There’s nothing more on the minds of Americans than the economy – - actually – - their own state of financial well-being.
Those without jobs are looking for work and many have just given up. Those with jobs are just hoping to keep them. And, even if they have a job, they’re worried about the increasing cost of health care and of their own basic needs for food and gas.
Since this Great Recession started in 2008, many Americans have seen their standard of living decline. What was once a bright future is now a dismal past. Where once the air was filled with optimism it’s now covered by the gloom of pessimism.
I didn’t live through the Great Depression of the 1930′s. There aren’t many Americans still living who have. But, I can imagine the pain they felt and the worry that things might not get better.
We have to remember that there was no government support. There was no Social Security, there was no food stamps, there was no unemployment insurance, there was no welfare.
And, as the Depression lingered on, year after dreary year, we have to ask ourselves – - how did they do it? What inner strength did they have? What was it that kept them looking forward towards a better future.
The answer of course was hope and expectation. They just knew that things would get better.
They knew that America was the land of opportunity. It didn’t make any difference what you had or didn’t have. In this country, those that worked hard would succeed.
And, that, I think is what we’ve lost. We went through a decade recently where everything came easy. Big government and big business gave it to us.
A new house or a new car – - cheap credit. $200 jeans and $300 shoes – - cheap credit. The latest technology – - cheap credit. All of it underwritten by the government.
And now that we’ve come down from that artificially induced high, we’ve lost our hope and optimism.
Politicians can talk about jobs and a better future, but in the end, it all rests on our shoulders.
We have to take responsibility for our own future.