June 22, 2008
On the Dollar, Oil & the Upcoming Election
Clyde, who has an impressive track record of foreseeing economic changes long before they happen, including the recent bursting of the housing bubble and fall of the dollar, talked to us about the prime issues a new president would have to embrace in November.
The falling dollar was an obvious one, as is the price of oil and the war. What about healthcare and education I cry out quietly. We're becoming a third world country and soon, we'll be sending our kids out of the country to get an education and go into personal bankruptcy because we can't afford to keep our families healthy.
The backgrounds here are largely economic, business and legislative however, so that's primarily where the focus of this talk went. As VP of Government Affairs for Target, Nate Garvis is responsible for political, legislative and regulatory affairs at the international, federal, state and local levels of government.
And, Mark Seddon held the most recent post as the United Nations and New York correspondent for Al Jazeera International. A fascinating background, Seddon was also an editor of Tribune, a reporter for the BBC and The Guardian, and a member of the Labour party's National Executive Committee in England.
Clyde, who keeps a close eye on energy and geo-political developments, notes that oil is $130 a barrell but adds, "there's no guarantee its going to stay there."
He talks about the late seventies when people put solar panels on their roofs and then stopped because the price of oil went down. He asks us, "will our behavior change this time?"
Globalization is not strengthening democracy. "Our democracy is designed not to work," he says. "Checks and balances were put there so it was difficult to change things."
Clyde returns to the upcoming election and talks about the perception abroad. He says, "People ask me all the time, 'will they let him get elected?' Who's they?" he laughs, but he's right. I get that question from friends abroad and it comes up at home as well.
I later asked Anthea Butler, who also spoke at PUSH this year (on religion), what she thought. What she 'hears' from the African American community is that the older generation fears his assassination whereas the youth simply wouldn't stand for it.
These are scary times but also exciting times. The world is waiting to see if America can step up to the plate. I hope we can show the world that somehow, somewhere within this interior, people can set aside their differences, their prejudices and their fears and embrace the change that we need.
Clyde is right about the economic issues. The collapsing dollar is a major crisis and the first one a new president will face. Energy is next and then there's the war. At home however, Amerians are fragile, they're eager, they're worn, they're in denial, and they're finally turning to disbelief as the picture of the mess we live in -- soon to be post Bush administration -- is now a reality.
We've been debating carbon taxes for years and still remain behind Europe. We hang onto old beliefs and old practices. A new administration is going to have to deal with the question about what do we do. They will have to execute a campaign that not only makes change sustainable but gives Americans a sense of hope for the first time in nearly eight years. We're crying out for a leader.
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