Thursday, January 08, 2009
There's plenty of Web reaction to Barack Obama's dire warning about another quasi-Great Depression
This morning (January 8), AOL’s strike page featured a story (from the AP) about Barack Obama’s dire warning that the US and global economy could still get much worse, and that this time the recession (or, frankly, depression) could become prolonged and last for years. The carrot in his warning was that Congress must indeed pass a massive economic stimulus package.
Yet, the “living presidents” luncheon at the White House yesterday and the CNBC interview Wednesday evening really did not convey that kind of urgency. And in the interview Obama said he was trying to establish a range on how much expansion of the deficit (and addition to the national debt) was acceptable.
The AP story by Jennifer Loven, if read between the lines, seems to link back to the mechanics that caused the prolonged recession in Japan in the 1990s (the supposed “liquidity trap”) as well as the Asian and Russian financial crises of the late 1990s. Obama seems to be following the thinking of liberal Nobel economist Paul Krugman, whose book “The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008” I reviewed yesterday on my book review blog. Obama obviously has read the book recently. Even that book distinguished between depression economics and depression "reality".
Nevertheless, there is an enormous reaction on the Web this morning, all over the map. For example. Ruth Calabria writes on MarketWatch (“Voice Your Opinion”) and opens her op-ed by talking about sending the unemployed off to war as cannon fodder during WWI (link here). But on Newswire “Jazzman” writes that Obama is under the influence of “radical ideology” connected with Afro-centrism, link here and that the existence of the United States could be in question.
Economic perils tend to sift down not just to direct hardships but to questions about the basic rights of various people, as individuals, to be seated at “the table.” At least, they demand that everyone see the hidden debts that he or she owes. I’ve seen this all before, like during the hardships of the 70s. This time, maybe it’s (more) real.
Update: 12 Noon
Barack Obama gave a major speech, to the effect that the economic crisis is unlike any other in our lifetimes, on all major networks at 11:15 AM today. I haven't found the text of the speech yet, but here is the MSNBC story. I'll post the link for the speech as soon as I find one (visitors, please give link if you see one).
The "community blog" on Barack Obama's own website announces that the speech will be made today, here.
Here is a transcript of the speech on CNN. Obama delivered the speech at George Mason University at Fairfax, Virginia. Obama calls his program "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan."