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  • Jerry Epperson

Economy is Improving, but News Still Upsets Us

Jerry EppersonJerry Epperson
Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. If you can, sit and put your feet up. Blot everything from your mind, then say the following to yourself over and over.... "Don't believe everything."
     America may be out of the recession but many Americans are suffering from a mental depression brought on by too much news. My wife of 41 years has stopped watching Fox News because, according to them, everything the current administration is doing is wrong, if not evil. She now gets all her news on the Food channel.
     To maintain my modest tie to sanity, I keep reminding myself that the economy and the global situation are not as bad as the person trying to be elected says, nor as good as the current elected person says. Almost every yapping head on television exaggerates their facts to make their point.
     Remember, too, that politicians have less credibility with American consumers than furniture salespersons and less than used car sales folks, too.
     I also cannot relate to some factors that are often discussed like the failing debt of Greece and Spain. What has that got to do with the price of tea in China? Or, why do I care about the price of tea in China? Where did my mother get that phrase from anyway?
     Consumer confidence just dropped to the same low levels as the spring of 2009, at the depth of the last recession. Why? It is not because circumstances are the same. We are not getting ready to bail out numerous businesses too big to fail, or to save our banking system, or even a massive failure like the Brothers Lehman. Trust me, the housing bubble has burst. All that is so 2008-2009.
     Our economy is creeping along slowly with barely perceptible gains - but they are gains. Vehicle sales are growing, home remodeling is up 20% this year and private construction projects like hospitals and apartments are doing well. All is not horrible.
     Already this year, we have had 10 disasters that cost more than $1 billion each, the most recent being Hurricane Irene. It has been 31 years since any year had that many, and we have a few months to go yet.
     The slow economic growth makes us more susceptible to any crisis that might impact us. We are vulnerable, and that adds to everyone's discomfort.
     My greatest frustration is the sense in Washington, D.C., of no goodwill, no compromise, no new ideas and no consensus on how to fix things. Maybe our government has its own version of "No, No, No."
     I think our economy and consumer spending are at a trough, and things should improve, especially if the politicians will shut up.


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