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A Nation of Whiners?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 11, 2008

Well yeah, to a degree I agree.

That was what Sen. Phil Gramm said yesterday about Americans. He also said for many it is a "mental recession", meaning that to this point they've not suffered the results of an actual recession, but have adopted the attitude prevalent during a recession (and, I suppose, help it become a reality).

I've never been much of a Gramm fan, but his criticism hit home. Just listen to the whining about gas prices for heaven sake. And you'd think the Iraq war was the most costly and brutal war ever fought if you listened to a certain segment of our population.

Not to mention the sky is falling, jobs are scarce (5.5% unemployment - considered full employment, but part of that mental recession), the right jobs aren't available, the housing crisis and, well you name it and someone is whining about it.

Certainly Gramm's comments may have been deemed by many as politically incorrect and insensitive, but I see them as essentially on target.

However the political season is the "whining" season. Whining is encouraged. Politicians are on stage to tell us how bad things are and how well they are going to fix them. This is when candidates have town hall meetings and potential voters whine about their condition and ask the candidate what they're going to do for them.
“America is hurting today,” he said. “Michigan is hurting today. The automotive industry is hurting. And we’ve got big problems, and we’ve got big challenges.”
And the candidates pander. And pander. And pander.

So it is absolutely unacceptable for an adviser to any politician to say something which doesn't help the panderfest. That is why Phil Gramm ended up being immediately thrown under the "Straight Talk Express" before he had time to get his helmet and pads on.
 
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I was thinking about this today. Today is the release day for the new iPhone. As I’m in the market for a new phone, I decided to head down to the local AT&T store early. They open at 8:00, and I heard there could be lines, so I got there at 7:15. There were over 100 people waiting in line to buy an iPhone. Seriously! Mostly a younger crew. Lots of teens. Lots of sleeveless shirts and cut off jeans. And they are all there to drop $400 on a new phone, which will also carry with it a minimum of $70 per month charges. And I guarantee you those are the same people who are bitching about $4.00 a gallon gas. And I can only imagine how they feel about the ’economy’.

Anecdotal I know, but I thought it relevant.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Oh, come on McQ! In times of economic hardship, Americans don’t "whine." They cling bitterly to religion and become gun-toting, racist xenophobes.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
I think if Gramm had directed his comments towards the mainstream media, and how they play up the bad news, it would be better received.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
QUESTION:
Does anyone remember during the lead up to the 2000 election, when Clinton admin officials chided Bush for "talking down the economy" which could bring about a recession mentality? I would love to find a citation that names a Clinton staffer making this charge.
 
Written By: Tim M
URL: http://
5.5 Unemployment is impressive unless you look at the jobs being counted and the income value of those jobs. The jobs that invest in growth and real economic strength are being or have been moved overseas. The service jobs that have replaced them pay less and offer less potential for national strength.

People may be employed, but from manufacturing and engineering to walmart stacker isn’t exactly progress. If you use the "Crocs" example provided by Mr. McCain you should note that although 600 jobs are in the US ALL of th manufacturing and production is outside the country. The industry isn’t here.


So when Mr. Gramm (Enron loophole) and Mr. McCain (S&L scandal) stand up and call us a nation of whiners it just highlights the deceptive use of statistics. American jobs should be about making thinks and not selling other countries products. That is real National Security!

 
Written By: muffler
URL: http://
I dunno muffler....I remember when 5.5% umemployment was presented breathlessly (and uncritically) as "virtually full employment" by the same doom and gloomers who cry recession when it doesn’t even exist.

And Meagain- spot on. You know when we’re in a real economic crisis? When people begin to forgo Ipods and all the rest of those little costly gadgets, not to mention $7 lattes and premium bottled water, etc.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
When people begin to forgo Ipods and all the rest of those little costly gadgets, not to mention $7 lattes and premium bottled water, etc.
Tap water making a comeback...

Starbucks shares fall on June sales worries...
Spurred by economic worries, American shoppers have quickly decided that cheaper is better. They are trading down to store brands from fancy labels, to small cars from SUVs, and to deep-discounters from full-service stores.
On the one hand, gas prices are causing a pain at the pump, the size of that pain is dependent on how you were doing before the gas price increases occurred.

People are tightening their belts, and those who were living pay-check to pay-check before, are having still more trouble meeting the bills.

That said, I think the press and some pundits are doing a disservice by overselling what is happening, which is causing more distress.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
That said, I think the press and some pundits are doing a disservice by overselling what is happening, which is causing more distress
Hey, it’s more fun and more immediate than Global Warming!
And they can blame Bush instead of everyone in the US.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
While economic hardship may not have yet hit portions of the nation, the fact is that Michigan never really climbed out of the recession of 2001, and this new slowdown means any hopes of improving the situation in the state are over. Many Michiganders are now coming to terms that their lives as they now know them must change permanently.

Of course many have already made permanent adjustments to deal with the situation and there has been a mass exodus of economic refugees to the states (like your own) which are faring better. Additionally many people accepted early retirement, buyouts, and other incentives from automakers. These are the only reasons that unemployment figures stabilized at 8% or so in these last few years. But with the recent plummet in auto sales nationwide, that figure is sure to rise again.

Furthermore, these several years of economic calamity have forced many businesses to empty all of their capital reserves and—with access to loans limited by the credit crisis and its effects—a whole new wave of bankruptcies has just begun.

So no, politicians are not pandering when they say that "Michigan is hurting today. The automotive industry is hurting. And we’ve got big problems, and we’ve got big challenges." In fact such a statement might be considered almost upbeat in the atmosphere that surrounds my city, Detroit, today.

I have to say as long time reader it disappoints me that you would be so dismissive of our situation, and it lends weight to the persistent statewide belief (which admittedly borders on paranoia at times) that nobody cares about our plight. McCain is telling us that he’s listening, which is exactly what people in the state want to hear. I only wish others would do the same.
 
Written By: J_Z
URL: http://
Just listen to the whining about gas prices for heaven sake.
On the one hand, gas prices are causing a pain at the pump, the size of that pain is dependent on how you were doing before the gas price increases occurred.
It’s not just whining and pain at the pump. You know that all goods and services are trucked. Everything that is sold has gone up in price.

My fuel costs for my business has doubled in just one year...

Whining...
Well that’s just relative, isn’t it.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
And how much of Michigan’s situation is due to it’s own politicians doing?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
To answer Keith Indy’s question, and address J Z, most of it. I just (literally just: our furniture isn’t even all assembled yet) left Michigan for Virginia to take a good job at decent pay. There are essentially two impediments in Michigan to a good economy: the politicians and the people.

The politicians, faced with a declining auto industry (and having worked at GM for 2 years, I assure you that they are earning their decline) and resulting poor tax takes, have responded by a combination of partisan blaming and game-playing and raising tax rates on everything. In the last year, they have raised heavy equipment taxes, causing manufacturers to close factories in Michigan before factories in other states that don’t heavily tax their multi-million dollar steel presses, and tried to institute sales tax on services, driving out small businesses. These are just surface examples; the rot is much deeper, and is only partly the culture of elite self-elevation that all American politicians seem to be suffering from these days. The government is still trying to operate as if the Fordist economic rules apply, and they simply no longer do.

The people, meanwhile, are quite nice. Not only did we make several very good friends there, we noted that in general, people are pretty good in Michigan (at least away from Detroit proper). But you know, the ones who are still there are largely those who have never lived elsewhere. I was hearing lots of complaints about the jobs and the economy, but also a lot of excuses for not changing their own situations. To be fair, a lot of people still have jobs in which they are quite satisfied and comfortable; I am not talking about them. Rather, I am talking about the people who stay and complain about their jobs and the lack of better ones because of, boiled down, discomfort with the idea of doing anything about it. (What else can you call it when one person actually told me that changing jobs was too risky in this economy, and moving to a state with a better economy just meant starting all over, but who in the next breath was complaining about how she couldn’t make ends meet in her current job?)

So yeah, a lot of it is the politicians, and a lot of it is that anyone with entrepreneurial spirit has already left. I’d love to go back and visit, especially in the UP, but I don’t see myself living there again.

 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Just listen to the whining about gas prices for heaven sake.
Allow me.

When we crunch a couple or three numbers provided here by the government’s Energy Information Administration, we see that during the six months that just breezed by, gasoline increased 25% in price and diesel — which transports to our fingertips just about all the goods we buy — shot up nearly 30%. In just the first half of this year. And, of course, the prices continue to rise.

I won’t deny that, even so, we at Casa de Morgan still manage the cost of hauling ourselves back and forth to work and the grocery store and etc. And we understand that even as this becomes more challenging to our budget, we are still better off than grandpa was when he walked 12 miles barefoot through the snow to school everyday during the Great Depression. No question.

But that doesn’t mean we should sit back and say nothing about these rising energy (and, therefore, all other) prices lest some politico accuse us of whining. It’s the political pander class in Washington and about who have enabled enviro-mental-cases to establish a de facto national energy policy based on a tender regard for the mosquitoes of Alaska and a callous disregard for people who’d just like to buy and sell a bit of go-juice in something like an unhampered and un-hamstrung market.

Saying that Americans today are whining about rocketing gas prices is akin to saying that Paul Revere was whining about the Redcoats coming. Yeah, I do think that if Congress doesn’t undo some of the damage it’s done to our ability to fuel our cars and our dreams these last many decades, the times we live in could really get that interesting.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
You know, I hear a lot of noise about India and China in the oil debate: "it’s all about demand". It’s nonsense. Those places have been growing like weeds right in front of everyone’s eyes for years, which was long enough for demand to work its way through the market. There is no rational accounting for the recent oil numbers in "demand" alone. This is a production problem, and there is only one culprit indictable for that.

Pay attention to people like Linda. She’s absolutely right. Where I live, people are getting killed. Anyone who would call ’em "whiners" should try to live what they’re living for a while. They’re good people, and they would not take kindly to your opinion, for good reasons.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
All of the whining being done is not because the price of gas/energy is going through the roof. The whining that is being done is that our leadership is doing what it has continually done for the last 30 years to address the problem - nothing, but blame the other guy for doing nothing!

The average joe is powerless to affect the price at the pump. But those in power who have the wherewithal to do someting about it - do nothing. Therein lies the source of the pain.

I further find it interesting the contrast between today and the first "Oil Crisis" of the 70s. Then, Congress was stepping all over itself in knee-jerk attempts to stem the rising tide of oil $$ leaving this country and to stop the miles of cars waiting their turn just to get 5 gallons of gas. And what happened? The knee jerking actually made the problem worse - but, to give them their due, at least they tried. Anybody want to bet whether the current Congress will even try to put anything together to do their best and "fix" the problem?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Anybody want to bet whether the current Congress will even try to put anything together to do their best and "fix" the problem?
My bet is ’no - they’ll do nothing’. And I’m OK with that, because unless their plan is ’get the hell out of the way’, then I’m sure all they’ll do is f*** things up even worse.

 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
have to say as long time reader it disappoints me that you would be so dismissive of our situation, and it lends weight to the persistent statewide belief (which admittedly borders on paranoia at times) that nobody cares about our plight. McCain is telling us that he’s listening, which is exactly what people in the state want to hear. I only wish others would do the same
Poo you.

*Pat on the head*

There, we care about you.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Um...I meant "Poor you"

Poo you....not what I was going for :)

Good weekend all
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I have to say as long time reader it disappoints me that you would be so dismissive of our situation, and it lends weight to the persistent statewide belief (which admittedly borders on paranoia at times) that nobody cares about our plight. McCain is telling us that he’s listening, which is exactly what people in the state want to hear. I only wish others would do the same.
They’ve been listening for 10 years JZ - and where are you as a result of that?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"People may be employed, but from manufacturing and engineering to walmart stacker isn’t exactly progress. If you use the "Crocs" example provided by Mr. McCain you should note that although 600 jobs are in the US ALL of th manufacturing and production is outside the country. The industry isn’t here."

Let me assure that running an rubber injection mold machine to make "Crocs" is just as boring, if not MORE boring than stocking the shelves at Walmart. Sure, there are a few guys to fix the machines or make the molds, but you don’t need an engineer to do that. Its amazing how many factories in Asia I deal with that employ ZERO engineers and whose management is all high school graduates.

Upon reflection, wal-mart is air-conditioned and clean,too. I take that over a hot, sweaty factory that smells of chemicals.

p.s. on topic, I think Gramm could have been way more tactful. Some people do whine, but some people do lose their jobs and work hard to overcome.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
From PowerLine:
The economy is teetering on the brink, as oil hits record highs and no relief, in the form of increased supply, is in sight. Astonishingly, the Democrats are determined to allow no energy legislation to pass the Congress. This morning, the New York Times reported that Nancy Pelosi has dug in her heels in opposition to gas price relief:

According to accounts from those present, Ms. Pelosi said that if Democrats relented on drilling, “then we might as well pack it up and go home."

So that’s what the Democrats will do: pack up and go home, rather than try to bring relief to consumers and businesses staggering under the weight of record energy prices.
That’s the Democrat’s idea of looking out for the people.

 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
" the persistent statewide belief (which admittedly borders on paranoia at times) that nobody cares about our plight."

Mississippi, West Virginia, Appalachia, etc. You are right. We all have our own problems.

"Its amazing how many factories in Asia I deal with that employ ZERO engineers and whose management is all high school graduates"

Education inflation. Once Asia develops a higher education establisment like we have, a college degree will be required for any job other than sweeping the floor, which will require a high school diploma, preferably an AA degree.


"Upon reflection, wal-mart is air-conditioned and clean,too. I take that over a hot, sweaty factory that smells of chemicals."

Amen.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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