Peak Oil is You

Donate Bitcoins ;-) or Paypal :-)

Page added on December 28, 2014

Bookmark and Share

America: Everything Is Awesome!

America: Everything Is Awesome! thumbnail

Good news! The U.S. economy grew at a rollicking 5 percent rate in the third quarter. Oh, and it added 320,000 jobs in November, the best of its unprecedented 57 straight months of private-sector employment growth. Just in time for Christmas, the Dow just hit an all-time high and the uninsured rate is approaching an all-time low. Consumer confidence is soaring, inflation is low, gas prices are plunging, and the budget deficit is shrinking. You no longer hear much about the Ebola crisis that dominated the headlines in the fall, much less the border crisis that dominated the headlines over the summer. As Fox News host Andrea Tantaros proclaimed earlier this month: “The United States is awesome! We are awesome!”

OK, she was talking about the Senate torture report, not the state of the union, but things in the U.S. do look rather awesome. Mitt Romney promised to bring unemployment down to 6 percent in his first term; it’s already down to 5.8 percent, half the struggling eurozone’s rate. Newt Gingrich promised $2.50 gas; it’s down to $2.38. Crime, abortion, teen pregnancy and oil imports are also way down, while renewable power is way up and the American auto industry is booming again. You don’t have to give credit to President Barack Obama for “America’s resurgence,” as he has started calling it, but there’s overwhelming evidence the resurgence is real. The Chicken Littles who predicted a double-dip recession, runaway interest rates, Zimbabwe-style inflation, a Greece-style debt crisis, skyrocketing energy prices, health insurance “death spirals” and other horrors have been reliably wrong.

Come to think of it, the 62 percent of Americans who described the economy as “poor” in a CNN poll a week before the Republican landslide in the midterm elections were also wrong. I guess that sounds elitist. Second-guessing the wisdom of the public may be the last bastion of political correctness; if ordinary people don’t feel good about the economy, then the recovery isn’t supposed to be real. But aren’t the 11 million Americans who have landed new jobs since 2010 and the 10 million Americans who have gotten health insurance since 2013 ordinary Americans? It’s true that wage growth has remained slow, but the overall economic trends don’t jibe with the public’s lousy mood. And the public definitely does get stuff wrong. A Bloomberg poll this month found that 73 percent of Americans think the deficit is getting bigger, while 21 percent think it’s getting smaller and 6 percent aren’t sure. In fact, the deficit has dwindled from about $1.2 trillion in 2009 to less than $500 billion in 2014. My favorite part is the mere 6 percent who admitted ignorance; 73 percent are definitely sure the shrinking deficit is actually growing.

The point isn’t that the midterm election’s discontent was illegitimate. The point is that Americans should cheer up! Six years ago, the economy was contracting at an 8 percent annual rate and shedding 800,000 jobs a month. Those were Great Depression-type numbers. The government was pouring billions of dollars into busted banks, and experts like MIT’s Simon Johnson were predicting that the bailouts would cost taxpayers as much as $2 trillion. In reality, the bailouts not only quelled the worst financial panic since the Depression, they made money for taxpayers. Nevertheless, last week, after the government sold its stake in Ally Bank, its last major holding in a financial institution, Johnson complained to The New York Times about the “unfortunate and inappropriate message” being sent by people pointing out the bailouts were actually profitable. In this holiday season, can’t we be a little bit happy we didn’t have to waste the $2 trillion he thought we were going to waste?

This bah-humbug brand of moral superiority has flourished since the crisis: How dare you celebrate this or that piece of economic data when so many Americans are still hurting? It’s awkward to argue with that view, since many Americans are indeed still hurting. But the economic data keep showing that fewer Americans are hurting every month. No one is satisfied with 5.8 percent unemployment, but it’s way better than the 10 percent we had in 2010 or the 11 percent Europe has today. Declining child poverty and household debt and personal bankruptcies are also worth celebrating. Better is better than worse. Whether or not you think Obamacare had anything to do with the slowdown in medical cost growth, it’s a good thing that Medicare’s finances have improved dramatically, extending the solvency of its trust fund by an estimated 13 years. It’s a good thing that U.S. wind power has tripled and solar power has increased tenfold in five years. And while it’s true that the meteoric rise of the stock market since 2009 has produced windfalls for Wall Street, it has also replenished state pension funds and 401(k) retirement plans and labor union coffers. It definitely beats the alternative.

Let’s face it: The press has a problem reporting good news. Two Americans died of Ebola and cable TV flipped out; now we’re Ebola-free and no one seems to care. The same thing happened with the flood of migrant children across the Mexican border, which was a horrific crisis until it suddenly wasn’t. Nobody’s going to win a Pulitzer Prize for recognizing that we’re smoking less, driving less, wasting less electricity and committing less crime. Police are killing fewer civilians, and fewer police are getting killed, but understandably, after the tragedies in Ferguson and Brooklyn, nobody’s thinking about that these days. The media keep us in a perpetual state of panic about spectacular threats to our safety — Ebola, sharks, terrorism — but we’re much likelier to die in a car accident. Although, it ought to be said, much less likely than we used to be; highway fatalities are down 25 percent in a decade.

The other problem in acknowledging good news, not just for the press but for the public, is that it has come to feel partisan, like an endorsement of whoever occupies the White House. Republican leaders have exacerbated this problem by describing everything Obama has done — his 2009 stimulus package, his 2010 Wall Street reforms, his 2013 tax hikes on high earners, his various anti-pollution regulations aimed at coal-fired power plants, and most of all Obamacare — as “job-killing” catastrophes that would obliterate the economy. It’s hard to point out that the economy is humming along nicely without making those doom-and-gloom predictions sound ill-advised and over-the-top. Because they were. Liberals who predicted disaster when Obama refused to nationalize the banking system during the financial crisis and when Republicans insisted on the harsh budget cuts in the 2013 “sequester” were wrong, too. Disaster hasn’t happened.

As ideologically inconvenient as that may be for chronic complainers on the left and right — and for pundit types invested in their bad-year-for-Obama narrative — it’s wonderful for the country. You don’t have to endorse Obama’s economic philosophy to realize that it hasn’t wreaked short-term havoc, just as you don’t have to endorse the Obama or George W. Bush anti-terror philosophies to acknowledge that America hasn’t endured a rash of terror attacks since 2001. Last week, polls finally found a majority of Americans recognizing that the economy is improving, which is to say a majority of Americans are recognizing reality. It’s probably time for politicians to discover a new Ebola to scream about.

There is no shortage of candidates in this less-than-perfect union. The U.S. is still plagued by inadequate public schools, crumbling infrastructure, soaring college tuition costs, stark inequality. Many Americans want accountability for reckless bankers, torturers and fatal choke-holders. Washington is still almost as dysfunctional as everyone says it is. Congress this session really was the second least productive ever. And even though Obama is winding down the U.S. involvement in overseas wars, the world remains a scary place. There’s still plenty to worry about.

But for now be merry! And may the new year be as awesome as this year.


28 Comments on "America: Everything Is Awesome!"

  1. Nony on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 2:22 pm 

    Peak oil is not about careful analysis or a search for truth. It’s about weird politics and conspiracy theories.

  2. penury on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 2:31 pm 

    “America is awesome” This headline brought to you by the Dept of Truth at the Dept of Peace. If you dispute it please call the good people in Langley and leave your address, a SWAT Team will be along to solve your problem.

  3. Rodster on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 3:07 pm 

    Bullshit rah..rah article.

    1) Manipulated GDP reports
    2) Manipulated unemployment figures
    3) Manipulated FOREX markets
    4) Manipulated COMEX
    5) Manipulated stock markets
    6) Manipulated interest rates
    7) Manipulated LIBOR rates
    8) 47 million on food stamps
    9) 93 million who can’t find jobs
    10) New jobs are part time low wage
    11) Banks who now have carte blanche on bail-ins

    Yeah ‘Merica is f#@king awesome. Thank you Fox

  4. Rodster on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 3:15 pm 


    12) Manipulated PM markets

  5. Plantagenet on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 3:42 pm 

    Blaming CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC or FOX news for reporting on the manipulated analytical data coming out of the EIA, BLS, etc. doesn’t make much sense. The government agencies who are releasing the bogus data are all controlled by the obama administration.

  6. rockman on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 3:56 pm 

    We do understand that the booming energy business, thanks to higher oil prices, accounts for a significant portion of our economic “rebirth”, don’t we? Such as in the last few years the number of housing start just in the city of Houston has exceeded the number for the entire state of CA, right? CA, one of the states held out there as possessing one of the more vital economies, right? All hail Silicon Valley! LOL. And that typically y-o-y Texas has added about as many new jobs as all the other rates COMBINED, right? And that a huge chunk of US job growth has occurred in just the shale producing states, right? And that the gains by the energy sector have been a very significant portion of the GDP improvement in recent years, right?

    And we do realize that if oil prices remain at the current low level (let alone go any lower) the economies in the oil producing states, in particular Texas, may head into the crapper before our very eyes, right?

    Generalizations are just that: too f*cking general. LOL. Much clearer picture of the real dynamics at play when you break them down into the components.

  7. Zotz on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 4:06 pm 

    Kneejerking comments from the usual glibertarian suspects.

    It’s satire!

    Please make a note of it.

    Carry on.

  8. ghung on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 4:07 pm 

    ….and people touting a $500 billion deficit as a good thing? We’ve come a long way baby.

  9. Nony on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 4:24 pm 

    Rock: you bragged about how localized the jobs were when we had the boom before. Now things get spread out.

    I actually appreciate the Hamms and the Rocks for two reasons: (1) extra supply, reduces price and (2) jobs and such in the US.

    But (1) is much more important. And if they cut their own throats with oversupply or if someone brings in cheap supply from elsewhere, so be it. I want cheap oil to fuel the economy.

  10. Plantagenet on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 4:33 pm 

    Nony—its not clear things will get “spread out”.

    A hamburgr flipper is still a hamburger flipper even if gasoline drops to $1.99 gallon, and the U economy is now mostly made up of low wage hamburger flippers and other denizens of the service economy. The vast majority of high wage jobs created over the last 6 years have been in the oil sector, and now even those are going away.

  11. Nony on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 4:40 pm 

    Open the ANWAR. Open the VACAPES. Open the GOM.


  12. Nony on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 4:41 pm 

    Let us frack in MD, NY, and CA.

  13. Apneaman on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 4:47 pm 


    Presidents come and go.The government agencies are eternal and exist to maintain BAU, regardless of which sock puppet is sleeping at the White House. Yes there is some tweaking here and there, but BAU is never under threat.

  14. Beery on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 4:52 pm 

    Let us frack on the Moon, on Jupiter! Open Mars!

    All that’s stopping us is government regulation. Right Nony?

  15. Poordogabone on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 5:20 pm 

    “The U.S. economy grew at a rollicking 5 percent rate in the third quarter”

    Correction: the financial bubble grew 5% in the 3rd quarter. Hold on to your hat.

    “and it added 320,000 jobs in November”

    This is plain dishonesty. Anyone knows that there is a surge of hiring each year before thanksgiving and Xmas for obvious reasons and that those jobs are temporary.

  16. Rodster on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 5:42 pm 

    @Plantagenet “Blaming CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC or FOX news for reporting on the manipulated analytical data coming out of the EIA, BLS, etc. doesn’t make much sense. The government agencies who are releasing the bogus data are all controlled by the obama administration.”

    They deserve equal parts of the blame as the Govt run media is nothing more than the Govt’s PR piece. All they are doing is spinning the Govt’s BS lies. The Media makes it sound like happy times are here again when in fact since 2008 the World entered a Depression.

    That’s why it’s called the “Govt Media Complex”.

  17. Harquebus on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 5:53 pm 

    “Have you ever wondered why the CPI, GDP and employment numbers run counter to your personal and business experiences? The problem lies in biased and often-manipulated government reporting.”

    With the $trillions of debt racked up, I would be surprised if there wasn’t a few good numbers. The fun part will be paying back the mathematically impossible.

  18. Pveroi on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 6:09 pm 

    Reminds me of the newspaper articles being written the year of US domestic crude peak. “Highest output ever!” Peak oil is a myth! Then crunch (because duh). Then forced to import. Oh look! Highest global output ever! Then global crude peaks. Then forced to frack. So forced to manipulate investment structure. Then change the definition of oil production. Then change the definition of LNG. And look! Highest output ever!

    One day people will realize the fact that economies were forced to grow on low eroi fuels was the day the peak oilers were right.

  19. PrestonSturges on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 6:26 pm 

    Don’t forget we were supposed to overthrow the government because a guy hopped over the white house fence, like what happens in every administration. And we were supposed to overthrow the government because our embassy was attacked, like what happens in every administration.

  20. GregT on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 6:55 pm 

    “The government agencies who are releasing the bogus data are all controlled by the obama administration.”

    And the Obama administration is controlled by the same groups of people that control the media. When Obama is replaced with the Installation of Hillary, the same groups of people who control the media will continue to control the government. As has been the case for a very long time.

  21. PrestonSturges on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 6:59 pm 

    I’m totally sure that if the GOP wins the White House they will revise the numbers so that it looks like everything is shit under them.

  22. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 10:03 pm 

    The State of the Union is strong. The weight of the average citizen has increased from 290 pounds to 320 pounds.

    Food stamp recipients are up.

    Welfare recipients are up.

    Marijuana usage per capita, has increased higher than ever before.

    Sales at Wal-Mart, where they spend their welfare checks, is way up.

    The size of aluminum monster drink cans is breaking all boundaries so Alcoa stock is going up, up, up.

    Imports from China, where something is actually built, is at a record high.

    Production of things inside the USA is at a record low.

    Poisoning of rural drinking water is at record high, but the people who get cancer on the family farm can’t press their case, which is great news for republican businessmen who like to poison drinking water.

    Wow what a great country.

  23. EB on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 10:59 pm 

    Got to love how Nony thinks an exponential growth curve vs a finite resource base is sustainable.

    We could be completely and utterly off on timing, even by 100years for peak oil, but that still does not make it false.

  24. Makati1 on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 11:52 pm 

    This article has a vile smell and should have been printed in red ink on a shit brown background. That is all it is.

  25. Jimmy on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 12:34 am 

    Nony has spoken so you can all just shut the fuck up now. He claims to have a life but all he does is troll peak oil boards. All hail Nony. The smartest mother fucker in the world.

  26. Go Speed Racer on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 1:37 am 

    Chill out Jimmy. Throw the dog a bone, he keeps it nice & simple. What he said.

    The USA is a ponzai scheme always needing a new fake bubble, to cover up the old fake bubble.

    Looks like buying worthless defective malfunctioning Chinese garbage at Christmas, is the latest fake-out, to say the economy is strong.

    Cheapy plastic Chinese buckets too cheap to add (expensive) polymer additives to stop them from breaking apart like cheap eggshells right on the shelves. They made infinitely better buckets 30 years ago.

    But all the stupid ignorant sheeple had to throw it all in the dumpm because they figured Jesus would always bring them more money more oil more welfare checks, and more cheap crap from Wal-Mart.

    The sooner it all tumbles down, the better.

  27. Dave Thompson on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 2:45 am 

    We now have about 2-3 weeks of down oil prices to go. The string pullers are getting all the sale crap over with in the big box candy mountain and making way for the spring/summer oil price increase. Keeping the whole sinking mess floating a while longer.

  28. Dredd on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 5:22 am 

    Our analysis shows that many East Coast communities now see dozens of tidal floods each year. Some of these communities have seen a fourfold increase in the annual number of days with tidal flooding since 1970.

    When tidal floods occur, water can cover coastal roads for hours, making passage risky or impossible. With water on the street, some residents can be effectively trapped in their homes, and homes can be damaged. Entire neighborhoods can be affected, even isolated. In many communities, retail stores, restaurants, other businesses, and public infrastructure are clustered in low-lying waterfront areas, in easy reach of tidal flooding.

    No longer an intangible global trend, sea level rise has arrived on the doorstep of communities scattered up and down the East Coast, delivered by the tides.” (Raised by Animals).

    Houston is one of about 300 ‘Atlantis cities’ NOW suffering from creeping reality brought to us by Oil-Qaeda.

    Whoopee, thanks mommie for skoolin’ us, cause now we know the price of daddy warbucks’ poison oil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *