By Keith Schmitz
When we all debate about remedies for our economy the argument usually gets down to how the US of A is doing versus other countries. Usually the conservatives claim that the Europeans (our favorites) have this huge unemployment problem and their economy is on the ropes.
Well you can hoot and holler about how poorly other countries are doing, but there is one report card that givers a pretty good idea of relative standing and that is the exchange rate.
My wife and I do a fair amount of international travelling. We did Canada a lot before Bush got in and then following 9/11 we started going to other hemispheres.
Canada used to be a tremendous bargain. When we first went there one of our dollars would buy 1.58 Loonies (the Canadians put a bird on their dollar coin). In fact my daughter would go up to the great white north to do Christmas shopping because literally the country was on sale.
No more. Woke up to the NY Times this morning and saw that now one Bush Buck will get you just one Loonie.
This is your wake up call America.
For the past generation we have been lead by the disciples of Ayn Rand. Look no further than the Alan Greenspan victory lap to plug his new book.
We have been told to lay at the feet of the alter of free enterprise many sacrifices -- protected industries, access to health for everyone, fair taxation, sweetheart government deals for business, common sense business regulation, unions, jobs, environmental regulation -- so that we could build a better economy. "Those other countries with their socialistic welfare states don't live in the real world," the sagely conservative economies back up by their millionaire pundits in the media would tell us.
We were told if we did all those things America would be the economic powerhouse of the world. Uh uh says the exchange rate.
Turns out that the economies of Europe that were built by the "socialistic" Marshall plan have desirable currencies and we do not. The money that my wife and I used to travel in style back in February, 2002 would now force us to live like paupers thanks to the Bush economy.
If you want to see a spectacular blow up of the principles of Ayn Rand, check out what's going on in Iraq. This was going to be the economic garden of Eden accoding to the neocons.
Turns out things have gone wrong in the lab. At an unemployment rate of 50% the men have a lot of time on their hands and many have turned that free time into attacks on our troops. And did we mention that another nifty policy was allowing the population free access to guns. Yeah, this is working out real neat.
Conservatives love to deride the European economies for being foolish and detached from reality. But somehow the Europeans have sensed that to have a consumer economy, you've got to have consumers.
Seems like the real Loonie in this picture is the conservative economic policy that is driving our country into a ditch.