Washington Doublespeak

Another great commentary from Victor Davis Hanson.  He talks about his challenge trying to understand macroeconomics and the doublespeak coming from the O’bama administration:

I feel… confused about all the doublethink coming out of Washington. Great Depression—no Great Depression. Recession for years; its end at the end of this year. Signing statements bad; signing statements good. Fundamentals hardly strong; fundamentals really sound. Earmarks terrible; 8,000 wonderful. Bush’s $500 billion deficit reckless; Obama’s $1.7 sober and judicious; Iraq horrific and the worst whatever; Iraq suddenly quiet, democratic, and hopeful; highest ethical bar in an administration ever—Richardson, Daschle, Killefer, Solis, etc. cannot meet the lowest; Guantanamo a Stalag; Guantanamo open for a year, pending the recommendations of a “task force”; Guantanamo a torture place for unlawful combatants; Guantanamo a nice place without unlawful combatants; Obama not to be blamed for massive collapse of stock prices since November; Obama to be praised for modest gains last week. At some point, someone in the media must be getting embarrassed that they are all working at the Ministry of Truth.

There is a populist anger out there, hard to calibrate exactly, but growing nonetheless. Here’s what I think people are saying: Wall Street gets bailed out, despite billions that the masters of the universe skimmed off. Meanwhile our retirement accounts are crashed. Then the government bails out those ‘homeowners’ who failed, often due to their own greed and foolishness, not those who played by the rules: so default on your over priced home that you should have never bought, and the fed is there to bail you out; put away $1,000 a month in your 401(k)—and tough luck.

Never in the last half century have so many had so little trust in their financial institutions, Wall Street, the Congress, and the government. I have about as much faith that my retirement portfolio statement is accurate or based on real information as I do that the executive and legislative branches will do tomorrow what they promised today.

I don’t know whether to be more upset at the woman in front of me at the Selma food market on Monday, who, with I-pod in hand, pulled out her welfare food-stamp credit card to buy quite a sumptuous cart of groceries, or the AIG whiz who trumped her 1000x in taking a bonus for running his company into the ground. The former is a petty con-artist but in your face; the latter is toxic and lethal and quite dangerous, but abstract and distant.

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