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Friday, March 05, 2004

Angst?

Bret, I liked your critique of the Economist article. I thought you made a couple good points, especially about the unique economic environment we're in.

Howie, I found your last post to be filled with unattractive condescension and inaccurate characterizations. (Do you even know what mercantilism is? The editorial slant of the Economist is in favor of free trade, market mechanisms (over government regulation), and unprotected industries. Does that sound like mercantilism to you? Maybe you'd better re-read those ten years of subscriptions since you don't seem to have understood the articles the first time.) Further, while I'm sure the books are good and I thank you for the reference, it would be nice for once to hear your opinions rather than simply receiving a litany of the masterworks you've read. So, what do you think should be done about anything related to governing our country? Or are you simply the appointed apologist for the Republican party?

All joshing aside....

Have you hit on something, though, when you say I'm filled with angst? Let's look at this rationally (which I tend to do, unless caught up in the passion of the moment). Do I have any reasons to be filled with angst (which my Heritage Illustrated Dictionary simply defines as "feelings of anxiety")?

Here are a couple candidates for the source of creation of angst in me, and my thinking about them.

1. By a slim thread, I continue to hang onto a job at ChevronTexaco. No question about angst there. But, I don't link my situation to the economy per se, and most certainly not to Bush's policies. If anything, the stimulation Bush has provided through tax cuts and the $30 billion in energy subsidies given to the energy industry each year should be "helping" me at this time.

2. The country's economic future looks to me to be headed toward periods of recession, perhaps prolonged ones, as we cope with demographic shifts and less flexibility to finance transitions due to an already enormous structural debt. Surprisingly, my angst is not so high on this issue. Why? Because angst is a very personal thing, and I don't feel particularly threatened by the prospects of the long-term economy. Even if I don't get a job with ChevronTexaco, it's likely that I will be able to make enough money in the next 10-15 years to get by in reasonable comfort for the rest of my days. But, I do have a great deal of sympathy for all those people, perhaps including my kids, who may themselves have buckets full of angst if they can't get a job when those recessions roll around.

As for everything else, life is good. The really important thing -- a loving, healthful family -- is solid. Indeed, there's a GG Conference in 3 weeks! Let's not lose perspective.

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