The news goes from bad to worse as the stock market actions of the past month begin to hit the corporate realities. The world has changed as assets once held dissolve by individuals with 401(k)s and stock portfolios. Corporate expansion plans are thrown overboard as their stock plunges and banks hold tight to their remaining assets. Around the world the dominoes fall and continue the cascade of collapse. So, there is little help there.
Commentators tell us to “hold” our stock and New Age “Prosperity” theologians are given equal time with smiley commentators. Face it, the news is filled with a multitude of Pollyanna wisdom from stock portfolio managers giving us financial advice, while they themselves undoubtedly dumped their own stocks long ago. Not only that but then, we have those like Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC who is married to Alan Greenspan, former head of the Fed, providing us insight on the latest stories on the financial collapse. In an article in the Columbia Journalism Review, Megan Garber pointedly discerned the conflict inherent in such a situation: “’What went wrong?’ should be a standard question Mitchell and other journalists are asking right now. When one potential answer to that question is ‘Alan Greenspan,’ there’s a conflict. A big one. We are told repeatedly that it’s all just a matter of confidence. We gotta believe, that all.”
First, the bad vibes from Wall Street was just because Congress was dragging their feet on the bailout (I mean “rescue plan” in the gotta believe world). Then President Bush comes on television and tells us “anxiety feeds anxiety” as if this presents some sort of Socratic wisdom. Then, GM assures us it has “no bankruptcy plans”. In the world of reassurances this amounts to throwing a rescue line to a drowning man that is attached to an anchor on the other end. No help for those who have seen their retirement funds go under for the third time.
Looking to the future presents a new scenario needed. The lack of leadership, real leadership, underscores the political vacuum within the ruling elite of America. It poses the very real question of “Who’s minding the store?” In a Presidential election year, we continue to hear the “other guy” is to blame on the premise that nothing could be done by the opposition. That accounts for the drug war, that explains the war in Iraq, that explains the Patriot Act, that explains the failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that explains the widening income gap between rich and poor.
And the list goes on as the news worsens. Potential home buyers increase cancellations of purchases by 10%, consumer and auto loan delinquencies continue to grow as even commercial banks are holding back on repos, the worlds markets continue to plunge. Just where is the assurance in the real world that we are being spoon fed by the media? One email to CNN’s POWER LUNCH pointedly commented: “Words, words, words. That’s all we’ve seen so far is words.” While this brought a brief scoffing by the panelists, there is little in that email’s revelation that can truly be refuted by evidence.