America is enduring a long-term drought in the hottest summer on record, which climate change deniers will say are only natural forces that periodically happen. Whatever the reason prices for food and petrol are rising again.
But the nation's economic depression, which has been going on longer than the drought, is something that has never happened before, not even during the 1930s. In the Great Depression, America's industry and natural resources were still largely intact and waiting for World War 2 to reawaken this sleeping giant.
Now, with the nation's industry largely in foreign countries, our natural wealth depleted and thankfully no prospect of another world war, despite Iran, people wonder what's happening and have lost faith in the federal government.
With all this there doesn't seem to be too much enthusiasm for the 2012 U.S. presidential election campaign, aside from big bucks corporate backers for Mitt Romney and the usual collection of vapid Hollywood champagne liberals for President Obama.
Even though the two candidates are liable to spend up to $3 billion on the campaign, most Americans can't tell you what they stand for and what would be the advantage of electing one over the other. There's a very real prospect that the most expensive election in US history will be the most boring, with the possibility that few voters will actually vote.
The plus factor of a low turnout is that the people who do vote will more than likely be watching and reading the expensive attack ads and claims from both sides. This will justify spending upwards of 50 dollars for every vote.
This also means the candidate who raises the most money will have a better chance of buying the election: democracy U.S.-style.
On one hand you have Obama claiming Romney will rob the poor to give to the rich, which really would be a Sherwood Forest tale since today's poor were formerly middle class and the older poor are already on welfare.
On the other hand, Romney claims Obama will stifle the rebirth of U.S. industry and drive wealthy people to tax havens abroad. The fact is, many are already abroad and Obama has proven himself to be consummate politician... in other words, a BS artist.
Many now-disheartened Obama supporters from 2008 see that he hasn't done much to achieve some basic campaign promises. And, when push comes to shove, remember many of the wealthy people he has earmarked for taxation are the same wealthy Hollywood lovies that support him with their hefty contributions.
It's a tragedy that American democracy is now a sham where only billionaires have a chance to occupy the West Wing. And in this particular contest, the challenger is an unemployed billionaire with few fresh ideas and a murky industrial record.
Both howl at the moon about saving the middle class through job creation. Yet, neither has a concrete idea of how to do it. The most salient and intelligent thing Romney has said so far is that Obama has to run on his record. And the voters have one main question to ask: "Am I better off now than I was four years ago?"
The problem for the voters and a main cause of the apathy is many don't see how Romney can do a better job. And a reason for this is all these promises are window dressing to the real culprit that has united all presidents and presidential candidates since Ronald Reagan: the global market.
As long as we can buy it cheaper elsewhere, that's where are business people will go. Yes, Obama and Romney may hurl charges of outsourcing U.S. jobs to China and India. But neither would do anything about the actual practice, just as Bush or Obama did nothing to stop U.S. firms hiring illegal immigrants.
The U.S. and UK job markets will remain soft until the Asian firms that now make the stuff we buy will feel they can make them more cheaply in the U.S. and UK. That will happen when their operating and shipping costs will rise to a point where locating their plants abroad will be financially advantageous.
They say the long hot summers will be the new normal in the USA. Better get used to high unemployment also as a new normal and hope the Chinese living standards go through the roof. What about effete politicians? That's actually the old normal.