Saturday, February 7, 2009


As the world economies continue to slide, many prudent Americans seek ways to cut back and save money wherever they possibly can. This new found "American austerity" has resulted in many new phenomenons, such as a dramatic increase in stay home family nights, staying local vacations, home laundry vs. dry cleaning, cooking in as opposed to eating out, even a resurgence in board games and a meteoric rise in public library patronage.
And while this is understandable and wise, our "knee jerk" reactions to the press coverage of the gloom and doom economic period, especially by those lucky enough to continue to remain gainfully employed, continue to slow the economy, and feed the current economic down slide. Of course this is nothing new in the American culture, the medias ability to create changes in behavior and "wag the dog" conditions through their writings. My personal financial condition (at least my personal income) has remained unchanged through these hard times, but as I monitor the current economic condition, I continue to make cuts and sharply reduce spending as a result.
And in doing so, I feed the down slide and help to put my fellow mans employment in jeopardy.
While I do feel a slight twinge of guilt for my actions, whether beneficial to the overall economy or not, I have yet to feel any overwhelming sense of an economic upturn, or any positive signs of the governments ability to stimulate the economy, or create jobs. And until I can regain some fiscal confidence, some semblance of optimism, I will continue to make the cuts I feel are wise.
I am sure I am not alone. So, I ask you, how are you coping with this economic downturn? Has it made you more austere in your expenditures? Has it allowed you to turn inward and reevaluate what you consider important in your life? I realize no one is suddenly churning butter, or keeping goats in their back yards, but I am confident you have made adjustments in your lives. Click on the word "comment" below, and lets start a dialogue on how this economy has changed your habits, and your perspectives.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is an excessive amount of pessimism about the economy and the job loss. Without a doubt the economy is in a very tenuous position but isn't now the time to believe in our inherent ability to overcome, survive, and thrive?

Instead of wasting too much time figuring out where blame lies (analysis of past mistakes is necessary to a degree) lets spend time developing solutions for ourselves and perhaps more help the people around us.

Now is a time to tighten our belts and push forward believing in our inherent ability to succeed.

Kim said...

Thanks for your comment. I do agree, however I am prone to believe that the general concensus is that we do not have an inherent ability to rise up from the ashes (so to speak) and become the superpower we once were.

The past eight years have so destroyed this countries confidence that we are doubting if we, in fact have any "inherent abilities" at all.

(inherent ability: a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute)

So, obviously, I do agree with you that there is an excessive amount of pessimism, which I do not necessarily subscribe to, but do understand.

We are averaging 500,000+ job losses over the last two months. And with that, there are a million families wondering if they will soon be homeless.

Jennifer said...

Certainly the degree of one's pessimism is directly related to the likelihood of losing one's job. There is a strong possibility that my husband will be laid off within the next few weeks, and what makes this particularly distressing is the fact that the enterprise for which he works is actually doing quite well. I think that, in some cases, employers may be using the current crisis as an excuse to further agendas unrelated to any need to economize. If true, it sure does add insult to injury.

So, have we become more austere? Fortunately for us, we both come from cultures that already are, by definition, fairly austere. I'm one of those "practical New Englanders," and my husband spent most of his life making do with his Cuban ration card. Which begs the question, is our ability to "overcome, survive, and thrive" truly inherent, or is it learned? The point is, though, that it's not going to kill us to keep our 13-year-old car a bit longer, and in spite of a recent kitchen accident that left burn marks all over our countertop, we've decided not to replace it any time soon. On the other hand, as long as we're still both working, we eat out at least once a week, we still take the toll roads, we're making tentative vacation plans, and we count our blessings on a regular basis. My main concern if he loses his job is what we will do about his health insurance. But the health care situation in this country is a whole other discussion!