You hope, you listen, and you hope some more. Some economists and government officials keep telling us the worst is over, the recession is easing and we are on the way back. Do you believe that? I certainly don’t. Sure, the Dow is up about 2,800 points since it bottomed out at approximately 6,500. But what does that mean to me and you?
The reality is that this is a modern-day depression. There are over 7m people out of work since the end of July 2007, bringing the total unemployed to better than 14m. We are inching up to the 10% out-of-work mark, which is only a few months away. They tell us the good news is the monthly actual increase in unemployed has decreased to 216m in August from a high of 741m in January.
I liken this type of thinking to that of a dam breaking and water slowly flowing over several towns, wiping out homes, businesses and lives. After some time has passed, they tell you the good news, that the water has stopped flowing from the break in the dam. What they don’t tell you is that the towns are destroyed and now underwater. Many large organizations have trimmed down to bare minimums, while others have folded. Thousands of small businesses have disappeared. That is reality.
The only thing that gets any economy headed back in the right direction is the ability for people to spend money. This so-called recession has affected every class. Between folks trying to save their home, pay down existing credit and attempting to save their credit rating, they do not have the money or ability to spend. Many of those who are lucky enough to still be working, are disengaged at their job, adding another layer of consumers not buying, mainly due to fear of losing their job.
The disastrous economy we are facing will be here for a long time. There are many directions it can take. Every individual needs to change the way they think about prosperity in order to take our economy in a new direction. We have become used to luxurious lifestyles and fairly safe employment conditions. In order to meet the challenges in our near future, it will take a strong will to move forward with less. If we can do it, maybe the values that made this country great will return and help us and our children keep life in better perspective.