Everywhere I go, there’s someone saying: America’s economy is collapsing. As media hysteria continues to ride roughshod over any sense of perspective (and as wishful-thinking in some quarters drives otherwise sensible people into lip-smacking meltdown), some sensible analysts are still talking sense. The National Post’s Terrence Corcoran brings us back to earth with this front-page column, “The D Word Going Cheap” :
The Great Depression, massive in scale and scope, dug a deep trench through U. S. economic statistics of the 1930s, numbers so big that today’s comparisons have little meaning or relevance. Industrial production fell 50% between 1929 and 1932; prices fell 20%; real incomes of Americans fell 35%; the stock market plunged 75%.
Nothing remotely near this kind of meltdown is on the horizon. The United States, which actually grew 3.3% in the second quarter that ended two months ago, has yet to show meaningful signs of recession. None of the standard indicators of economic slowdown — unemployment, payroll employment, civilian employment, industrial production — point to serious recession, let alone something worse.
What recent events suggest, however, is that by the time the new president is sworn in next January, the worst should be over. Yesterday’s U. S. stock market drop, while the largest Dow correction since 9/11, was remarkably orderly. By letting Lehman Brothers slide into Chapter 11, the U. S. government appears to have put an end to its attempts to bail out failing institutions. This can only hasten restructuring along market lines and based on actual values.
That Bank of America appears to have the financial clout to take up Merrill Lynch, creating a new global powerhouse in banking and finance, is a sign that the U. S. economy is doing what the U. S. economy has always done best, which is to overcome a succession of economic hurricanes and emerge as powerful and efficient as it has been in the past. The curse of other nations– Japan, Europe — has been their reluctance to make the adjustments and move on, letting failures fail.
That, in fact, is the greatest story in U. S. economic history. Since the Great Depression, it has never come close to having another great depression.
Now why would the left want to make things out to be worse than they actually are? Alright, I’ll spell it out: lefty politicians like Obama and Dion want to break you down so you lose faith in free-market capitalism, elected them, and give them the moral authority to enact widespread wealth redistribution and social engineering schemes – exactly the schemes that have stood in the way of further progress and success for a century now.