In the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton rose to office on the theme, “It’s the Economy, Stupid!” Well, it still is all about the economy. The 2008 elections will largely be based on economic concerns that have not disappeared. While statistics and surveys can lie, based on how they are presented, occasionally you can obtain data from neutral sources or you can weigh the preponderance of the evidence to draw conclusions.
The NY Times on-line edition today includes a graph from the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demonstrating the magnitude of the job loss, not just in actual numbers, but in relation to other recessions. We are now 2-3 years into this recession and we may or may not be seeing our way out of it.
While elections are largely about the economy, there is an underbelly of local, national, international and environmental sentiments, prejudices, hostilities, religious animousities, historic and profound, that will have a great influence on our ability to right the economic engine that drives prosperity. Sadly, the employment outlook is a victim, a side-show of a world that from the local level to the internation level, is out of kilter. Keep watching this graph as an honest measure of the mental health of our society and our humanity – or the lack thereof. On one level, of course it is about the economy. Nothing seems to hurt more than whether or not we can “make some bread.” We all have basic needs of self-worth that start with economic self-sufficiency. But on a more profound level, the economy is simply a measuring stick of our ability as a human society to meet the needs of the human race. We have terribly fallen behind in that race, which is much more crucial than any election.