When I walked into the kitchen this morning, the first words out of my wife’s mouth were: “I’m panicking! Our economy is going down the tube. We need to get enough money out of investments to pay off our house so we have a place to live.”
“What brought this on?” I asked.
“Glenn Beck was telling everybody (on television) that the world economy is going to melt down and there’ll be rioting everywhere and . . ..”
“Whoa!” I intervened. “No good has ever come out of panic. And it’s irresponsible to incite one. Since when is it wise to place confidence in a ‘talking head’?”
Granted, times are getting tougher. Even in our little town, the satellite GM car dealership closed its doors and combined its workforce at one site. And a large-scale kitchen cabinet maker in town will be closing, putting 400 people out of work.
But let’s face it: America’s mainstream economy is built on excesses – that could stand some shrinking. Who can really afford today’s outrageously expensive, gas-guzzling autos? Who needs as many convenience stores and fast food joints with all their lattes and chillers? Who needs an electronic superstore in every city? Who needs 10 to 15 acres of lawn – without food animals grazing on it?
As the cliché goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. That means those with the most foresight and stick-to-it-ness will make the most of opportunities -- and there are opportunities, even today.
Returning to basics would be good
I’m all for more local repair shops. I’m all for more people coming back to farms seeking employment or trading part-time labor for food. I’m all for families combining their resources to squeeze through tough times. I’m all for bigger gardens and neighbors helping each other. I'm all for city people rediscovering where their food comes from.
America stood stronger when we did all these things. But it will take visionary leadership to return us to these and other core values – not leaders who simply say, “It’s going to get tougher.”
There’s a bottom line to this: The biggest mouths often do the littlest thinking.
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