I read this piece in Newsweek today:
It was titled "The Biggest Thing to Fear Is Fear, American consumers are in better shape than you think.
I have been thinking along these lines for quite some time. It is OUR turn to decide what the economy does. Not Wall Street. Not the big banks. Not the Government. Those are the facts.
The only reason we don't believe that is that we've been beaten down and convinced for so long that someone else is in charge. Someone else HAS to be in charge, or else it just won't be right.
No one is in charge. YOU are in charge of your own life. Isn't that what living in a FREE country is all about? It should be. Are you really free?
I posted in December 20, 2008:
"When the economy does recover (and it WILL recover eventually in some form - but maybe not with huge annual growth from here on out), what will we have learned? Anything? At the end of it all, will the banker still have the power, or will ordinary Americans have taken back the power?
Let's hope it's ordinary Americans."
I posted on January 10, 2009:
"I said in my last blog, when talking about Peter Maurin, that it was time for us to take back the economy. WE decide whether we get to have hope. WE decide whether we get to spend money again. WE get to decide whether people are hired or not. Not exclusively the government, not the media."
Now, today, look at the quote from this piece:
"Looking to Wall Street to lead the recovery is ludicrous; its confidence is shattered and its balance sheets are in turmoil. Even looking to Wall Street to identify the recovery is asking too much; its analysts are hysterical and they are legitimately fearful for their future employment. That means this time markets may lag behind the recovery. Instead, real economic activity, and the steady, gradual spending recovery of Main Street will lead the way."
Wall Street is not going to go quietly of course. For a long time, they've been able to dictate the specifics of the economy. They have been in charge. They believe they still are. I do not believe this. A lot of the time now, to me, they are acting like a spoiled, whiny child, not getting his way in the toy aisle of the Target Store. Look at MEEEEEEE!!!!! Pay attention to MEEEEEEEE!!!!!!
I have this delicious fantasy. My fantasy is that some brave Americans are taking counsel of their fears and are out there deciding to buy things. Hire people, etc. Taking the attitude that a few of my friends have taken, that they are "not going to participate in the recession". Taking the attitude that some other people I've met have taken that they are going to live their lives with hope and not fear and anxiety.
Then, when the economic indicators hit, and they show improvement (http://mast-economy.blogspot.com/ is a great place to see some of these measurements in a somewhat systematic fashion), Economists are "puzzled" and wonder if the improvements will be sustained.
Some of that is happening now.
I'm starting to realize that one of the great blessings of my life is having two parents that were older than all of my friends parents. Both my parents lived through the depression (my Dad was born in 1919, and my Mom was born in 1925), and my Dad served in World War II.
I saw that they and their parents and siblings lived through so much. They had nothing to start with. Then, the depression and the war came and they had less than nothing. And, compared to them, we've been through really, not much of anything.
Yes, the pain is real. Yes, the loss is real. I don't mean to dismiss that or demean that. But to look at the "Greatest Generation" is to see that you CAN come out on the other side.
How will the history books judge THIS generation, when our time of testing came?