Another Economy Headline, UGH!

Heather Murphy-Raines
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Heather Murphy-Raines/Scout's Honor
Ugh.

I look over today's headlines and all I see is bad news and more bad news.

Depressing.

I get depressed and I get angry that what I see is wasteful spending and big government of the Obama administration.

I know others feel the same of the Bush administration's deregulation and costly wars.

In the end, though, does it matter? Does it help us get out of this mess we are in? I can't help but think we are pointing fingers at the wrong source.

A recent CNN poll says Americans now feel the GOP can handle the economy better than the Democrats. Okay, as a fiscal conservative, a small part of me feels smug.

Yet? That feeling doesn't last. It doesn't linger. It's hollow. It's not constructive. What does linger is that the only people who can handle the economy are you and me.

Bear with me here, but I really think we all as Americans got a bit big for our britches. We spent more than we could afford. We paid on credit. We were an economy of now. 

It was definitely a culture of keeping up with the Jones.

Now, the Jones are broke, unemployed, the economy is in ruins, and that crap flat screen we bought is now costing us double on our credit card.

Even so, we still want more. Just yesterday, with our broken credit and limping banks and many who would be grateful for a job -- any job -- one Time magazine headline screamed about a new Princeton study that found that money could buy our happiness. Yes, the un-cliche otherwise known as Americans have reached a new low of shallowness. Yep, it seems $75,000 is the hit mark to buy our happiness.

Yep, are you feeling the depression with which I started this post? Well, stop it. Snap out of it. I kept looking at those headlines and found some more that were promising.

I found some great examples of what might get us out of this mess starting first with young Japanese workers.

Out of college, gone is the traditional system of being hired immediately and working for a company for their entire lives. Instead, they have adapted. They get a job, and another, and even another whether they need it or not.

Believe me, I've been there in college. It may not be perfect, but it's doable.

No credit cards, they get an extra job if they need more money. They also have these extra jobs as a back-up plan in case they end up losing their main job. Yep, it's called hard work and hedging one's bets.

Forget unemployment, plan on losing your job, have a back-up plan, and keep working. Novel idea.

Secondly? Never stop.

As in still working into your 90s. Take an example from a 90-year-old letter carrier. Besides some substantial studies that say the elderly are more productive and worthwhile, they also are healthier in some cases.

Call me naive, but in the end, I've got to think looking yourself in the mirror with a sweaty brow after a long day of work has to be more satisfying than ranting at current and previous presidents for our own dumb luck and poorly thought out future economic prospects.

In the end, it always comes back to yes, it's the economy, stupid. Not Obama. Not Bush. Us.

I mean we all knew the housing bubbles, huge credit card debt, and booming economy couldn't last forever, didn't we?


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