I occasionally receive an email inviting me to take a “consumer survey”. I signed up for a couple of these because no one has ever called my home asking for my opinion and I happen to think that my opinion may, in fact, reflect “middle-road-majority” America.
Today I received a survey asking numerous questions about what I thought of the economy, present and future. I was asked about my purchasing in the last 3-12 months and my plans for the same time frame in the future. Some of the multiple choice answers were not easy to pick because they didn’t offer the response I wanted to give.
Our economic climate (what we feel and see) truly reflects these August Dog Days of summer. It is slow, oppressively humid, with little positive excitement. When asked about my spending history, I shake my head and give a tiny chuckle. I haven’t bought a home, new car, wide-screen TV, or taken any vacation in ten years. So my history and my present spending has changed little. I have been working on a very tight, constructed budget and do not plan to change no matter what “Hoo-Ra” cheer comes from Washington in the guise of some stimulus package.
As for the future, I believe that most of us who live in the real world will see, at best, little improvement, and more likely, a continued down slide in our spending. I believe the worse characteristic of the present and future economics is the effect it will have on the middle class of our country. It is the middle class that has been the strong backbone of this country. It is the middle class who is going to take the biggest hit. Those who have worked hard, paid their taxes, and do not take from any government subsidy until they come to retirement. If the economy continues in its present path, this middle class is going to spend less and feel forced to consider tapping into some subsidy, possibly when they lose their job. It is this group of people who have committed years in service to supporting that which we have proudly called “The American Dream”. Will the dream succumb to the carelessly, out-of-touch government officials who can’t put aside the ego of their own agendas and political careers? Will we continue to support a government who protects the benefits of its elected employees but leaves the rest of us to flounder in the sea of their making? We will have to pray and wait to see.