Money Changes Everything

Thomas Friedman had an excellent op-ed a few days ago, which I’m sure has been blogged extensively, but I wanted add another voice to the mix.

Friedman said that the issue that is going to motivate voters in November is going to be the economy, not terrorism or nation building in Iraq.

Up to now, the economic crisis we’ve been in has been largely a credit crisis in the capital markets, while consumer spending has kept reasonably steady, as have manufacturing and exports. But with banks still reluctant to lend even to healthy businesses, fuel and food prices soaring and home prices declining, this is starting to affect consumers, shrinking their wallets and crimping spending. Unemployment is already creeping up and manufacturing creeping down.

The straws in the wind are hard to ignore: If you visit any car dealership in America today you will see row after row of unsold S.U.V.’s. And if you own a gas guzzler already, good luck. On Thursday, The Palm Beach Post ran an article on your S.U.V. options: “Continue to spend upward of $100 for a fill-up. Sell or trade in the vehicle for a fraction of the original cost. Or hold out and park the truck in the driveway for occasional use in hopes the market will turn around.” Just be glad you don’t own a bus. Montgomery County, Md., where I live, just announced that more children were going to have to walk to school next year to save money on bus fuel.

Friedman really
gets the pessimism and the pinch that most Americans are feeling right
now. He says that our government has really failed to deal properly
with the economic downturn and that this will the biggest challenge for
future administrations.

I can see the pinch at home amongst my neighbors. Kids
aren’t going to camp. Swim club registrations are being cancelled and
replaced with cheap pools from Toys ‘R Us. Vacations aren’t happening.
On Wall Street, the few remaining workers are hunkering down for the
lean years.

Which party is going to deal with these challenges the
best? Friedman has no heros. Surprisingly, the answer may lie in Brooks
column for today.Brooks writes,


rising economic sectors tend to favor Democrats while declining
economic sectors are more likely to favor Republicans. The Democratic
Party (not just Obama) has huge fund-raising advantages among people
who work in electronics, communications, law and the catchall category
of finance, insurance and real estate. Republicans have the advantage
in agribusiness, oil and gas and transportation.

Big
business of the past is keeping us hooking on oil and reliant upon old
economic models. The new rich are supportive of high taxes on
themselves, willing to look at new modes of domestic policy, and voting
Democratic in November.

2 Thoughts on “Money Changes Everything

  1. Barry on July 8, 2008 at 3:39 pm said:

    This from the man who did more than his share to get us here.

  2. dave.s. on August 19, 2008 at 8:56 am said:

    Home Depot same-store sales off 7.9%. I never have to wait in line anymore: http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2008/08/home-depot-same-store-sales-off-79.html

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