Phil Gramm, I’m not whining here. Honest. I finished a really pleasant five-mile run this morning. And picked up my dead-tree edition of the Akron Beacon Journal. The main headline on the front page: “Economic crisis has top leaders at a loss.”
From Tom Raum and the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON: The nation’s leaders are running out of answers to America’s economic crisis.
The Federal Reserve has no more practical room to push interest rates lower; there’s only so much taxpayer money for shoring up housing, and if depositors lose confidence there’s little officials can do to stop a run on banks.
OK. Let’s try for this. How about just one consistent answer? We sure didn’t get that yesterday in separate statements from President Bush and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bush argues the glass is half full. Bernanke suggests we drink up before the glass is repossessed.
But at least Bush tried to offer some perspective and context — always good things from a public relations standpoint. In response to a question about high gasoline prices, His Glibness said: “The president doesn’t have a magic wand.” Indeed. So I guess we’re sunk.
Too bad baseball wasn’t invented before our Founding Fathers crafted the Constitution. Otherwise, I bet there would have been a provision allowing us to bring in a relief president. Or to pinch hit for the chairman of the Federal Reserve. But since we are where we are — I guess we’ll have to look to Dr. Phil to cast the tie breaker.
Here’s an interesting read on The Huffington Post — “A Tale of Two Economies.”
Then take General Motors. Please.
GM announced yesterday its latest restructuring — and cutbacks involving employees, facilities and retiree health benefits. This isn’t funny. Quite the opposite. It’s sad. “As GM goes so goes the nation.” Oh, my. Look out below! Let’s hope that GM — and Ford and Chrysler — survive this mess. Management at those companies really didn’t forsee crude oil prices well north of $100 a barrel — and for years they gave us what we wanted: large trucks, gas-hogging SUVs. Bummer. Oops. Meant Hummer.
And one last point. I noticed that Bob Lutz, GM’s resident blogger and vice chairman, wrote about the problems GM is facing on FastLane. I give him credit for doing that — and I know from personal experience that it is difficult for senior executives to talk candidly about problems and management mistakes.
Unfortunately, we may be in an era where global economic and political realities make it impossible for Lutz and his associates to fix GM and return it to being a foundation for our economy.
Bush snickered at the idea of a bailout for GM if the company’s fortunes continue to decline.
Magic wand anyone?