Burning it down

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt August 15, 2013

Most afternoons I listen to NPR’s Marketplace on my way home from work. It’s really some of the best journalism in America at the moment.

I like Marketplace because it demystifies the economy and I always learn something when I listen.

The one part of it I can’t relate to is the summary of the stock market. Is it up? Down? A wash?

When I hear the news about how stocks did that day, I feel like I’m hearing a dispatch from Mars. 

Wall Street doesn’t feel relevant to my life any more. I always think, “Somebody who has more money than me made more money” or “Somebody who has more money than me lost money, but still has more money than me.”

The speculators on Wall Street tore the economy apart. Now they want me to root for them? That’d be like Alabama’s football team burning down Bryant Denny and then inviting me to sit on a rickety bench and watch them play on the ashes.

Speaking of burning things down, it looks like we’re headed for a long few months before the November elections. For whatever reason, the Republican Party – mainly members of the U.S. House – is determined to use our country’s debt limit as a bargaining chip to defeat Obamacare.

Let’s set aside the arguments about whether this was a good bit of legislation or a bad bit of legislation.

The way I see it:

– Rising health care costs are a burden on this country.

– Insurance companies have incentives to deny you coverage.

– The parts of Obamacare that have gone into effect, particularly raising the age limit for keeping your kids on your insurance, are going to be hard to take away from voters.

– The people who want to de-fund, repeal and otherwise thwart the new law aren’t offering up any kind of coherent plan to address the problem.

This sort of “spit in my sandwich so you can’t have it” politics will work wonders at getting House members in heavily gerrymandered districts reelected. Unfortunately, it might also break the country in the process.

As with Wall Street, I feel more disconnected from the goings-on in DC than I ever have. At this point, I have crisis fatigue. My civil, rational side wants Congress to cut a deal and keep the economy from sputtering in the midst of its painstakingly slow recovery. My “Oh, just screw this” side says, “Oh, just screw this. Burn the economy to the ground and see what happens.”

People in states far away from me play games and fiddle while the fire rages. There are only two kinds of people in politics at the moment: the people trying to put the fire out and the people adding more gasoline.

There are only a handful of people who benefit from this kind of disaster. The rest of us are going to stand outside and watch the inferno, hoping there’s enough left for us to rebuild.


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About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • scyllacat

    I agree with this. I have those same feelings of crisis fatigue. I have actually burned out my OMGWTF circuits. My husband thinks it’s because he half-caf’ed my coffee. Don’t tell him, ok? But yeah, I hear bad news, and I’m want to throw in the towel. Let’s go back to barter and start a black market. Screw this money crap. Sorry. I guess I still have a little bile left after all.

    • I’m perfectly fine to trade cows for chickens and whatnot. 🙂

    • Katrina

      Basically my thoughts! I often wish I could burn all health insurance companies to the ground too. Start over. heh 🙂

  • stevedec

    The stock market is fascinating because people buy and sell nearly intangible things based only loosely on the underlying value. It’s a market of perception and emotion.

  • Ramona Clef

    Another great resource for de-mystifying economics is the Planet Money podcast.

    • OH cool. I will have to check that one out. Thanks for the recommendation, and for reading.

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