Thursday, December 4, 2008

Where She'll End, Nobody Knows

Man, the U.S. economy is in the proverbial toilet! It seems like everyday you hear about a new data release, and it’s almost never positive; unemployment claims are up, retail spending is declining, foreclosures are on the rise at unprecedented levels, and consumer confidence is at its lowest level on record. On the upside, the dollar is strengthening against other foreign currencies. Better put is that the dollar is not weakening as quickly as other currencies, thus creating the appearance of appreciating. Oh, and did we mention that the increase in the value of the dollar will have an adverse effect on commodity prices and the level of exports? Well it will. Every cloud has a silver lining, right? Or perhaps every silver cloud is followed by a bolt of lightning. And what do we do when the clouds come, go golfing.

The economic environment is truly amazing. Really! I was a student of economics back in another time, and the classroom discussions were always philosophical. Times were good; individual net worth was up, unemployment was optimal, and everyone was spending. I sometimes envy the economic and business students of today. I am sure that their discussions on various economic theories and principals are highly attended. It is an exciting time to be alive and a part of society. The next several years will shape our country’s future for some time. It is in hard economic times that people either make real changes or simply temporary accommodations to their situation. I am hoping for the former. We have a new incoming president with fresh ideas and a same party Congress. People are ready for something not the same. Be aware, be a part, and lets move toward real change that will last.


Wade said...

I too hope the economy will change. I will take it a step further and say that I hope the economy will change for the better. We do have an incoming president with fresh ideas, but has anyone stopped to ask whether the fresh ideas were good ideas? We do have a same party congress, but a same party congress making bad changes is more dangerous than a mixed congress. People being ready for change doesn't make it so.

What scares me is that people are looking to one man to fix their problems. Does the President of the United States really have the power to fix all your problems? Even if he/she did have that power, should he/she? I am bothered by the idea that people don't put the time in to understand the issues. There seems to be a mindset in both parties that all you have to do is pick the right guy and life will be good. The reality is that this is the change we actually need to help this country. People actually need to study the issues; they need to try to solve their own problems. They need to participate in local, state, and national politics. If we are to see good change, then we all need to participate to make that happen.

With the economy, what change is really necessary? Would we be where we are today if people were responsible with their income, if people purchased homes they could afford? Would we be here if people had emergency funds and saving accounts? Would we be here if people actually paid off their mortgages? Would we be here if people tried to improve their lives themselves instead of relying on others to solve their problems? Perhaps the best person to fix your financial problems is yourself. The change we need is for people to be accountable for their actions. We need businesses to own up for their mistakes, not bailouts.

I agree that change is needed. The previous administration spent way too much money on war; they taxed the people too much. They spent too much money on programs that could be run better at state or local levels. They promised to cut spending but increased it dramatically. They tried initiatives to help the environment, but they may have done more harm than good (E85, need I say more). They continued food subsidies and all we got were higher food prices. They tried to regulate the mortgage industry to make it so everyone can get loans. Look what that did. Oops.

I too hope the changes the new president makes will help the economy, but I have concerns. I hope raising taxes to socialize health care does not lead to mediocre health care for all. I hope that a new carbon tax does not push businesses out of our country, leading them to countries that don't have technology to minimize pollution. I hope that our new president doesn't own up to his campaign promise to bankrupt the coal industry as this would devastate the economy worse than oil prices did. I hope that new high corporate taxes don't push jobs out of our country. President Obama has promised us change. He never promised it would be good change.

How should we measure a successful economy? Everyone has a job, a car loan, a house, and an exploding 401K? How about measuring things like the number of people who didn't need government assistance for food, or the number of people who didn't need the government's help for housing or healthcare. People on government assistance don't have much freedom when it comes to where to live, or what to eat, or what treatments they receive, or what doctors they see. Are people on government programs really free? Are they treated equal to everyone else? I hope we can improve the economy to the point where all can be free.

I no longer look for my president to fix our problems. I plan to take part in change, the kind of change where we as Americans stop expecting others to solve our problems. Change where we participate in our schools and local governments. I plan to live my life in a way that the government won’t need to help me or my family. I plan to help run my local government in a way that it won’t need the state government. I plan to help my state government run in a way that it won’t need help of the federal government. I plan to help my business succeed without government bail outs. I plan to help them be successful whether the economy is in boom time or bust. I realize that it is not a change in president we need, but rather the change that is needed is me. Please join me.

Steven said...

Worthy points. Thanks for the comments.