There are a number of issues that set this recession apart from anything we’ve experienced and being 67 years old, an eternal optimist and fervent believer in the U.S., I believe we will find our way out. From what I’ve read about the Great Depression, it was very much a shared pain event.
The folks at the bottom were in soup lines and the guys at the top were jumping from windows. Fortunes and lives were lost. We dug our way out and in no small part, by massive government spending on infrastructure and a growing manufacturing base that fed/clothed and entertained the beginnings of the middle class.
In today’s environment we have an aging middle-class, dependent on social programs/decent wages and a shrinking jobs market fueled by the out-sourcing of jobs. All this in a global market that keeps the money at the top moving even while the Great Middle class becomes less able to purchase. The soup lines are growing but the folks at the top aren’t jumping from windows and it’s neither of these groups feeling the greatest pain. It’s the folks in the middle being squeezed and on whom we need to focus our attention, unless we want to become a two class society where only the elite can afford education, medicine, etc. We elect folks who are able to write the laws so senators/congressmen don’t feel the pain much either, sweet retirements and great medical plans. I’m beginning to wonder if they have our best interest at heart? Shared pain? Lets hope they figure it out, sooner rather than later.