D.C. Dysfunction & The Lost Art Of Civic Responsibility

D.C. Dysfunction & The Lost Art Of Civic Responsibility

Good news: University of Michigan sentiment managed to post what, on the surface anyway, appeared to be an across-the-board beat Friday, in the preliminary reading for December.  The headline print, 81.4, handily topped estimates (76), and came in better than the most optimistic forecast from 52 economists. Current conditions jumped to 91.8 from 87 in November, while expectations rose to 74.7 from 70.5. This is welcome news considering sentiment indicators had deteriorated amid political unc
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15 thoughts on “D.C. Dysfunction & The Lost Art Of Civic Responsibility

  1. As a retired guy who plays golf a few days a week, has a decent family life, can easily buy anything I
    want, is in good health and has seen my 401k’s do fairly well (YTD)…….my sentiment is high. I can see the
    end of the pandemic, look forward to an expanded social life and more travel.
    The pandemic has brutalized the hospitality industry and the arts, but the bones of our economy seem pretty strong
    and I expect restaurants, bars, sports, travel, gyms, etc……..to come roaring back.
    There are restaurants and entertainment venues that are gone forever and I will miss them……but those spaces
    are still there looking for tenants and there are consumers who have money and want to consume.

    1. “… there are consumers who have money and want to consume.” Probably, but ask anyone running a legitimate 501(c3) charity and they will you that most of those people aren’t sharing with those less fortunate. Charitable contributions and down this year, in many cases, way down.

    2. Your observations and personal circumstances sound like those of a retired person living in North Scottsdale. Congratulations! You attained the good life. It’s nice and cheery there this time of year.

      I just drove to my PO box in the city where I live. I would normally walk and and maybe take the train for a couple of stops. On my drive there and back (and I took a different route back), I passed 100, maybe 120, tents. Adjacent areas were littered, clothes where on the tents, airing out as as best as possible in the damp, winter air. No chance for a shower this morning for these people. The folk I encountered in the USPS branch were all dressed as basically unemployed people who had to take donations from Goodwill.

      On the route back, I drove along an access road adjacent to the local interstate. There were homes on State right away, cobbled together out of palettes and any form of plastic sheeting that could be scavenged. Garbage strewn all around. I suspect feces was in abundance.

      I’m glad that some people are able to play golf and live the good life. Lord knows we should all be so lucky.

      Our country is broken. I’ve been criticized for saying “broken” because that leaves no room for repair, less for hope. Rather, others prefer to use the word “sick” as the adjective to describe the exact same conditions I observe.

      There’s no going back for our country. If COVID didn’t convulse us into self reflection and realizations of the fantasy we have been living in, then only losing a war would do it. No, there is one other event that would, a collapse in the financial economy and a deflationary depression. Even then, the Americans, who, let’s face it, are a violent and mean people, to each other, and to others, would probably still not realize they are people of a broken nation.

      Good luck out there getting your handicap down on that Jack Nicholson golf course.

      1. Your comments add detail to the picture of a schizophrenic nation where a small number are doing quite well while too many children go to bed not just hungry but starving. As we’ve done with death in this country by keeping most of it from public viewing, we have now done with the rampant suffering that has been assigned to the rundown areas that the better off can easily avoid. God forbid we should have to see distasteful scenes of human suffering as we drive to get takeout from of our favorite 3 star restaurant or while driving to the Netjets hanger for our annual holiday stay in Aspen. In SF most of the concern over the homeless situation by its wealthy residents is about having it removed from sight, not about addressing the underlying causes.

        Democratic capitalism’s value as a form of government was supposed to be the rule of law and a level playing field for its citizens. Trump and Barr drove the final stake into the heart of the rule of law. A long time ago we disappeared the level playing field. No wonder more and more people are seriously pissed off, confused and are drawn to conspiracy theories that are a magnet for their anger.

      2. These are some of the things the US’s ‘religious’ obsession with a naive form of ‘libertarianism’ has wrought. These are tenant activists protesting eviction in the middle of a hundred-year pandemic, during which government has shut down businesses and jobs by fiat without providing a real safety net, but is still enforcing the ‘property rights’ of landlords. I recognize that videos can be very misleading, but apparently they arrested an 80-year old woman here today. Tell me, which group is upholding justice?https://twitter.com/mike4brooklyn/status/1337455246214385665?s=20

  2. My confidence has risen since #1) Janet Yellen named as treasury secretary. That said I would not be shocked by a fairly short term market correction (3-9 months worth…?) as she and Powell may realize that market downturns will be the only thing that moves McConnell to negotiate in good faith to provide support to those suffering economically. #2) Marco K being bullish.

    Of course successful vaccinations are a must.

  3. I do realize how lucky I am and how much this has hurt people that are lower on the income scale.
    Part of what I was trying to say was that many of the service and hospitality jobs should come back
    fairly quickly, because of the demand driven by people like most of us.

    In the meantime I d want to see robust stimulus directed towards the people and businesses that need it most.

    Mnuchin wants to give me $600 and take away people’s UI……that is just evil.

  4. The paycheck for all may seem misguided, but limits the envy felt by the employed when the unemployed are the only ones getting checks, so it’s more palatable politically. Once it’s safer to gather with others, we’ll want everyone to have extra money in their pockets. The fellow golfer boasting about his wealth with false modesty has a point: in this nation people are willing to work long hours and pay for each other’s work, and that makes for enormous economic potential after this is over.

  5. Here’s an experiment for you all to try.

    Yesterday I scooted over to a national chain pharmacy to pick up a prescription. Being it was only minutes before closing time, the pharmacist did not react well when I told her I was there to get tetanus & flu shots.

    After I reassured her it was a lame attempt at humor, I asked her if they were staffing up in preparation for the Covid vaccines, as the chain’s CEO had promised only days earlier. She looked at me and spit out “No. Not a single extra hire. The lines out the door will look worse than on election day.”

    Thankfully our small city is home to two regional medical centers which may be able to pick up the slack.

    If my experience is at all indicative, the vaunted private sector is going to bumble the vaccine rollout, especially in rural (red) America. But, you know, hiring pharmacists might reduce the funds available for share buy-backs! We have to keep our priorities straight, right?

    1. Damn right. Those yachts don’t buy themselves…

      What’s a mystery to me is how much Red America considers economic circumstances and bad organisation “just one of those things”/like the weather…

      Again and again. One has the right to be conservative. But c’mon, can’t you recognise incompetency and thievery for what they are? In whose moral book is it okay for Senators to trade based on insider info?!

    2. Well, yesterday we went over to CVS so my wife could get a flu shot.

      I asked the pharmacist if they were hiring to deal with the upcoming vaccine rush. She answered that they were trying to bring on temporary staff to help out.


  6. Why are Democrats more confident? Is it just the removal of Trump? When was the last time an incoming Dem President did not have Senate control and the House Majority was this small? You will need to go back more than 100 years. Are they deluding themselves that they will take the Georgia Senate seats? None of this makes any sense to me.

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