Thursday is the day we sit back and reflect on things for which we’re thankful. If we can stay awake after a large meal while a marginally entertaining football game is going on. We won’t be having that large meal until Friday, but the football is the same no matter what.
Our nation has had a difficult year, and if the report out Tuesday from the Federal Reserve has any validity, we’re in for a lengthy stretch of difficult times. The Fed predicts that unemployment may stay as high as seven to eight percent through 2012. That’s frightening news for anyone who has experienced, or is experiencing unemployment at this time. Looking for a job is an exhausting and sometimes demoralizing experience, and much of the nation will be continuing that search, perhaps for some time to come.
Last quarter, the economy grew at 2.8%, rather than the 3.5% predicted by the administration. But the predictions of a jobless, and consumerless, recovery are so far holding true, and consumer confidence is key to getting the economy moving again. When people are having difficulty just paying their basic bills, keeping the roof over their heads and putting a decent meal on the table, they may not have a lot of confidence, and they’re sure not going to spend their money on anything other than the real necessities.
Most households that are currently dealing with an unemployment issue are not going to make it to 2012.
So what is there to be thankful for this Thanksgiving? We should be thankful for the people who are willing to volunteer to place themselves in harms’ way to protect our way of life. We should never forget those in far-flung places protecting our rights and those of others.
Closer to home, there are others who have also determined that their careers should be dedicated to protecting people from the baser elements or our society, and will attempt to protect our homes and businesses when disaster strikes.
But maybe the thing for which to be most thankful is that we have the power to change it. Some have said the governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey were the beginning of that change, but there is still a long row to hoe. We still live in a system that allows us to voice our displeasure in a peaceful transfer of power brought about by the ballot box, or in our case here in Florida... the optical scanner. Those in power are still answerable to us, should we choose to exercise that right. Even if they don’t always act that way.
We can be thankful not so much for what we have, but for who we are. We are perhaps the strongest, most resilient people on the planet, not willing to wait and let the government try to stimulate us out of the recession. We’ll strike out on our own until the right opportunity comes along, and by then we might be in a position to take it or not.
The business cycle says that this recession will end like every other recession has ended. In some ways, it will be a different country and a different economy when it’s done. But in others, we will be going along like we always have. I hope that we have learned our lesson, and that we don’t bring ourselves back to a point where the government feels like they have to offer massive infusions of tax money to banks to prevent economic collapse. But this Thanksgiving, we’ll be thankful for the things that matter. Our friends and families, our country and the ability to make a difference both individually and collectively.