Today we woke up to learn that the U.S. government, in what is being called the largest bank failure in US history, seized Washington Mutual, a bank over a century old. This comes days after other indications of an imploding economy became 24-hour news topics. The list of jobs lost in the financial sector continues to rise, adding to the rising unemployment rate across the country. We face an election year with a nation more divided than ever, and of course there is always the awareness that our country is facing its fifth year at war in two countries.
With families continuing to struggle to make ends meet, finding peace can be a seemingly impossible feat. The need to buy, buy, buy has been ingrained into the American people. George Bush, in the horrific aftermath of the 9-11 bombings, encouraged people to continue to go shopping, saying that this act would bring an economy shattered by the attacks back to full speed within a few years.
Armed with this directive, Americans did indeed go shopping. Unfortunately, most incomes did not keep up with the price tags. Whether electronics, vacations, cars, or even houses (and we should not forget the burgeoning healthcare costs being passed on to the people), many Americans have spent beyond their means. And the time has come to pay the piper.
But right now, the middle and lower classes are the only ones paying.
Many hard-working people now find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis. They are supposed to earn enough to provide everything for their families, including home with bedrooms for each child, multiple computers, cell phones for everyone in the family, incredible vacation trips and of course full college educations for all their children.
Yet now these people are – at the very least – watching their carefully-built investment portfolios crumble (along with the college savings plans they had set up for each child), or – at the very worst – actually losing their jobs and facing serious difficulties keeping a roof over their families’ heads.
They have worked all their life and have achieved what they were told was the ultimate American dream – only to have it yanked out from under them faster than the plunging stock indexes after the collapse of Fannie and Freddie.
This cannot continue if we do not want the very spine of our country to break.
Please vote Obama/Biden '08.