A Grace Forged
Why are so many Americans rushing around these days from their one day-job to a second night/weekend job when the country is in recovery? After all, Newsweek’s front cover this week says “America is Back.”
Others report the good news that our current unemployment rate, though historically high, is keeping pace with the most respected European and Asian economies. Reports out of Washington this week herald even more indicators of economic recovery with manufacturing increases, retailer increases in inventories, car sales up, and Wall Street celebrating a return to their quarterly multi-billion dollar earnings.
The ruling class tells us good news and encourages us to keep faith. That is fine. I appreciate the encouragement. But I’m also feeling manipulated. Because these are not just numbers we are talking about. These are people’s lives. And the conspicuous insensitivity to the broader picture is one place where the manipulation of lives resides. For example, not reported simultaneously is that the biggest number of homes were lost to foreclosures in the first three months of this year than at any other time in the past five years.
What these reports remind me of is trickle-down economics. The recovery has reached the most privileged first. The big guys who got their bail-outs first are again growing happy and fat. They wanted to be confident in their own prosperity, so they waited to make sure it would last. I mean last for them. Now apparently they have started hiring in the manufacturing sectors. Thank goodness those workers are starting to get the trickles.
It is in poor taste to feed good news reports to us like candy to children without recognizing these beacons of recovery as just that. They are beacons in an ocean of economic pain. This recovery is like a war. There may be some victory on the battlefield but the casualties must be acknowledged. Casualties like the 9.7% of the American population who can’t find jobs or the projected 1 million homes on pace to be repossessed by the banks this year.
If you’re rich and recovered now, don’t gloat. If you’re reporting on the rich and recovered, don’t hold them up as standard-bearers. It’s in poor taste. The trickle-downs haven’t reached most of us. You’ll know when we, the people, have recovered. We’ll be the ones carrying ourselves with a grace forged having endured the brunt of this economic calamity.