Thursday, February 12, 2009
The other night President Obama gave his speech about how the new leadership is going to turn the recession around. What I think they have overlooked is that this recession is a consequence and a correction of our culture. We have been greedy and lived beyond our means for a long time. We should not be putting the blame on one party but all of us taking personal responsibility for our parts in this down turn. There has been an accumulation of individual, corporate and government debt. We have over inflated the value of many things and under valued others that are even more important. We have speculated on our housing and driven the prices up through bad lending practices and naiveté. Then we leveraged our homes to live higher life styles. As the housing prices corrected themselves many became upside down in their mortgages and began to loose their homes. This put pressure on the government and they became anxious. Their sense of responsibility and anxiety moved them to start rescuing many institutions and industries that need correction badly. Crisis is not always a bad thing even though there is suffering involved. It is often a time for self reflection, learning, forgiveness and change. Compassion and empathy does need to be applied especially to the poor and vulnerable of our society, who often experience the greatest burden in recessions. I do believe that God made government as his servant for the common grace of people and that government has a responsibility to be a part of a societal safety net. However, they also are to lead and serve in ways that make things better, not worse. Of course this is a complex situation and a paragraph of thought will not do justice to its complexity and the solutions needed to solve the problem. However, in relationships when a parent figure takes too much responsibility driven by fear and anxiety they often create dependency rather than empowerment. We all know that the culture has been moving towards bad financial habits for many years. The savings rate for Americans in the 1960s was between 8-10%, by the 1980’s it had dropped to 6% and by 2007 it was at 0%. In the 1960s the debt percentage of the gross domestic product was 40-50%, in the 1980s it was up to 70% and by 2007 it was at 110%. We have been warned about a coming recession because of excessive greed, living beyond our means and debt accumulation for a long time by the prophets of economics. The solutions for this problem are something we all need to take responsibility for and work together for the common good.