Friday, February 6, 2009

Consider the source.

Fasten your seatbelts, hold onto your hats, I'm about to be optimistic.

Everyday we are being besieged by stories of economic gloom and doom. Of the collapse of the world financial system. Of TEOTWAWKI (a genre so popular it has its own acronym) The End of the World as We Know It.)

I'd like to take exception. Undoubtedly the economic situation is bad. Maybe even dire. 598,000 people lost their jobs last month. These are serious issues. But consider this: the unemployment rate for those with a college education is less than 4%. And even at 7.6% unemployment, 92.4% of people have jobs. Obviously, this is no consolation to those without jobs, but hold on a second and consider what's happening.

The same people who create graphics and blare out drivel about the impending "perfect storm," or "a katrina like disaster," or "winter storm watch 9000" are the same people who are trumpeting about our economic throes. Yes, we are in serious straits. No, we will not all wind up eating from garbage pails.

In 1933, when FDR took office the unemployment rate in Toledo, Ohio was 80%. The national employment rate was over 25%. Children were working in coal mines for a dollar a day and large swaths of the country had no electricity. People were starving to death.

What's happening now is scary. I am scared too. But try, above all else, to keep things in perspective. And don't forget to be a mensch and help your fellow man.

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