Our business acumen – as a nation – has jumped ten-fold during the last five months. We know understand better how financial markets works, what the Dow Jones is on a daily basis, how much money the government can give when it wants to “bail out” an industry and how interest rates effect everything we do.
Such is the benefit of a recession. We become smarter about our money.
However, I wonder if this new-found knowledge and this sudden thriftiness comes way too soon to save our economy? I may sound like a doomsayer, but all you have to do is look at our own backyard to realize the economic hole we have dug for ourselves. We have a state that looking to make cuts, a county that is weighing the option of letting people go to make its budget and individual townships cutting police protection in the name of saving what few bucks they have.
I haven’t even mentioned the millions of Americans and thousands locally living paycheck to paycheck. So why do I fear it may not get better? Because the last time we were in such dire straights along came World War II and a massive ec0nomic jolt. This particular recession is not going to be cured by war because we have enough weapons and infrastructure to wage a battle … and let’s be honest … the next World War won’t last quite as long. It might be the shortest war in history if it goes nuclear. Perish the thought.
No, our problem is that we have built an economy based on consumerism and not production. Spending powered the economy, powered the job market and essentially kept the U.S. machine growing. When the spending stopped, so did everything else. Even our attitude of “buy now, pay later” did not motivate us during that “most wonderful time of the year”. For retailers, this was the worst holiday season in years.
So do I think there is now way out of this mess? No. I’m sure there is a way but when our soon-to-be President is talking about putting our nation deeper in debt to escape the economic downturn, I don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling. I just hope we can escape the mess we are in … but it’s looking dark right now and I don’t see any light at the end of this tunnel.
Sorry for the somber note. Just one person’s view.