Thursday, November 20, 2008


I am a baby boomer. My parents weren't rich, nor am I. But like most in my generation and those that have followed, we've lived comfortably. We've never wanted for much. We've certainly never experienced an economy such as now exists. It's hard for us to get our arms around it. It's even harder to think that it could get worse. But the experts say it could. They say to be prepared for real pain.

Real pain already is being experienced in this country by countless laid off workers. It's being felt by retailers and restaurateurs and automobile dealers and contractors. And the experts say it could get worse.

If they're right, I fear many Americans aren't ready for it. We've been pampered. Soup lines were the stuff of 80-year-old newsreel footage. That hasn't been our America. But experts say there could be a 21st century equivalent.

How else can it be described other than as a state of denial when state legislators sit on their hands in the face of a massive budget deficit, in large part because special interest constituents will be out for blood if they impose cuts? How else can it be described other than as a state of denial when these same special interests don't reconcile themselves to the pain that a serious recession (or worse) is going to bring?

Maybe economic trends will turn around. Maybe the Obama administration will inject a new competetence and renewed optimism to Washington and the country. Maybe.

If not, there will be pain. Real pain. Those of us who've never experienced it in our lifetimes better be prepared.
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