As bad as it is here, it is looking just as bad or worse elsewhere:
Japan’s manufacturers cut production by a record 10 percent in January and household spending plunged, adding to evidence that the economy in its worst recession in 60 years.
The month-on-month decline in factory output exceeded December’s record decline of 9.8 percent, the Trade Ministry said today in Tokyo. Household spending fell 5.9 percent from a year earlier, the biggest drop in more than two years.
Meanwhile, worst-case scenarios abound:
The global economic meltdown has already caused bank failures, bankruptcies, plant closings and foreclosures and will, in the coming year, leave many tens of millions unemployed across the planet. But another perilous consequence of the crash of 2008 has only recently made its appearance: increased civil unrest and ethnic strife. Someday, perhaps, war may follow.
As people lose confidence in the ability of markets and governments to solve the global crisis, they are likely to erupt into violent protests or to assault others they deem responsible for their plight, including government officials, plant managers, landlords, immigrants and ethnic minorities. (The list could, in the future, prove long and unnerving.) If the present economic disaster turns into what President Obama has referred to as a “lost decade,” the result could be a global landscape filled with economically fueled upheavals.
And it is worth noting that the Republican response so far has been to basically say “no” to every single effort to help remedy this situation. This is the same Republican party who had the following to say about the recession:
– “We don’t believe we’re going to have a recession though.” [Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/30/08]
– “I think the experts will tell you we’re not in a recession.” [President Bush, 2/10/08]
– “The answer is, I don’t think we are in a recession right now.” [Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Edward Lazear, 2/11/08]
– “First of all, we’re not in a recession.” [President Bush, 4/22/08]
– “The data are pretty clear that we are not in a recession.” [Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Edward Lazear, 5/7/08]
– “I don’t think we are” in a recession. [Director of the National Economic Council Keith Hennesy, 6/3/08]
– “I think we have avoided a recession.” [White House Budget Director Jim Nussle, 7/31/08]
– “I don’t think anybody could tell you right now if we’re in a recession or not” [Dana Perino, 10/7/08]
One of the chief economic advisers to their then Presidential candidate repeatedly referred to those feeling the pain of the recession as a nation of whiners while suggesting it was all in their heads, and now, as it is blindingly obvious that we are in serious, serious trouble, the leading lights of the opposition party are spending their days getting economic advice from a handyman who could not figure out that because he made significantly less than 250 grand a year he would not be having his taxes increased, taking their political advice from a radio loudmouth, holding panels at their annual conference discussing how Al Franken and ACORN are ruining Democracy, and spending their days questioning whether or not our President is actually an American. Meanwhile, as the DOW looks like it will dip below 7000 on more horrible economic news, the grass roots movement of the party is throwing “tea parties” to protest attempts by the opposition party to address this crisis.
When you hear the wingnuts talk triumphantly about their little tea party today, that is the appropriate context (from the comments: “Remind me, was the original tea party a demonstration against 95% of the colonies getting a tax cut?”). I honestly don’t know how anyone with half a brain still identifies as a Republican or conservative. These guys seem intent on doing to the conservative brand what they did to the name liberal brand, only much more effectively. This is a bankrupt movement.