Pay Not Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

I guess another $75 billion isn’t much compared to the trillions we’ve already committed to the mosh pit that is our economy. That is the amount now slated for foreclosure relief. As I wrote these words my phone rang and a dear friend of mine informed me he’d just been laid off from his job in the financial industry.

Foreclosure relief won’t help my friend regardless of how much money we throw around. If he has no job, he’s got to find one. If that means moving to another area, that’s what he will do. There is no “modification” or other type of program that will offset complete loss of income.

I believe we have come to a point in time when we, as a people, have no idea what is happening to us. Our journalists, public relations people, politicians, salespeople, and bloggers have used extreme superlatives for so long we’ve actually lost the ability to grasp the gravity of the issues we face.

During campaigns we hear that one candidate or another is like Hitler, or that support of a proposal is the “worst mistake in history.” Did that candidate kill millions and millions of people? Is that really a valid comparison? Of course not, but our discourse, both nationally and locally, has gotten so loud and repulsive that hyperbole is the only way to get attention. 

Do we understand the economic uncertainty we face? Is it worse than ever before? Is it comparable to other times in our short history? These questions are important but they’re not being answered. We hear all about the political infighting in Washington yet we get very little detailed analysis of the plans being hatched everyday. It’s like professional wrestling. Politicians make blustering statements about this or that, then retire for luncheon with cucumber sandwiches and vodka tonics. After lunch more ranting and raving about the pain the American people are feeling. Following that everyone adjourns to meet together in oak trimmed steakhouses with scotch, cigars, and fine wine. The real trouble lies in the fact that journalists are sitting at the same tables.  Washington doesn’t feel any pain much less understand what we are feeling here in the real world.

The new foreclosure relief plan needs to be scrutinized. Who will do this? Are we going to see detailed examination or will we see “he said, she said” stories filled with talking points from both sides? That is not reporting, it’s play-by-play which doesn’t really do anybody any good.

Before the new foreclosure plan was presented to the public, the Republican Leadership sent a list of questions to the President about the program. Those questions were leaked to the press almost before they reached the President’s staff. One can argue whether the list of questions, and their release to the public, was part of an honest effort at bipartisan negotiation or simply the next salvo in the public relation battle between the parties. One thing is certain; if it is real negotiation, we won’t read or see much about it. If it turns into mud-slinging, we’ll get all the coverage we can stand.

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