Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why No Posts on Economic Issues?

Yeah, we've been discussing economics on the porch in our neighborhood. (So to speak--it's been a bit wet and dreary around here, so kitchens and heated garages have been found to be both warmer and drier, but anyway.) So why no blog entries about the economy and what we should do to make it better? Well, what makes a good blog entry? Usually blog entries that are good ones are either informative or infuriating, one or the other. They either give you information you have not considered before or they give you an opinion that either causes you to nod and say "amen" or causes you think WTF? and to wonder if the writer has slipped a cog (maybe two).

When I write about the economy, it ends up being this mealy mouthed mess, sort of like wet crackers in soup, but not nearly as tasty. This is for two reasons. One is that I have never studied economics and I know just a little bit about them, especially on the grand scale of nations. Oh, I know about personal economics, and I've observed entrepreneurs at work--the life of the small business owner is known to me--but terms like "supply side" and "Keynesian economics" I don't understand in a way that makes for compelling reading.

The second reason is that from what little I do know, I am not convinced by either side that they really know what will work to pull this country up into a good economic situation from the current bad situation. You have some saying that if we cut too much from government spending, we will kill the economy. You have some saying that government spending actually costs more than it produces. Part of the problem, I think, is that we have conditions that have not been seen before. There are parallels to the 1910s, 1930s and 1970s but none of these situations provides the same scenario as today. It is helpful to examine this history, but is it predicative of how the new situation would respond to a given intervention today?

I have now written three last paragraph drafts. There is no good stopping point it seems. I am concerned, both on a personal level--in fact, I think that is why money matters get people emotional; there is a very real personal fear of being destitute or caught up in people's unmet needs--and for our country's future. How do we keep the American dream alive? How do we keep money from concentrating in just a few people? How can we help those with needs and not cripple them? Can we revive manufacturing in America? How much tax is too much tax? How much government regulation is too much? Are we going to end up with some different attitudes and actions concerning consuming "stuff"? Can I be secure economically as I age?

With that last paragraph, I think I fell in the deep end of the pool. Treading water now...planning on getting out, at least for the moment. Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

At its base level, economics is about the” best” allocation of scare resources, which gives rise to discussions on supply and demand, the impact of market incentives and government intervention, personal morality in making choices and a million other things.

The reason two (arguably) intelligent parties can disagree on how things work is that economies are so full of variables that a definitive, triggering event for success or failure is impossible to pinpoint, even after the fact. Single events do not exist, and single event solutions do not work, and complicating matters is that in determining solutions, politicians routinely fail to acknowledge that resources are in fact, scarce and that interventions have unintended consequences.

If you understand small businesses, you understand “applied” economics – how it works in the real world. If you want to take a stab at writing about it, keep it at the micro level, look at how personal responsibility and choice play into it, and for God’s sake, do not automatically repeat the popular media assumptions and canards that routinely plague “informative” articles without first questioning them.

Bob G. said...

I think Anon's got a finger on the pulse of economics...very well.
It all makes good sense, and that's COMMON sense (to me).
I pretty much follow my (late) parents' lead, and keep tabs on the checkbook, bank account and prices for everything.

Good post and comment.

Stay safe out there.

Radioman KC said...

I report economics stories all the time. And certainly thats what's going on in Congress between the Keynesians and the laissez faire- libertarian crowd. I'm for Samuelson's views...a mixed economy which is what we have. Regulated capitalism and a proper role of government in public works.

The problem is, economics is a little dry even for blogs... and impossible to illustrate on television which breaks into hives at the thought of stories containing only talking heads.

The Observer said...

OK, going to try again--last time I tried to write here, Blogger decided it hated me and ate my two paragraph comment...

Rman, I'll have to check that Samuelson out--we do have a mixed economy as sure as we have a mixed government! It is dry--even for the long form written word--and you are right, way too hard for TV. Which is why so many know even less then I do!

Thanks for coming by and commenting.
The Observer

The Observer said...

I love your comment! Especially your last paragraph that includes the "human factors." In addition to my growing up years as an entrepreneur's kid, I also have been a part of church leadership--churches often have very everyday issues about money management that look a lot like a small business in the end.

Thanks again!
the Observer

The Observer said...

Bob G:
thanks for swinging on by--I think I have some sensible ideas now. I like to write originally, either in response to another's work, or out of my own head (people would say I've been out of my head for years--but anyway...) like I was talking to you or yelling at my radio. I rarely lift an entire piece and post it as my opinion. For better or worse!

Hope you are not getting too much of this lovely spring weather we're having here in the US so far...

The Observer