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America's depressed and it's the economy's fault [Most commented]

July 6, 2011 |  2:25 pm

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To the rest of the English-speaking world, the U.S. isn’t looking so great these days, Op-ed columnist Tim Rutten writes Wednesday. A conservative British newspaper described the U.S. as depressed and anticipating more economic struggles in the future. Columnist and critic Fintan O'Toole of the Irish Times notes the failure of America’s large urban areas, which continue to have high levels of unemployment. And those who are employed, Rutten writes, don’t have the same  job security and rosy retirement prospects their predecessors had.

"These cities aren't just crucial to the American economy," O'Toole wrote, "They are the engines of globalization. They soak up immigrants and exports from every continent. The capital they generate fuels investment around the world, including, of course, Ireland. If they're in trouble, then so is the whole model of economic globalization. And they are in trouble."

[…]

Unemployment and reviving the nation's urban economies ought to be the defining issues of the coming presidential campaign. They probably won't be. In that case, Luntz's prediction to the Telegraph that 2012 will be a "none of the above election" easily could be true — and that's an unsettling prospect.

Readers didn't seem terribly optimistic either.

If not the economy, what will the election be about?

"Unemployment and reviving the nation's urban economies ought to be the defining issues of the coming presidential campaign. They probably won't be. In that case, Luntz's prediction to the Telegraph that 2012 will be a 'none of the above election' easily could be true — and that's an unsettling prospect.."

Egads.  What does Rutten think the 2012 election will be about?  Puppy dogs and gum drops?  I'm sure Obama would be delighted if that were the case, but it isn't likely to happen.  No, the economy and unemployment WILL figure prominently in the 2012 presidential election.  Everybody knows that.

OH WAIT!  Now I get it.  Rutten didn't really say "the economy".  He used liberal code talk: "reviving urban economies".  I think, by this, he means shoveling more stimulus money, a.k.a. "shovel-ready projects", to big cities (you know them--they're the sort of places that tend to vote for Democrats), while leaving the less populous, more conservative areas of the nation to fend for themselves.  Rutten finds the diminished chances of something like this happening (i.e., a Republican victory in 2012) "an unsettling prospect."

Well, I guess we who would like to see Obamanomics laid to rest are just going to have to learn to live with Tim Rutten's feeling "unsettled"...

...Hey, Tim, I'm starting to feel better already!

:O)

--GregMaragos

Solutions take time

Coming from two countries that historically have failed economically, they're not in a position to be critical of the United States. Yes America is in a free fall at this time, due to political in house fighting and class warfare. Britain has failed as a political power and Ireland has yet to resolve it's own economical and social problems, despite sending most of their population to the US, over the past two centuries. America will in time find a solution to the strife that is infecting the country at the present time, as we are a country of people that can and will resolve the problems we now face. People of America must also realize that current issues take time to resolve, so that short term resolve is not the answer to our problems, as the Great Depression started in 1929, but did not really end until after WWll, (1945).

--flatlander

Stop blaming the hard working people in this country

What Americans should to be asking themselves is why Swedish Ikea factory workers are starting off at $19 a hour with 5 weeks vacation time with single payer health care, while their American counterparts are starting off at $8 a hour with a combined total of 12 days vacation and sick leave, and no health care.

Keep on giving those CEO's and Wall Street fat cat's the tax breaks and de-regulation they ask for while you blame, immigrants, union, and public employees, people who are essence just like you for this country's problems as the rest of us honest, intelligent hardworking American's watch our jobs continue to be shipped and outsourced overseas as our quality of life continues to pummel while a significant group of self defeating minion continue to vote against their own best interest.

Good luck America.

--RaulGarcia

Rural commodities are the key

Envy is Irish green.

Without stating the obvious, both the U.K and Ireland suffer from economic problems dwarfing those of America. So, opinion pieces from over there are filled with the same false schadenfreude as when the L.A. Times takes on Texas. 

For years, because of lagging commodity prices, rural America failed to keep pace with the Big City. But what do urban areas ultimately produce? Paper, eh? The major wage earners in cities are lawyers, bankers, ad men and the luxury retailers who sell big ticket items to Metropolitan Man's wife.

Everyone else in the city is just support staff to the elites. And hopefully, the wealth of Lady Gaga trickles down to the guy driving a taco truck.

But the ultimate economic engine-as proved by Brazil and Russia- is commodities. Oil, corn, cows and pigs are king-and cities are lacking in those. (well maybe not the pigs).

It's no surprise that in a new, de-leveraging economy, wealth is suddenly being transferred from Funny Money (cities) to essentials (rural). At the end of the day, food will always outsell ad space.

--Killer Clown

War is the culprit

There has been a big elephant in the room and nobody wants to discuss the obvious. Now it has been said in media outlets outside the United States that we have lost our way. Wars and more wars while the country is going to hell. Ignore it if you desire but the elephant isn't leaving anytime soon.

--Czechster

Things were better when the “evil” we were fighting against was clearer

Hey, I miss the Cold War! Back then we had a better idea of what was "good" or "evil." Rather like having a compass that points to the north pole. The "north pole" is gone now, so our compass wiggles aimlessly.

So far Islamic terrorism has been a limited device to make us focused. We don't have anything major to stand against anymore, thus we're left to figure out what we stand for.

This is a scary condition to be in, and it won't stop after the economy recovers. It is deeper than that. For all its wonderful characteristics, America was at its best when "evil" was more clear (e.g. WW2 and 50 years after) but has been self-destructive and xenophobic when the biggest "evil" we can get excited about is another political party, or another socio-economic class, or a country who annoys us.

--Ed Wood

*Spelling errors in the above comments were corrected.

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Photo: People walk past a sign outside the future site of a Uniqlo clothing store in New York in June. Credit: Mark Lennihan / Associated Press

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