Banman – Unchartered territory is the destination of our next steps
I have a bold prediction for the upcoming year. I don’t claim to be a prophet and I most certainly am not a soothsayer. I just believe that this will be the year that we will start to see the true fallout from the economic pratfall that started late in 2007. That fallout, in my opinion, won’t be all bad. In fact, there could be some positive things that come out of this “adjustment” or “correction” period.
I don’t discount the fact that some people will be going through some very tough times. Unemployment is high and benefits can’t continue into perpetuity. Many people are hanging on to their homes with what seems to be a thread (and that thread is frayed). It used to be that many people worked two or three jobs to gain a foothold on some “extras” in life. Now, folks are seeking more employment opportunities just to keep the creditors at bay.
The effect of the economic slowdown has put state budgets in peril. Communities will feel that most acutely in the form of reduced funding for education. The quality of roads and the way the state prison system is operated will likely also be affected. In addition, jobs are at risk and some services will likely be reduced.
I still have faith in the indomitable nature of the human spirit, even though we have had our wings clipped. The dreams many of us had for things like college-education for our children, early retirement, improvements to our homes, vacations to far away places, summer homes, charitable donations, better toys, gifts to the kids have had to be modified, altered or shelved. That doesn’t mean, however, that we have to allow that to define our quality of life.
I recently heard that, nationwide, savings have increased over the past couple of years.
In addition, most families I talk to have cut back, slimmed down and “made do” with what they have. That has had its benefits. On a personal note, I have enjoyed accomplishing household tasks and repair projects with the following caveat – I can’t buy anything new. I have to be creative with what I have on hand. I have even employed the barter method and traded for what I needed. The old “cup of sugar for an electrical switch box” method can be very effective and it puts you in touch with your neighbors. I have been amazed at the resources I have in my garage and the resourcefulness that was lying untapped between my ears.
On the ideological playing field, recent election results and appointments on the national level are, I believe, a signal that people are wary of the approach of allowing the government to step in and do what we the people should be able to accomplish by working together at the grass roots level.
Personally, I believe we need a reduction in government regulations at all levels. People have chafed long enough under the yoke of unfunded mandates. The pendulum must swing back and return our society to common sense. We the people must take the initiative to make sure that common decency prevails and the right things are done voluntarily and not under the threat of reduced funding.
The next few years are going to be fascinating times. Times of adversity always bring moments of decision. Things don’t change until it is more comfortable to change than it is to let things remain the same. Most of us have experienced discomfort with the status quo.
There exists a diversity of opinion about which way we need to go at this threshold in our country’s history. The direction we go is yet to be determined. It promises to be an exciting ride.
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