Pick a day of the week a throw a dart. That seems to be what decides whether Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan will tell us we are headed for disaster or doing fabulously on any given day. It has reached the point where it is not just fence straddling, but truly troublesome psychosis. And it has been going on for a while now. Look at this from last year. First, from May 6, 2004 comments to a banking conference: "Our fiscal prospects are, in my judgment, a significant obstacle to long-term stability because the budget deficit is not readily subject to correction by market forces that stabilize other imbalances." Then a few months later to the House Budget Committee: "The most recent data suggest that, on the whole, the expansion has regained some traction." One day he is pointing out that there is an "inverted yield curve," a little thing that precedes every recession and never appears except when there is a recession about to occur, and the next he is saying the economy is wonderful - even in the face of all obvious evidence to the contrary, such as seen in this Washington Post quote typical of the situation: "Greenspan was upbeat about the economy in remarks to the House Budget Committee, and did not suggest there would be any major changes in the Fed's monetary policy, which was a welcome relief to rate-wary investors. But the short-term cheer over his comments was not enough to allay the market's deeper concerns." The problem, though, is not Greenspan himself but something we see play out on a much, much larger scale, and which has the entire nation confused about the current state of the economy, which is actually very simple to explain. You see, it is the job of the entire investment firm profession to get you to buy stocks and bonds. And economists serve these people, and tend to be Republicans. The reality is that Greenspan and others understand the second part of the above Washington Post quote, that there are permanent "deeper concerns" due to the policies implemented by President Bush and the Bush/Limbaugh Republicans. The deficit is real, the declining dollar is real, that the lack of pensions are real, that record number of personal bankruptcies are occurring each year.. So why does the reporting and commenting go back and forth so much? Because they have to say something and to try and say something positive. They sit and wait on this and that report and then are supposed to make some comment based on these snapshots. If they were simply to continue to focus on the big picture, they would have nothing new or interesting - or very positive - to say. How many times can you write, "You can't keep running up the nation's credit cards like this?" How many times can you point out that the tax cuts were not targeted in any way toward job creation - they simply handed money to wealthy people without any incentives linked to increased hiring or any other mechanism of job creation. Lots of money was handed directly to companies, and so their profits increased. That would be nice except for one catch: it was money we didn't have to give. The cheerful reporting of the sudden increase of cash among companies is the eqivalent of going out and buying a new truck and 42-inch TV on your credit card and then coming home and saying, "See how well we are doing, honey, we have all sorts of nice new stuff." The reality in that case would be that, no, things around the household haven't improved, just someone in the household made a stupid decision to run up all sorts of debt that has to be paid down at some point. We hear talk now about foreign investors getting leery of floating our endless bonds. And we hear about the inverted yield curve - the surest sign of a coming recession, when short-term interest rates are, unlike normal, higher than long-term interest rates. You have to take this all a step further, though, because this is just the government aspect of things. Though the press likes to report useless, skewed month to month "unemployment" numbers, the reality is that these numbers only include people still receiving unemployment compensation benefits. Those who have exhausted all of their benefits and are still unable to find work are called, "long-term unemployed." The number of people in this group tells the real story of unemployment, of people permanently put in the worst of financial situations. And as reality has it, the last two years has seen record numbers of long-term unemployed. On top of that, the trend that started during the Clinton years of record personal bankruptcies continues. And the trade deficit continues to set new records. So on the one hand you have a government completely broke, setting deficit borrowing records every year. And on the other, you have the American people completely overspent, credit cards run to the max and many stuck long-term without any employment. And then you have a Baby Boomer group that will be retiring many without pensions, only with dot-com-crash-battered 401K's to depend on. Lady's and gentlemen, the math doesn't add up. The only thing the Bush/Limbaughians have to try and keep things from seeming the disaster they are is their complete domination of the media - of course, as we've explained, this is why they've set up 24 hour-a-day propaganda on all media, to convince the people that things that are horrible for them are actually just fine. You can look at this report or that number, but the "conundrum" Alan Greenspan keeps coming back to is simple: How can he continue to try to say anything positive when the obvious, big-picture context of the economy is horrible and only being exacerbated by current policies? And so you see poor Alan looking like a deranged monkey on acid, saying we have a recovery, things look good, and then, just a few days later, we have a real problem, the deficits and inverted yield curve cannot be ignored.