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Taking Stock

As I am writing this, it seems that a deal has been worked out in Washington to avoid a federal default.  No one is happy with the deal, which is to be expected, but I sense that many people are livid about the process.  This is especially true for Progressives, who seem to view the entire experience as a massive defeat.

One good thing came out of it all, however – the public and the media are engaged in a discussion of our economy and what to do about it like never before.

I think it is time to pause for a moment and see just where we are in the national discussion before we move ahead.  This post is a series of polls that I hope will help us all focus on how this debate will stay engaged and productive.  As always, please leave your more general thoughts beyond the questions in the comments.

I’d also like to build this into another pledge drive where I ask you for contributions.  Barataria takes some time for me to do well and I hope it is worth something to you.  I have here every MWF, 13 posts per month, regular as clockwork for over four years.  A contribution of $15 per year comes out to less than a dime per post. Please contribute here via PayPal using any major credit card.  Thank you!

As a special incentive, I will offer anyone who contributes anything in the next two weeks an entry in a drawing. The prize is a handmade music box built by Elias Borntrager of Cresco, Iowa out of solid cherry wood to my specifications with the Sankyo movement installed by me and signed on the bottom.  It looks and sounds great!  You’ll have your choice among several tunes.  Thank you for your support!

On to the questions.  If you feel there is something else to say consider this an open thread on the economy.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having such a strong community of readers who enlighten and encourage me.  Thank you all again!

Thank you all for reading and contributing.  Results are updated constantly, so check back if you are as curious as I am.  Thank you again for being readers and your incredibly valuable comments, because that is what makes this effort all worthwhile!

17 thoughts on “Taking Stock

  1. I think you should have a weekly poll, it would get people more engaged. Not everyone likes to leave comments but polls are easy.

  2. The last time I remember people talking about the economy this much was in the 70s. That was also a bad time with the gas crisis, inflation and even more paralysis in DC when Nixon resigned. Like today it was what people talked about nearly all the time. I think people are all scared and we’re going to see more lashing out if something isn’t done to move ahead soon.

  3. I am totally exhausted by this whole “debt-limit” fiasco, and as near as I can determine (as of this writing) it remains to be seen if both houses will actually approve of the compromise.
    I am as tired of the hidebound “professional left” pundits as I am of the even more hidebound Tea Party Republican members of Congress.

  4. It seems like there is a lot to say on this topic but I don’t know where to begin. It’s as if we’ve been living in a cloud since this all started back in 2007 or even 2001 as you like to point out. Maybe people are finally getting out of their fantasy that this will end soon but I somehow doubt it. I see people all the time go on as if nothing is wrong, keeping their heads down and acting as if it’s all about what they do. Meanwhile they buy lottery tickets (I read that sales are way up somewhere) and send out more and more pyramid scheme marketing invitations as if they can be rich tomorrow.

    There is no doubt that people are scared and when I get really frustrated by the Tea Party or whatever I have to remind myself that they must be acting this way because they are scared and don’t know what to do. But that is no excuse and it’s not making anything better. The way I found this blog was looking for real solid analysis on the economy because no one was really talking about it in a way that made any sense at all. We may be talking a lot more but I don’t hear people making any sense yet, they’re all just frustrated and scared. Mostly angry, too I guess. Maybe they should be but that is no way to solve the problems we have.

    This might be when things change but I doubt it. All we can do is keep talking about it and try to make sense. I hope this makes sense.

  5. Jim: I will think about that, thanks!

    Dale: I was very young then, but I think I know what you mean. If it’s been nearly 40 years I think we’re due for a big discussion. My Dad, BTW, thinks that’s where things went wrong and we never really corrected them.

    Jack: There is a lot of frustration to go around. I’m trying to gauge how we build that into a movement that gets something done.

    Anna: It makes sense, and you’re very empathetic. Think of that as a way to start reaching out to people and maybe we’ll be able to get something organized. I also agree that people are scared – the poll already shows that to be a popular response. What to do about it is the hard part.

  6. These are some interesting questions. I can see that you want to know things that will tell you what to write. All I can say is that if you keep it up people will take notice because this blog is the only place I have ever seen most of what you talk about. And you have been shown to be right many times. Thank you.

  7. I agree with Annalise that everyone is scared and that is what makes them angry. I want to see more people talk about solutions though because I do not think we can get past the anger until we have a plan of some kind. If politicians will not or can not provide one we have to have one come out of the population. I rarely see any real plans for fixing the mess except those who go on about slash this and that and I do not see that working. There has to be something more intelligent. I think you are one of the few people who has talked about other ideas for getting out of it and I would love to see some economists and business leaders comment on what you said and maybe provide their own ideas.

    Sorry to go on so long but I agree that this is a very important thing to talk about but everyone is too scared to do it.

  8. Jan: Yes, this will guide what I write about. I’m very curious what people think – and I know I have a lot more readers than those who leave comments. Had to tease ’em out! 🙂

    Sheryl: You didn’t go on long at all, don’t worry. 🙂 I appreciate what you have to say because I’m hearing a lot more empathy for those who are scared and angry than I expected. That says to me that there is a chance that people – not politicians! – can maybe work this out. I’d love to sit down with pros of some kind and talk about this. Anyone with a radio show want to invite me to be part of a panel? 🙂

    Everyone – some early results are in and I’m really impressed by a few things. First of all, we have a few conservatives reading, which I’m very happy about. I’ll tone down my recent partisan stuff and keep reaching out to you. I also see that people are pretty solidly scared about their own future, and I’ll admit that I am, too. All of you think this is either a Depression or part of a long-term decline, which is say you think this is a very serious thing – that’s not reflected in the media, IMHO. You’re more interested in how to read the news and possible solutions than anything like “blaming”, which is also very cool to me. Lastly, the blame is scattered around pretty widely, which I guess figures since that’s not a priority for you, but very few picked “business cycles” – that was my pick, BTW, and I do think that this more or less just happens every two generations.

    So we’ll see how the polling goes, but some solid trends are developing. Thank you all, I greatly appreciate it!

  9. Good poll questions. I enjoy your writing. I would enjoy posts on any of the topics you mentioned, but I did vote “how to cope with it” because I am so overwhelmed by it all and terrified. I know how to digest and interpret the news, but I get all worked up about what is there. Not to mention I analyze the news on other issues as well like corporate sponsorship, how news/media is edited, etc. I also like the suggestion of more polls. I am new to your blog, but I do comment. But others might be more engaged with polls.

  10. Laurie: Thank you! I agree with the author very much, I’ll read it again to see if I have a detailed critique. The subject is what I was getting at in my recent piece going after Krugman:
    He’s much more rigorous than I was, and that owes in part to some confusion on my part understanding just what neo-Keynesianism is all about, to be fair. I’ll get back to this in a bit, thanks for the link!

    Kris: Thanks! I’m just trying to get a handle on what the world needs. More constant polling is probably called for, so I think that’s a good suggestion. I have demographic info on my readers to go with the info I’m collecting now.

    Everyone: Thank you for the contributions received so far, it really helps keep me going!

  11. I too am suprised by how many people say they are ‘scared’. That seems a bit extreme to me so I chose ‘I’ll get by’. I’m sure I will, but I can see my standard of living never matching my parents.

  12. Kevin: I made that extreme on purpose – I wanted to separate out those who were just a bit worried from those who had stronger feelings. I avoided the word “worried” because it seemed a little too mushy – deliberately went for phrases people would have never seen or spoken before. And yet … “scared” is the runaway winner. I think that means something.

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