Summer of 1976, and the economic outlook called for more of the same... inflation, unemployment and rising oil consumption.
Summer of '76, and the economy wasn't looking so good.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/MARIIA PAZHYNA
Summer's here and the dog days of August will be breathing down our necks before we know it. It's hot and it's sweaty and anyone with any sense (and most people without it) has already slipped off to the ole swimmin' hole for the duration. The economy—as customary—has been left to fend for itself from now until September 1 . . . and, barring the completely unforeseen, the next two months should be a whole lot like the last six, only more so.
All the politicians now in office-Democrat and Republican—are going to keep on telling us how good things are getting . . . and all the politicians running for those same offices are going to keep on telling us that the other guys are tellin' lies.
In the meantime, the folks who want to work and the jobs available will continue to come up mismatched ... inflation—just like the old newsreels of the '40's—will continue to "march on" . . . our consumption of oil will continue to rise while our known reserves go down ... New York and several other big cities will continue to totter on the edge of the black pit of bankruptcy ... and a few more people every day will suddenly realize that social security ain't going to be there to support them when they retire.
California Governor Jerry Brown—who says the right words but who, unfortunately, doesn't have much of a record to stand on-correctly points out that the world won't necessarily come to an end if we take our collective belt in a notch or two (and that it sure as hell will if we don't) . . . but his is about the only small voice of environmental sanity in this season's political and economic babble. Nearly everyone else posturing about in this country with "politician" or "economist" stuck to his lapel figures to solve the planet's problems, when it comes right down to it, with printing press money. And, more's the pity, the poor deluded souls don't even know that that's what they're all talking about.
One of the very few "leaders" on earth today who seems worthy of the title is General Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria. Rather than try to smother that nation's inflation and unemployment with double-shuffle welfare checks, investment credits, hikes in social security, no-interest "loans", and all the other tired old printing press "solutions" that our guys keep trotting out ... General Obasanjo is actually attempting to put his people to work on something that can cut their most basic cost of living.
Nigerian individuals, families, schools, colleges, military units, and other groups are being encouraged to start gardens, revive old farms, and otherwise work to produce enough food to make the country completely self-sufficient.
Naturally the idea of such a straightforward program ("work and grow for yourself what's costing you so much in the marketplace") has never occurred to our "sophisticated" economists and politicians. Why...only someone like the "ignorant" head of an "underdeveloped" nation would think of something as "simplistic" as that.
Hmmm ... I wonder if we could write in General Obasanjo's name this fall when it comes time to vote for president?