Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The 1970s Without the Inflation

We are now entering a long term period of economic stagnation that is reminiscent of the 1970s.  The only real difference is that inflation is subdued today.  The term "stagflation" came to prominence as a description of the 70s economy, as inflation soared toward the end of the the 1970s.  Ronald Reagan rescued us from all of that after his election in 1980.  How soon we forget.

Inflation, of course, is only temporarily subdued.  The only way to retire our absurd debt levels is to inflate our way out of them.  That's coming.

For now, we live in world of never-ending promises of things that cannot possibly come to pass -- medicare, social security, ObamaCare, state and local pension funds.  All of these things will run out of funding within the lifetime of those now reaching adulthood.  As politicians dream of even more things to promise the citizenry, the funding for the existing promises is rapidly drying up.

Meanwhile, a dwindling percentage of Americans are actually working these days.  While records are being set every day in the percentage of Americans on welfare, on food stamps, on disability, the percentage of the economy devoted to the free market is shrinking. 

The culture is following suit.  Think of the last time that you watched a television show where the bad guy wasn't a businessman or woman -- polluting the environment, stealing from unwitting investors, or fleecing someone in a novel way.  Who are the media heroes?  -- the government or the non-profit world (or media).

Making a profit is viewed with suspicion in our modern American culture.  Unfortunately, that means creating wealth and hiring folks is tainted with the same brush.  There is a certain consistency here, since working for a living is losing its hold on the American lifestyle.