Obama psyches the Americans of grim economic times

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I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been affected by the financial crisis caused by the meltdown of business in America. The most pitiful are the people who honestly saved and invested only to find out their portfolio has failed. They don’t have the luxury of youth and time to recoup the loss.

Those who rely on fixed income may find themselves without money if retirement and pension don’t pay. The jobless and hungry are easily agitated. Economic hardship is a perfect recipe for social unrest. With the public’s high expectations on the new administration, it’s dangerous if Barack Obama fails.

Barely two weeks before Obama is to be inaugurated as president, his campaign promises don’t jibe well with the gloomy realities of the times. His dire warnings prepare the spooked public of the bumpy road ahead. Spending is needed more than what the government originally told the people.

Obama can only say in grim and gray terms on how he’ll solve the economic problem, but he doesn’t give specifics. The cost of the stimulus package he asks the congress on Thursday, January 8, 2009 hasn’t been determined, but experts say it should not be more than $1 trillion dollars. The federal budget deficit is huge and critics warn of deeper pain if the government shoulder the money woes of private entrepreneurs.

There’s no guarantee that the bail-out of the banking system, the auto manufacturers, and housing industry will work. The economy is rife with dreary predictions of worsening unemployment, bankruptcies,and unrelenting housing slump. Americans are confused and want transparency in the transactions which put their life savings and taxes in line.

At a Glance, January 8, 2009:

540,000 unemployed projected for Jan. ’09 (up from 492,000 in Dec. ’08)
4.5 million workers on unemployment aid
2.4 million jobs lost in 2008
1.2 trillion dollars Federal Budget deficit
1 trillion dollars—estimated stimulus package needed

As of January 8, 2009, the joblessness is expected to have risen from 492,000 to 540,000 based on the number of newly-laid off people seeking state unemployment aid. The approximate number of workers taking unemployment benefits is at 4.5 million, many of whom are finding hard to get jobs.

Assuming that 500,000 additional jobs have been lost last month, it is estimated that at least 2.4 million jobs disappeared in 2008. Business downsizing and closures continue. The trend will be more elucidated on Friday, January 9, 2009 when the Department of Labor releases the most current employment report. The federal budget deficit is expected to reach $1.2 trillion this year, about 3X bigger than the previous year.

Like most Americans, I want Obama to succeed. Casting away politics, I feel it’s in our interest that the economy bounces back on its track. Yet, the public is suspicious and worried; their confidence is at its deepest low. In spite of bipartisan support, many aren’t optimistic that a quick recovery will come. Obama is asking for more government infusion of money, a stage for a possible run-away spending that isn’t in his “change” and “yes, we can” campaign plan.

The uncertainty which fuels this lack of confidence is magnified by the ugly economic picture. Even if the public keeps quiet, the cultural and social environment which made the people endure and outlast the Great Depression in the 1930’s might be slipping away— at worst, it might be nonexistent. Today’s Americans belong to a different generation of innovators. Whether the values of trust, honesty, and fair play have been eroded to impair recovery, nobody seems confident to answer.

There’s real fear as there’s hope. But many are shocked that the rules of governance and citizenship are quickly being changed to suit a social agenda whose end they don’t know. They aren’t used to live in poverty or be dictated upon on how they will use their money. Even if they pride themselves of resiliency, industry, and independence, the overall picture isn’t good. (Photo Credit: bscott2007)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Dr. Doom’s economic crystal ball & the need to say the truth”
Posted by mesiamd at 10/30/2008

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