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Following the national news on television on Wednesday evening, I sat a few silent minutes with the sound muted and pondered the enormity of the numbers being thrown around by politicians and television commentators in regard to the efforts being recommended to save our nation’s failing economy. I don’t mind admitting that I feel intimidated and fearful that it’s too much and won’t work anyway.
Being positive about the possible solutions to our economic dilemma is, in my opinion, the order of the day for all Americans. None of the solutions, many or most of which we are not yet aware, will work unless we all pull together and make them work with our wits and our “can-do” attitudes.
Having said all that, I still have that helpless feeling that we are headed in the direction of repeating all the bad parts of the New Deal and few of the good parts. This is mainly because our leaders seem to be concentrating on only how financial and big business sectors of our economy have been affected and little or no attention or suggested solutions related to the general American population and small-businesses.
I heard a prediction that in 2009 the unemployment rate would probably reach 10 percent nationwide. That would mean it will probably be over 20 percent because I think we understate unemployment realities by that much, even today. While such figures are alarming, they are much more than just figures, they represent perhaps you and I or our neighbors. And, none of us are bankers, big business CEOs or tycoons who make their livings manipulating the stock markets.
Those of us who have dreamed with great pleasure about retirement some day are finding ourselves in 401K hell, with no bailout on the horizon. Baby boomers will find that they will need to work until the drop and financially start all over again. A life’s savings lost as someone, somewhere has gotten very, very wealthy. My fear is that we are planning to bailout these same people who already have all of our money anyway.
The young Americans who are just starting out, who will find themselves unemployed and without hope, have less of a chance to come out of this economic disaster unscathed and no one seems to be worried about them at all. How quickly we have forgotten all of the emotional references to the youth of our country as the hope of our future.
As I allowed myself to wallow a bit in this whirlwind of discouraging prospects, it occurred to me that many of our young people might well survive this problem were they to join the military or be brought into the military as part of a full-employment plan for at least a couple of years. In the military, they could learn a trade, qualify for college money, but most of all, be housed, fed and gainfully employed while we work out the mess we have made of the country they are to inherit.
After a few moments of these kinds of thoughts, I rallied my positive side and realized the spirit of the American people under difficult times is stronger than anything that can be thrown at us. The only problem with that is that our leaders take the American spirit and ability to cope for granted and focus all their attention toward financially saving the very folks who lost our money, ruined our economy and don’t deserve the help in the first place.
My hope is that the final bailout decisions are not made based on which business enterprises gave or will give the largest campaign contributions. We’ll see.