I am fascinated by the way various segments of the society are responding to our economic downturn. Take the professional economists, especially the ones who have graduated from the Ivy League schools. Though circumstances, people, the mood of the country may all change, the economic principles which influence their thinking are as fixed as a slab of concrete. There is no way, according to some of them, that America can possibly be in a recession unless it meets every criteria contained in their textbook definition of a recession. Fortunately, most of them will probably never open the refrigerator door and find it empty and then find their pockets empty of money to buy more food. So, possibly, a recession will always be to them, a combination of academic principles. They can afford to think like that.
On the other hand, many of the folks who have been downsized, lost their jobs, are facing foreclosure or major illness without insurance, or are living one payment ahead of bankruptcy can’t afford to turn down a tax rebate whether it stimulates the economy or not. That’s one thing about hard times. They can very quickly become a personal matter. When it’s a threat to your food, medicine and shelter, it’s hard to worry about the economic situation as a whole.
A lot of the politicians have the same problem as the economists. They are predictable. If it wasn’t such a serious matter, I could easily die laughing when the politicians suggest offering business incentives to spur the economy. When the economy doesn’t respond favorably, then they will say it’s because we didn’t do enough. Some of us say what really happened is that those business executives put the money in their pockets instead of expanding their businesses, hiring more workers, ad infinitum. But then, some of us didn’t expect they would because we live in the real world.
Most of us realize that our corporate leaders, big business owners and politicians no longer have the best interests of America at heart. These people have demonstrated to us time and time again, they are out to make as much money as they can, as fast as they can. Only those who believe in the Easter Bunny could believe that less government is what we need.
I have every confidence in the world that the small group of people who own all the big corporations and their cohorts will make it work for them. The rest of us will just have to tough it out and, hopefully, learn from the experience. I hope we never forget this period of our history — the people who brought us to this place, the ideas and theories that were perpetuated to convince us and the price we are paying for the consequences. We learned as children that the love of money is truly the root of all evil, but we had to experience it for ourselves in order for it to become a reality.
To be honest, though, I imagine that the memories of the events leading up to our present dilemma will wind up in the dustbin of history. We seem to remain true to our reputation of refusing to learn from the examples of the past.
Actually, though, I’m only pessimistic about the path on which the country is traveling. I’m optimistic that educated people of character and substance will use their many gifts to create new opportunities for spiritual advancement from the dregs of this ugly nightmare. Those who refuse to change will ultimately be changed, for better or worse.
Let the watchful beware.
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.