The Sky Has Fallen... (or was that just the dollar?)
WE all know the American economy is suffering. Just how bad it's going to get is a question on everyone's mind. Turn on the news and see how long it takes for a reminder of our plight. Wait for the latest announcement of huge corporate layoffs. Listen to the terms "stimulus package" and "bail-out". Suffer through the poor attempts at poetry. Check out the Dow Jones Index. If you can make it to the end of the broadcast, kick back for the human interest story. Can they still put a happy face on their product? This is not your father's evening news (unless you are a senior citizen). The fear is palpable, no matter how well-coiffed the news anchor is. This is a bigger security story than "terrorism".
Great. Now you know the truth. We have dug ourselves a very deep hole, and it has widened into a chasm. People are gathered around its periphery, trying to determine if it will be less painful to skirt around the edges or simply dive in headfirst. There is a huge industry devoted to making sure your choice is the latter. Throw a penny into the darkness and find out when it hits bottom. Now try it with a dollar, or a trillion of them. There are hundreds of "experts" and talking heads trying to fathom the depths. Some are nearsighted, and some are the opposite. They will tell you their predictions. They will help you make an informed choice. Maybe they will push you into the darkness.
I know that the picture is far from rosy. It just seems that everyone is trying to outdo each other with their Cassandra calls. Are there going to be people dying in the streets? Will they be expiring from hunger or loss of blood? Will China or India overtake the United States and become the next superpower? Will Bin Laden proclaim his victory over the West? Will your ancestors rise out of their mouldering graves and remind you that they told you so? Will your children stare at you in mute accusation? Do they know that their destiny is one of panhandling and indentured servitude? What compromises will you have to make to feed your family, or pay your mortgage? Will you have to serve fries at McDonald's?
There's just not that much useful information available. Do you have any relatives that are old enough to remember what it was like to live during the Great Depression of the 30's? Don't you wish that you had taken the opportunity to have that little chat? Were you too busy laughing at their strange little habits? Was it the way they ate leftovers? Was it the fact that they never threw anything away? Who would live like that in a time of abundance? Maybe (in high school) you heard about what they had lived through, but it never seemed quite real enough for you, did it? What did it have to do with your life, and your grand prosperous future, and your free markets of infinite growth?
Perhaps it's time to turn off the television, and start thinking about how your life may change. It just may be a time for reassessment. What is it in your life that you cannot lose? I'm already starting to think about ways to ensure my (and my family's) well-being. And I've come to the conclusion that the corporate media isn't helping very much. It's alarmist, which probably reflects the reality of the situation, but they aren't offering much useful information. I've talked to my friends about the things they know well. I've looked at my lifestyle and thought about the things that would be possible to give up. The funny thing is that a lot of what I have cannot be depreciated along with the value of currency. I'm finding it enlightening to gain that perspective.