Is there truly a recovery under way? - The Explorer: Editorials

Is there truly a recovery under way?

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Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:14 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

The pundits from various media outlets as well as those on Wall Street are doing phenomenal work in presenting an economy on the mend.

More than 160,000 jobs were added to the mix in March, though official unemployment stayed at 9.7 percent. Nearly half of the new jobs were temporary positions, with nearly 48,000 carved out by census workers who will be knocking on many a door this year. These footsore temporary government employees will probably finish up their work by mid-summer, and then face unemployment reality once again. And underemployment is actually up to 16.9 percent.

Savings rates are down and consumer spending is up, while manufacturing is showing signs of life again, worldwide. And the true indication this recovery might actually have legs; a barrel of oil now approaches $90 a pop, though it keeps bobbing around the mid-$80s of late. And the price of gas is approaching $3 a gallon, still a real deal by world standards.

We appear to be on a mend, but in actuality it is just old habits coming back to haunt us.

One major sign is the decreased savings and the ever-increasing bubble in government debt. What an incredibly bold move by the Feds to create and spend more money in order to get us all to dig deeper into our pockets to spend our way out of this debt-induced depression. Is this making any sense yet?

The state wants a temporary sales tax, while the city wants to raise sales taxes in order to fend off layoffs from essential personnel, such as police, fire and street repair. Every school district is writhing with withdrawal pains while more students keep dropping out, thinking they can make it in a world gone mad for drugs, rave and the easy life that someone else can pay for.

Here is the reality, folks. The middle class is in deep trouble; it's enough to drive a person screaming into the night with sweat flying off their bodies and stopping ever so often to howl at the moon (if there is one). The truth is life was better for most people 40 years ago than today.

During the early 1950s, only about a third of working-age women were collecting paychecks, the rest dropping babies. But 55 years later, nearly three quarters of this same age group were working, even if they had dropped an army of kids. It is hard to imagine that 1970 was actually the "good ole days," even with Cambodia, Kent State and all the rest of that nonsense. And today, even with two household members earning a paycheck, many families are at or near the poverty level.

Many members of the middle class are using their savings to make ends meet, so any chance of helping their kids get through college is a fading dream. Studies are showing with tuition soaring, even working one's way through college is no longer a functional reality. Even upper middle class families are discovering their kids will need to find alternative forms of funding since the bank of Mom and Dad is stretched to the limit with mortgages, credit card debt and ever-increasing costs across the board.

Why so dour an outlook? Well, because the old economic model won't work anymore. We cannot continue to be consumers because our debt is too deep. Our standard of living is dropping with each passing month, and even though so much disinformation is being thrown about, reality has a nasty way of making itself known. Now a large majority of the middle class is living paycheck to paycheck, making do with less. And what is actually frightening Americans; knowing our own government lived too far beyond its means and in the back of many minds is a neon sign blinking "default."

There are enough out there who do not believe the "official governmental figures" anymore. Not with the internet and alternative media to counter many an outright lie. Unemployment is actually standing at 21 percent, when you include those who gave up looking and the underemployed.

In a lot of cases, it takes two jobs to make up for one lost. So you have heads of household never home because they work day and night and catch up on their sleep during the weekend or when days off occur for both jobs on the same day.

For those who are retired and living a pretty good life, count your blessings. You may actually be the last generation able to carry the American Dream into retirement years.

I have seen the future and it is now, with an ever-expanding government that waddles about like a drunken panhandler in oncoming traffic, and a people in debt up to their eyeballs.

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