|By Roger Strukhoff||
|November 11, 2010 05:24 AM EST||
So many people in the US are mad today. They rage against whatever political party they despise, against China, against Muslims, against George W. Bush, against whomever doesn't believe in their worldview and who can therefore be blamed for the country's economic problems.
We had a national malaise in the 70s, when it appeared the US didn't know how to make anything anymore, when Japan was buying everything in sight, and when a series of oil crises seemed to end the American dream forever.
Near-revolutionary thinking by Ronald Reagan, and then Bill Clinton brought the US back from the brink, and by the year 2000, all was well. The country seemed economically stronger than ever. The Soviet Union was dead, Japan hadn't mattered for a decade, and talk of the New Economy filled the air.
Oh Wait, Those Days are Over
But today, after the New Economy collapsed, terrorism struck, and seemingly ridiculous housing prices proved themselves to be ridiculous in fact, the American economic malaise seems far worse than it did in the 70s. The national debt--and annual deficit--have reached levels that scare everybody. True unemployment seems to be about twice the reported 10%. The manufacturing sector has now been hollowed out to a degree unimagined in the 70s; outside of Google and Facebook, how are any good jobs really going to come back?
Thus, the rage.
The Obama administration has seemingly responded to the crisis by printing as much money as possible. Or rather, the Federal Reserve Bank under Ben Bernanke's leadership is doing this. The Fed is supposed to be independent of the executive branch, but has been marching in lockstep with the Obama administration, as it did with the Bush administration in its final months.
By committing to flooding the market with another $600 billion--an amount higher than the entire GDP of G20 economy Indonesia--the Fed has decided that the dollar needs to be even weaker than it already is.
Not Worth the Paper It's Printed On
The weak dollar is badly hurting any number of emerging economies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, and is winning the US no friends. A general feeling in the US that President Obama would be able to restore the image of the US worldwide--after all, he did win a Nobel Prize simply for not being George W. Bush--has been replaced by a feeling that he may, in his own way, be as destructive as his predecessor.
IThe thought expressed in so many words by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that only the US should be allowed to export its way out of this crisis is absurd. The US doesn't make "stuff" anymore besides aircraft and military toys--the cheapest prices in the world don't matter if you have nothing to sell.
Looking in All the Wrong Places
Even so, the idea of, say, the Philippines, or Bulgaria, or Egypt lending a helping hand to the US economy would be comical if it were funny. When the President of the United States travels to India to beg for business, you know there's something wrong. And this comment is not meant as a crack on India, which continues to be show world-beating economic growth.
But it's a country whose people enjoy an average income that is about 2% of that of the United States, and still has about 450 million people living on the edge of society, on sidewalks, and in train stations.
If anything, Americans will benefit from buying all of the great, revolutionary ultra-low-end (but good) products being developed in India, from cars to refrigerators.
This is where the idea of Cloud Computing again comes in. It was productivity that drove the American economic miracle of the 80s and 90s, driven by all the wondrous IT machines and programs developed in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. It is IT--specifically, Cloud Computing--that remains the only hope of the US pulling itself out of its current catastrophic economic spiral.
Remember, neither Glenn Beck nor Keith Olbermann, and neither President Obama nor John Boehner know a thing about IT. Not. One. Thing. Nada. Any kdis that they have know more than they do--take that to the bank (if you trust your bank).
But we do know about this stuff. So let's channel the rage into figuring out ways that Cloud Computing will bring a new era of productivity to the economy, then cool off and try to enjoy life again for awhile.
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