There is a growing consensus that President Obama is more talk than walk when it comes to repairing the economic damage created by the collapse of consumer spending. And yet, there are still those — such as Paul Krugman — who believe that Obama needs to spend a great deal more - and quickly.
Unfortunately for Obama, members of his own party — I watched Indiana Sen Evan Bayh express this himself live on LA's KTTV "news" show Monday morning — are straying across the aisle to assume fiscal attitudes reminiscent of the minority party against any further economic stimulus packages escaping the Congress headed for the Oval Office. Somehow, as I write this, the news is out that the budget passed anyway, and with some GOP support.
With the economic outlook growing dimmer by the day, people are increasingly afraid to spend money. It's easy to poke fun at the party set cutting back on "excess", but in too many cases, this is a genuine Main Street concern. Layoffs are increasing across our land as corporate interests shed their workforces in what may prove to be futile efforts to remain profitable. The pace of this decline is accelerating, leading to concern that - as Krugman put it in his March 9, 2009 article - "the Obama administration’s economic policies are already falling behind the curve."
One of the sectors drastically affected by the economic collapse of the world's wealthiest corporatocracy has been newspapers. There are many problems connected to the struggle that print media is currently enduring. Rising prices for ink and paper - along with drastically slashed ad revenue as retail customers cut back spending themselves, or close — make providing the news an unprofitable venture. And yet, as Joel Connelly of Seattle's faltering Seattle Post-Intelligencer asks, "Who will speak truth to power?" Who indeed! Who is to keep the rampant esurience of the corporate world and their political lackeys in check lest they take the entire economy over a cliff?
Oh, wait! They already are doing that. That must mean that no one is now speaking truth to power. And thus so it is: The Post-Intelligencer's owner, Hearst Corporation, has invested large sums into an e-reader system — which will include proprietarily "locking" some news content in a pay-per-view mode — which could have gone instead into efforts to save Hearst properties such as the P-I and the San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst obviously sees no profitable future in printing the hard copy news. They may consider printing an obsolete venture, one emulating the buggy whip manufacturers of the previous century: out of date and out of time.