How long has the latest financial crisis been going on? Five years or so? What are we calling it now? A recession or a depression or what? I’m not sure anymore. Some politicians and economists keep claiming things are getting better. But I’m still not seeing it.
When I took a walk Tuesday morning, I went a slightly different route that took me in front of a house that I typically only see from the side. The house has been vacant for a couple of weeks. I know why now.
I didn’t really know the people who lived there very well. I just knew them well enough to wave and speak as I walked by if they happened to be outside. They seemed like nice folks, but I never talked to either of them for more than five minutes or so.
When I walked in front of the house Tuesday morning, I noticed several pages of paper on the door and I suddenly knew why they had moved suddenly. My neighbors had been evicted for defaulting on their mortgage.
I know people have always fallen behind on house payments and lost their homes. That’s not new in the last five years. But there’s something different about what it’s felt like, at least to me.
Maybe it’s the fact that this economic downturn has affected me more than any other before. Maybe I’m simply more compassionate about the effects it’s having on others. I’m not sure what it is. I just know that I’ve seen the human effects of this crisis more than any other I’ve seen in my life.
My understanding of economics leads me to believe that the problem we have was caused by government actions that have piled up over decades — a fiat money system combined with massive overspending and borrowing, among other things. But regardless of what you blame the continuing crisis on, doesn’t this make you feel that at least something is wrong in the basic foundations of how politicians have set up and manipulated the system?
For many years — certainly since the Federal Reserve was put in charge of U.S. money in 1913 — Americans have increasingly put their trust into unaccountable bureaucrats and politicians who are only nominally accountable. Most people have looked at the economy as a big black box. They didn’t have to understand it. There were “experts” to do that.
Well, the experts haven’t known what they were doing. I still don’t think they know what they’re doing. They’re like blundering doctors who created a problem, but expect the badly ill patient to trust them unquestioningly to fix the problem — without admitting to having caused the problem, of course.
Unfortunately, the problems are too big at this point for easy fixes. I don’t even know whether difficult fixes could change things for the long term, but I’m certain that there’s not the political will to be responsible. There’s a part of me that’s angry about that, but there’s another part of me that simply accepts what I can’t change.
I wish I could change things in the big picture. I’d like to be able to wave a magic wand and return us to days when business was booming and opportunities were more plentiful. But I can’t, of course, and since I can’t — and nobody else can, either — I’m concerned about the possibility of things getting much worse.
I’m concerned about more people like my neighbors losing houses. I’m concerned that more companies are going to be forced to close and throw more people out of work. I concerned that the new health insurance law is going to slam households across the country far worse than almost anyone realizes.
Maybe there will be a reprieve. Maybe things will get better before it gets worse. I honestly don’t know. I just know that the entire economic house of card has to collapse eventually — and I know that millions upon millions are going to face personal pain and heartbreak on a scale this country has never seen before.