is a mice nut. the unemployment rate is a mice nut.  Consumer sentiment and spending is a super mice nut.

Actually, there’s no point in moralizing.  I’m trying more to deliver analysis.  Media, government, the public, academic instuitions, corps all reinforce each other.  if we want the behavior of the economic “system” to change, we have to change the reinforcers.  Our economy is in trouble because non of us have enough money to spend? or we’re just spending it on things that don’t give back? (health care! over priced housing! replacement child care! expensive secondary education)

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