Thursday, 16 October 2008
It's the Stupid Economy
[EDITORIAL NOTE: If you have written any blog posts on political issues this week, be sure to get links to me by Friday for the Sunday Election Issues post. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, see this post.]
If I have anything useful to say about last night's final debate, I'll post it tomorrow. Meanwhile, George Phenix, who blogs at Blog of Ages, posted a story a couple of days ago that I think captures what’s really going on around the U.S. and probably in Europe, Japan, Australia and other regions too. As he said in an email about his post:
“I am fiercely partisan for Obama/Biden. But this conversation was different. I could almost hear the same talk coming from kitchens and bars across the country. Too big for politics.”
Before I go any further, here is Geoge’s post about that talk:
This is the new national conversation.
Last week we met some friends for burgers. We looked forward to the low-key evening. How are your kids doing? Grandchildren? Any trips planned? Do you think you’ll go back to work? Should Brad Childress get fired? How about those ‘Horns.
Often (at our age), the big question is how’s your health? Not this time. Almost immediately, the conversation jumped into the economy.
Bam. One son has not been able to find steady work for a year, is divorced, and living in his parent’s home.
Bam. Another adult child is having a difficult time getting pre-approved for a home loan.
Bam. The ten-year-old van needs replaced but it is worth very little as a trade-in and credit is very expensive - if you can find anybody who has money to lend.
Bam. One guy wants to sell his business but the economic slowdown has caused the value of the business to drop to near nothing.
Bam. A friend has seen her retirement savings shrink by 40 percent in a matter of days. The funds took a life-time to build.
This is personal.
Not once did anyone mention the presidential election, nor either candidate, nor either political party. Not once.
Our problems are real. Our problems are bigger than politics.
I wish our politicians were.
Like one of George's friends, my retirement savings, meant to pay for my care if I become disabled or otherwise incapable of caring for myself, is down by 30 percent, mostly due to a Lehman Brothers bond (don't get me started on how pissed off I am that the government bailed out other investment firms, but not Lehman). I cannot imagine how I will ever make up that 30 percent difference, no what it will mean should I ever need that money.
What about you. How hard and in what ways have you been hit by the economic crisis? Please feel free to post comments anonymously today if you would rather not reveal personal details with your name.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Brenton "Sandy" Dickson at last uncovers the significance of his enjoyment of Solo Hikes.]