Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Best Joke of The Week: No One Saw It Coming

Here's one that literally knocked me off my seat with laughter.

In an interview with Associated Press, soon to be ex-Vice President Dick Cheney stated that "his boss, President George W. Bush, has no need to apologize to the American people for not doing more to head off the financial calamity, saying no one saw the crisis coming."

AP quotes Cheney as actually saying, "nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure it out."

cartoon courtesy of

Well gee Mr. Cheney, apparently a few people had an inkling that a little something was out of whack.

For example, Mark Trahant, Seattle Post Intelligencer Editorial Page Editor, reported on a few of the warning signs in his April, 2005 article, "The Economy is Based on Borrowing".

Trahant reported:

The country's wealth scale is out of balance. "Using newly available income data that goes all the way back to 1913, income in 2000 was only slightly less concentrated among the top 1 percent of households than during the run-up to the Great Depression, which was the worst period of uneven income concentration in the last century," the report says.

Where you see the effects is in the shrinking paycheck of median household income. In real dollars, the median household income has declined $971 in 2001, $502 in 2002 and $63 in 2003 -- a cumulative loss of $1,536.

"As for benefit coverage," the report says, "it declined through the early 2000s."

Health insurance has declined for all wage groups -- and pension coverage is shrinking, too, down from more than half of all workers in 1979 to about 45 percent in 2002.

How does a family pay for all these wage and benefit cuts? We borrow more.

Nearly 18 percent of households showed a zero or negative net worth in 2001 -- and government figures show that many families are paying 40 percent of their income just to keep up with their debt.

It's also true that home ownership rates are on the rise but the debt side of that picture is troublesome, too. Last week, a mortgage association reported that 36.6 percent of mortgages are based on adjustable rates. As interest rates go up, so will debt obligations -- and the risk of insolvency for any family already on the edge.

Enough of the bad news. There is some positive news -- at least for a very few Americans -- in the Economic Policy Institute report. "From 1979 to 2000, the wage of the median chief executive officer grew 79 percent, and average compensation grew 342 percent."

When the recession hit, chief executive officers cut their pay -- a 36 percent decline -- from 2000 to 2003.

But last week, USA TODAY reported that chief executive pay is back. The newspaper collected data from the 100 largest companies that showed median compensation from pay, stock grants and other incentives was $14 million in 2004, up 25 percent from the year before.

Of course news of exorbitant increases in executive pay certainly wouldn't raise any eyebrows in the Bush White House. And when it was reported by the Christian Science Monitor in August 2005 that the US poverty rate had risen for the fourth year in a row, I'm sure that it wasn't a sign of trouble either.

I think it's safe to assume that no one in the Bush Administration read the January, 2006 report by the Economic Policy Institute titled, "What's Wrong With the Economy". And I'm absolutely certain that no one in the White House or on Capitol Hill read the March, 2007 article, "America, Maxed Out" by James Scurlock. No one could have seen the current economic problems coming. After all, there were problems with the Oval Office receiving good "intelligence" from government agencies.

When you think about it maybe nobody anywhere was smart enough to predict the financial crisis, the extreme hurricanes in the Gulf, falling bridges, outrageous war profiteering or, the fact that the Iraqi people would be so damn ungrateful for being liberated.

Maybe we're all just too stupid. George W. Bush was elected to two terms as US President, wasn't he?

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention, Barack Obama (among others) was talking about the economic crisis looming and proposing solutions over a year ago.

    I guess it can sound quiet or like nobody's talking tho if you have your head up your rear end.


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