Although I tend to be a worrier and have wasted immeasurable time on that particular pursuit, my current worry has morphed into concern and my concern into fright. In my 45 years on this earth, in this country, I have never seen the economy as volatile as it currently is and it is getting worse, not better. Contrary to what the owner of seven (maybe) homes says, our economy is NOT fundamentally sound but instead is at its worst since the Great Depression. We as a nation are not in a “mental depression” but do indeed have reason to whine. Wall Street and the lending industry are in chaos. After the government rescued Bear Stearns back in March, it must have enjoyed it because it then bailed out Freddie and Fannie. Lehman declared bankruptcy and Bank of America purchased what was a cornerstone of stable finance, Merrill Lynch. AIG is struggling to stay in business and is begging for loans from both public and private sources. In response to this mess, the banks that are not too bloodied to function are tightening their loan criteria beyond what it was pre-subprime mortgages. For the foreseeable future, only those with perfect or near-perfect credit will be able to acquire a loan for a home or a small business, much less items such as cars, boats, second homes, or land. What this means is our economy will continue to decline or at least stall. Because financing will be difficult to attain, the markets for things that are typically purchased this way will suffer. The already bad housing market will get worse and suffering auto makers will suffer all the more. Dealerships will go under, realtors will be out of work, and, as a result, the unemployment rate will continue to rise.
As part of a middle class already financially stressed due to high gas prices and rising grocery and retail costs, I am scared. My husband has a construction management job. What will happen to the industry and, in turn, his job? Our country lost a lot of money and a lot of jobs just today and all signs point to more of the same. Will we become a casualty of that? Our jobs? Our investments? Our house? Our farm?
Soon, we will be ending what has, by majority opinion, been one of the worst, if not the worst administrations in the history of our country. We have a chance to turn things around. Yet, both candidates are speaking in soundbites, platitudes, and generalities. They tell us what they are going to do but not how. They speak in generalities and not details. It’s time to dispose of the specious ads and stump speeches and treat the American people like we can handle more than shallow campaigning. Speak to the press and the people on a regular basis and let us get to know who you truly are instead of continuing to depend on controlled, scripted oration. Show your passion. Tell us, tell me what you’re going to do to fix this mess. Tell me you’re going to help us keep our jobs and our farm. Be smart, be sincere, and show us that you have what it takes to step into the Oval Office and be a president, a good president, a president your country will be proud of the world over. Step up.