We’d just climbed into the truck for the six-hour post holiday trip home when I launched into my chosen discussion topic: our nation’s economic woes. My son, having listened to me ALL the way over to grandma’s house, asked politely, “Do you ever talk about anything else?”
Okay. True enough. I was trying to invite a dialogue of ideas with my college-aged son. But one round was enough for him. He opted for ear buds and his extensive music library.
I confess I’m an economics junky. I read the reports and ponder the dire scenarios.
It’s times like these that help me recall my grandparent’s conversations about the Great Depression. I also lived through the failure of our first business venture in the midst the 1980’s economic fallout. We’d started a strawberry farm—and grew huge, delicious strawberries. We’d probably still be there had we not gone into debt for land at 12% interest along with a tractor loan at 18% interest. It took less than four years to realize we’d never make enough money to get ahead.
I think we’re at the same place in our nation as we were on that farm in 1984. I sense there’s no way to pay off the national debt. Knowing what happened to us personally when we realized things weren’t working gives me a sense of doom. I remember being broke. We failed, so we sold what we could and found something else to do.
Here’s the struggle: what’s our nation going to do? What can we sell to pay China back? Words like “too big to fail” don’t mean much to me. It’s kind of like trying to understand what 16 trillion dollars really means. Those are doomsday numbers. When politicians say it's “unsustainable” it's true.
I’m really concerned. That’s why I read so much and talk about it incessantly. American Dream? Millions of us work hard, budget our money and pay our bills on time. We trust in what we’ve always known. Yet we’re seeing more hardships around us. I sense it’s going to get worse. I still want to believe in who we are and who we once were. I was given a chance and I’d like to give our kids their chance at this amazing gift that’s called America.
My plan? Prepare for harder times, and be part of the solution. Like Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”