What's going on now as the effects of the subprime mortgage and hedge fund disasters ripple through the economy like the venom from a snake bite is not terribly dissimilar from the dot.com kaboom in some respects, but very different in another:The consequences of that myopia are beginning to border on the catastrophic:
While greed was an element there, greed is the element here and virtually no one in a position of responsibility is fessing up to that.
* The latest job report is the worst in five years and the decline in the jobless rate no cause for joy since it reflects people giving up looking for work.To give credit where it's due, greed as a business principle did not begin with the election of George Bush. Furthermore, some economic issues such as trying to control the price of oil are beyond the grasp of any president. Furthermore furthermore, many consumers have made profligate decisions in buying houses that they could not afford and not managing their money carefully.
* Household equity is at an all-time low.
* The number of homes entering foreclosure hit a record high in the fourth quarter of last year.
* An increasing number of homeowners are simply abandoning their digs and walking away from their mortgages.
* Consumer debt continues to grow by leaps and bounds as people max out their credit cards in order to keep their heads above water. Another $6.9 billion in debt was added in January, bringing the total to robust $2.52 trillion.* Banks that loaned money to hedge funds and other big risk-takers are freaking out and want some of it back.
* Oil prices blasted past their all-time, adjusted-for-inflation high earlier in the week and continue to climb.
* Some major economic players remain in denial. J.P. Morgan has continued to insist that the economy was growing despite numerous indicators that it was sliding into or was already into recession.
But if Bush has shown anything it's that he's a sucky leader and adamantly refuses to acknowledge anything that portray him in a negative light, including uttering the word . . . well, you know the word I'm talking about.
As it is, all we get from The Decider and Ben Bernanke are $600 checks (if we make enough to pay taxes) and platitudes.Image: 1929 Rollin Kirby cartoon on Stock Market Crash