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Commentary Last Updated: Nov 9th, 2007 - 00:58:38

Econophoria: Our twelfth economic leading indicator
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Nov 9, 2007, 00:56

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Countdown towards an economic bloodbath has already started!  For those required by their religion to accept the mystery of the Holy Trinity, some wisdom should come from the unraveling of the other (financial) �holy trinity�: debt, price of oil and value of the US dollar.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct, different persons in one God, according to Roman Catholic dogma; while that god in doctrinal American capitalism is represented by debt, oil and a �fleeting dollar;� all distinct, different . . . yet, intertwined.

A few contrarian-apprentices in Wall Street are beginning to question whether the sheer strength of our economy, and the globalization of our major corporations, will be able to sustain current Wall Street market figures, or even 2007 closings without any gains this year for the DOW, S&P 500 or the supremely and ever-volatile NASDQ.  Naysayers are still but few -- or at least appear reserved in their comments -- afraid they may be treated with similar disdain as those biblical prophets of doom who, although wise-appearing to generations in the future, often seemed as laughable goats to their contemporaries.

Worry not, we are told; things are hunky-dory in every respect!  Yeah, we are surging in unstoppable ways, militarily and economically; if we don�t believe that, let�s ask the man who lives in the White House, our Soothsayer-In-Chief.  Things are just bushy-swell!

Just four hours ago I was listening to Fed Chairman Bernanke giving Congress� Joint Economic Committee another diluted version of things to come . . . from the same bucket of bullshit that his predecessor Greenspan often brought up from that Econophoria well during two decades.  Both always appearing so convincingly honest . . . except that what we are being fed by the Fed is nothing but a teaspoon of truth diluted in a large bowl of liquefied bullshit.  Bottom line: we are up to our waist in economic doo-doo; and making such declaration would be tantamount to a confession of persistent criminal silence and lies inflicted by our political leaders, and their advisers, for over a quarter of a century.

All we seem to need is just another fix, or two, or three, or 10 more . . . from that soother of pain, the Fed; another round of borrowing, or two, or three, or 10 more . . . from our children, grandchildren, great-grandkids, and even those twice-great grandkids, so that merrily we may continue enraptured in our permanent state of blind Econophoria.

Econophoria . . . the state of grace in which we, Americans, are born, naturalized into, or even �illegally� adopted.  Just as other poor souls are said to come into the world with an �original sin,� or all too often the curse of poverty, we�ve been born with an �original exceptionality� and blessed with self-multiplying wealth . . . as if manna from heaven.

Now we are rolling the carpet of pain for the upcoming recession and putting the blame in the �sub-prime� problem of the housing market, and the inability of capitalism sans controls to police itself.  But that is only the beginning, the first layer of a putrid onion-market in housing and commercial construction that has added trillions of dollars of non-existing value to an economy that has cannibalized itself, or rather the future well-being of generations to come, asking them to pay for all the phony consumption-growth we�ve managed to have in the United States and, by imitation, in other parts of the world.

We have been misusing most of the existing 11 leading indicators for domestic economic performance to the point of utter ridicule.  Does it make any sense to have our Gross Domestic Product overly inflated in terms of consumption?  Or, that the CPI and the way we measure inflation give not just an imperfect way to weigh what should be a representative bundle of goods, and a way to track rising prices, but an unfunny, crude joke?  Or, that the employment indicators measure raw numbers of ever lower paying jobs, instead of a change in payroll constant dollars relative to population?  Or, that the Consumer Confidence Index is totally meaningless for a population being kept ignorant, in the dark, or even lied to?

And to top it all, we continue to live in the stupor of Econophoria!

It remains to be seen whether or not we�ll be going into another series of rounds propping up the economy, just keeping the faux fa�ade for another year until the next presidential election is over.  But just how many generations can we enslave: two, three . . . a dozen?  Our good chairman of the Fed doesn�t seem to think there is any harm in shifting the wealth of the working class to keep the castles of cards of the super-rich from tumbling; or even switching corporate responsibility to additional government guarantees which would bankrupt this nation, leaving us with just one asset that we would fully, unencumbered, own: a nuclear stockpile to tempt us with mass suicide.   That brings up the question: would China be interested in buying this stockpile in exchange for all our treasury notes in their possession?

Well, the sooner the economic bloodbath comes around, the sooner we�ll come to the realization of what this government is all about, bringing up the possibility of true reform: a true conservative domestic policy to march alongside a totally revamped foreign policy that can permit us to live in peace and harmony with all our global neighbors.

� 2007 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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