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Bubble Trouble

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"Breaking News!!!" "Today's economic indicators have improved from 'Disastrous' to 'Dismal'!!!"

That's the gist of the breathless cable news we're hearing in the last couple of weeks...followed, of course, by a request for viewers to send in their Twitter Tweets.

It's exciting stuff to a world so paralyzed with economic fear. Now "It's-Only-Awful" sounds pretty good. It's like the country song "I've Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me".

But that's a good thing. In this economic world of perceived realities, glimmers of hope feed on themselves. If consumers and employers start feeling confident they'll get out of the bunkers and start spending again. That will create more good news until the good news is good for real as opposed to Happy Talk from a Barack-Eyed Optimist.

The "Half- Full" people can revel in the fact that we're struggling in the quicksand...celebrate the fact that we haven't been totally sucked in.

It's premature, I know, but it's time to start planning for prosperity. We should be getting ready to make the very same mistakes again. We always do.

Unless we've learned our lesson this time, we'll quickly stop keeping a sharp eye the charlatans who dominate our financial system and the borderline-illegal schemes they create.

We will abandon any efforts to make their wheeling and dealing transparent. Even though, the Chrysler lawsuit shows how these shady operators are too ashamed of their sleazy games to let anyone see who they are, or what they do, they'll successfully resist any effort to shine some light on their shadowy world.

Our outrage over the exorbitant salaries they get for risking everyone else's life savings will simmer down as we move on to stimulation from the next crisis or scandal.

Recognizing that, officeholders will turn away from their plans for meaningful reforms, so they can maintain their cozy relationships with the fat cats. Better to guarantee provide lucrative employment for those who want to leave the public sector and political contributions for those who want to stay.

We'll all certainly return to our destructive use of credit cards that are a Faustian deal with those who helped create this Beelzebubble and continue make hellish profits from their deceptive usury. The fervor for reform will continue to be overrun by bankers who demonstrate time and time again that they are more powerful than any democratic system of government.

You can bet that all the trillions we gave to save them and us from their disastrous stupidity will never be returned. Any profits will disappear into rewards for their incompetence, still bigger bonuses for their failures.

We in media can return to our uncritical reporting on the oligarchy. We can resume our cheerleading of willy-nilly mergers and layoffs and cost-cutting "efficiencies" that shortchange consumers. It'll be much easier and profitable for our corporate owners when we can go back to regurgitating public relations handouts and ignoring all the shenanigans that take journalistic hard work to uncover. It's much easier to spew home-team boosterism in the name of business reporting that leaves everyone woefully uninformed.

And without a doubt, we'll all the attracted like flies to the sugar coating on the next bubble. Whether it's high-tech again, or real-estate, there will be some new investment option out there which will suck us into the abyss, once again.

This assumes, of course, that the new optimism we're witnessing is not simply a tiny bubble itself. As Wednesday's report of a surprising drop in retail sales, the consumers who will make or break any recovery with their confidence or lack thereof, seem to signaling that they/we might need more than empty optimism. That would mean expectations will be burst by the pricks of reality (you decide whether that word has double meaning). In either case, we can count on a continuous cycle of mistakes and paying for our mistakes and maybe mistakes in the way we pay for them.