US Economic Woes Come Home
Surviving the Economic Crisis
The chatter grows louder and louder and someone is bringing out the champagne glasses. The word on the street is that we seem to have hit bottom and are slowly turning around. We have heard that the sale of new houses is steadily rising; some financial institutions, like Goldman Sachs, have posted unpredicted profits; some banks have repaid the TARP funds they collected; GDP is still in negative territory, but only at 1%; and the DOW went on a two week winning spree.
Unfortunately, as I write this article, Monday, August 17, 2009, the DOW closed down over 186 points and the NASDAQ is down over 50, this following a losing week. Despite this reversal of gains in the market, the economy appears to be chugging along. The unemployment rate in Georgia is over 10%, but the national figure is holding steady at about 9.4%.
Like many others, I breathe a sigh of relief whenever I hear some good news about the economy. I know some people are angry that President Obama is not fully focused on the economy and they blame him for not doing more repair the damage faster. Yes, I blame him for attempting to ram a health care bill down our throats, but I believe he needs time to do more with the economy. Seven months is not enough time to turn this economic mess around.
Yet, regardless of what is being said or what appears to be happening, many are still feeling the pinch. The US economic downturn 2009 has come home to my circle.
There is a group of four families of us that normally gets together for various reasons: dinner, fellowship, entertainment, prayer, etc. One family is headed by a single mother with two daughters, while the remaining three each has a couple at the helm. At the start of 2009, everyone but the single mother was working. The single mother in the group was hurt during her last pregnancy and is currently on disability. She depends on disability and her children's fathers for support. Eight months later, only three of six are working. Each of three families has lost an income earner. How could this happen? How could our little circle be so affected? Undoubtedly, this represents what is happening every day in America. While we ache over the loss of income in our families, we remain grateful that at least one person still has a job.
We have decided to fight this economic downturn together. We check to see how each family is faring and have encouraged each family to share any urgent needs so the others can help however possible. That is what we do - help - and that is what it will take to survive this recession.
Our families pass down clothing to each other. One family prepares a meal and invites the others over. We also do one very important thing - we encourage each other and pray with and for one another.
Like many other families, these times have been hard on the four families in our group. We have delayed paying some bills and have put off some important purchases. However, we remain hopeful that God will get us through these tough times, and we are most grateful that we have each other's prayers and encouragement.
Many times when we get together, you can tell from the pain on the faces around the room and the aching voices that the recession is making its mark. But shortly after listening to each other and reading from the Bible, or sharing an inspiring experience, expressions change and there is a lift in spirits.
Economists are quite uncertain when things will get better. At the start of the year the predictions were that by the end of 2010 economic recovery will be full swing. And then recently after signs of recovery became evident, some have said that we will be on our way to positive growth by end of 2009. What is the answer? No one seems to be certain.
Yet one thing is sure. We can make the journey easier for each other by just being there one another.
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