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Depression in U.S. is Looming: What are People Going to Do?Tim King Salem-News.com
What would John Steinbeck think?
(SALEM, Ore.) - It seems fair to state that even years into the war in Iraq, most of us figured we would get through this difficult national period. It wasn't the case for those who lost loved ones in the fighting overseas, but it still looked like the majority of American families might be able at least eventually, see the dawning of a new, better, and more peaceful era.
But now the ground is shaking beneath our very feet, and a natural disaster is not causing it, at least not all of it. A man-made disaster fueled by greed among our richest citizens has caused it, and that greed comes in the form of war, oil, oppression, and monetary insecurity.
Combine that with the way so many Americans live beyond their means through credit card debt, and you have real serious problems for millions who are used to living well, and have almost no concept yet of how bad things could be.
Just before we reached the new millennium, people were in a near panic thanks to a media-driven frenzy suggesting that things would "crash" and the Y2K movement generated millions of dollars. Why on earth is a similar thing not happening right now?
We are watching the obvious surge in oil and gasoline, and food products are rising in cost for a variety of reasons. The stock market keeps getting band aids, but eventually it may hemorrhage and things could change in a single day. Many fear that a looming crash will result in debts being called, and people will have no way to pay up because they owe far more than they have in the bank or even in home equity.
Then there is the housing crisis, where homes in many places like southern California, quickly saw their market value drop off to a fraction of what it was a few years ago.
Problems involving homeless people began to go out of control during the Ronald Reagan years. Money that had always been there to help the mentally ill evaporated and came back to Americans in other ways, resulting in the slogan "Reaganomics" and it worked well for many, and left our more vulnerable citizens in the dust. Today, people everywhere are losing their homes to the banks because they can't afford mortgage payments. Others who aren't buying their homes, are finding it increasingly more difficult to pay rent.
Big businesses in America are also failing. Daily newspapers across the land are tightening their belts and their staffs, as they watch revenue drop off year after year, with the "new media" Internet news gaining continuously. Airlines as we all know, are closing and reducing staff and service and paying tremendous costs for fuel.
Some Americans have their thinking caps on and are already considering ways to help others through this hard time. Our staff here at Salem-News.com has been accused many times of being activists before reporters, and there may have never been a better time for us to do just that. We want to know what people are thinking.
These are just a few pressing questions that need to be asked. Some of our more self absorbed citizens might take it as a joke and that is fine if they do, I will still feel pity for them if the time comes that I should. People should not always be accountable for refusing to believe seriously unpleasant possibilities, but may be wise to consider, really consider what is going on in this country.
The Great Depression occurred at a time when people were far more ignorant. They did not have the Internet, they barely had radios. The entertainment they sought was simple and often self generated. There are plenty alive who can fill in the details, but life was simpler then and people seemed to be happy with less. At that time, many Americans opened their doors to the hungry poor, and others like California state officials, treated the migrating "Okies" fleeing the Dust Bowl like second class citizens, as depicted in Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."
Will people be decent? Will they come forward and work together? Places like Las Vegas, Nevada, a virtual island in the desert, could be cut off from the world very quickly, with a long highway being the only way out, and few opportunities for farming and organic living. There really is only so much food and it is dependent upon a successful mass transportation system. The possibility exists that we may have taken a great deal for granted in recent years when it comes to security.
If you have ideas that you want to share with others, then please write below in our comment section. If you have ideas that could lead to the establishment of places for the growing number of homeless people in the United States, then feel free to write to me privately at the email address listed below.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Today, in addition to his role as a war correspondent in Afghanistan where he spent the winter of 2006/07, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators. Tim's coverage from Iraq that was set to begin in April has been delayed and may not take place until August, 2008. You can send Tim an email at this address: email@example.com
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