April 17, 2008

Is It The 1970's Again?

No bell-bottom sightings at this time, but I'm starting to see more similarities than differences. Consider:

The dollar is weak. Monopoly-money weak.

We're in a lingering, indecisive, expensive, and still-dangerous tail end of a protracted foreign war, in which the definition of "victory" has changed multiple times and for which there appears to be no acceptable termination strategy.

Real estate isn't worth the paper it's printed on. The housing industry -- real estate sales, new home construction, and everything associated with it -- is at the lowest point it's been in twenty years. The stock market has five straight days of SUCK for every day the bulls win.

Our allies in Europe mistrust us.

Mid-level jobs, suitable for people of ordinary levels of education and experience and willing to accept high-level blue-collar wages, are fleeing the country.

We're looking at a serious wave of inflation that our economic leaders can do nothing to stop -- because they can't make interest rates be both high (so that money actually has value) and low (so that people can actually get it to use) at the same time. At the same time, we're entering a recession. There's a name for this phenomenon: stagflation.

Oil and products made from it are suddenly ludicrously expensive. American auto manufacturers, however, continue to crank out big, gas-guzzling supervehicles despite consumer demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient means of transportation.

A whole wave of college kids who earned their chops protesting the war and the policies of conservative adults find themselves somehow aimless and angst-ridden with a centralized focus for their anger evaporating.

Movies are adopting themes of paranoia rather than patriotism. Members of our creative class are fleeing the country.

The likeliest next President is a Democrat, campaigning on a platform of somewhat nebulous "change" that is more much emotional than it offers substantial policy changes, making heavy reliance on his personal religiosity, but who first must survive a bruising primary battle with a pillar of the party of doubtful personal integrity, and then will have a huge general-election advantage against a Republican who, through no particular fault of his, will have to carry the previous administration's water and thus take the heat for how much things suck right now.

We're debating about whether we should build nuclear power plants.

America fears losing its place of global dominance to a secretive nation controlled by Communists who think nothing of brutally repressing their own people to present a sanitized but obviously false vision of their nation to the world, yet who also seem to preside over a nation starting to move up a long-term economic upswing.

At the same time, we're terrified of what several thousand illegal immigrants from Mexico might to do to our economy.

Am I right? Is this 1975? I was a little bit on the young side, but the general consensus seems to be that for the most part, the 1970's sucked. How do we make it not be like that again? Or is it too late?


zzi said...


That's the right head on his body?

Burt Likko said...

I dunno. I just searched for a picture of Carter and Kennedy together and that's what I found. Teddy's hair sure was dark once, wasn't it?