Sometimes the best present anyone can receive is a good wakeup call. Earlier this month a “Rant” about the declining wealth of the average American caused a stir among readers. Some contended I had misread the information, others claimed I had overstated the poorness of the country and others thought I was just loony. To one and all, thanks for the replies.
The opinion piece was intended to demonstrate we need to let this recession run its course–without government interference–to get to rock-bottom. Then people would be needy enough to actually be creative in ways to earn a living without government assistance.
The short-term “depression” of 1920 is a prime example. While the current sluggish economy has been here for more than four years now, the 1920 downturn was over less than 18 months after it started. The main reason is government stayed away from any “entitlement” programs. The prices on everything went down as much as 18%, the stock market lost about half its value and unemployment nearly doubled, all within that single year. Spending, across the board, went down, including government spending!!!
It made immediate matters worse but it worked. That’s the key point our government is missing today. The urge to “do something” was as urgent as it is now but the call for more spending was resisted. When WWI finally ended (1923 in the Middle East) the stage was set for a world-wide recession but in the U.S. the hands-off approach kept the little beast away for almost another decade.
Nobody in Washington has given us this chance now. We are hindered by inflation while wages remain flat and savings are depleted. But government hasn’t slowed down its spending this time. The politicians are ratcheting the printing press into high gear; forgetting that economic cycles are there for a reason.
Downturns clean up mistakes, both private and public. Downturns burn off bad debt. But it also provides a healthy layer of innovative thinking for new businesses to start and leads to more hiring.
So while today’s government cheerleaders lovingly caress the doctored unemployment numbers what is not taken into account is business hiring is not picking up because of the uncertainty in Europe, in Washington and about the economy as a whole.
Despite incentives from the government, employers are no longer taking the risk because they’ve learned this government wants to take the new wealth away from them faster than they can gain it. The effort to make that wealth isn’t worth the effort when there is no reward.
For those that responded to this hole in the previous essay, I applaud you. I wasn’t clear enough. But on one point I remain adamant. The numbers continue to tell me America is in decline, if not on the verge of outright economic collapse.
In truth I am an optimist. I believe this country is heading into a severe economic crisis. That is the wakeup call I referred to in the opening and it could be the greatest gift this country could possibly receive. It will force Americans to make correct choices. It will remove most of the hindering political correctness models holding us back right now and thus put us back on sound economic footing.
It won’t be easy but we have reached the point where we need the back of the hand across our mouths to wake us up. Our leadership–in politics, in business and in culture–have made a series of catastrophic choices that have lowered the standards in everything; and still we can’t meet these lower standards. This has led to our current economic straits.
The main solution is to remove the drool from the younger generations and change the mindset of “Getting Mine”. Any time you ”Get Yours” someone has to give up what they’ve earned. But our government has built itself on lies for so long it has started lying to itself to perpetrate the system it engendered with a wasteland of regulation.
So if lying and by default, cheating, have become an accepted form of life in America, this is where the wakeup call needs to come from by taking that away from the “leaders” of the country. Don’t sit still for the deceit. Hold them accountable for their words and actions, exactly as they are doing to those that oppose them.
It isn’t easy to contemplate. But for now, take time to enjoy the break. The wakeup call is coming sooner than is suspected.
“Michael McCune spent 16 years as a government tax auditor and then operated a consulting/accounting business for 14 years. For 11 years he wrote a biweekly opinion column for the local paper (1981-1992).”