The attached link leads to an excellent, reasoned article on why the economy is not out of the woods yet. Having been on the early bear side of the down economy (2005), I am sincerely hopeful that I am wrong on the upside. Here is the rudimentary problem we face. Collectively, we have been living beyond our means for 30 years as individuals, and as a country, making a short, relatively painless resolution of our collective spendthrift ways unlikely. Being spendthrift is a symptom of the much larger longer-term problem--- over the past 40 years we have moved away from personal responsibility toward a living-philosophy based upon blame and demonstrated most publicly by our politics.
We have experts telling us conflicting things and we are, rightfully, confused. We are told that consumers have accrued too much debt but that the recession will not abate until we have more consumer spending! Making matters worse, is that the Federal Reserve has, historically, come to the country's aid too late and stays (with low interest rates) too long, spawning another bubble or inflation.
With 25% of the population baby boomers, the number of people over 65 will eclipse those under 18 by 2020. This is a demographic time bomb that will transform business and government for the next 50 years. For example, it is not surprising that public education has been arguingm it nedds for money for decades while billions move from them to health care for seniors. The economy will be forced to change from a consumption of goods economy to a consumption of services economy. This will have economic and social implications that one can only surmise.
We should use this opportunity to transform our economy to a more investment-savings economy but that will require the American people to change their attitude about what constitutes happiness. (hint: Happiness is not the accumulation of "stuff.") While I am not an expert on the subject, by any means, my life experiences and observations of others have led me to the following findings, (1) happiness relates more to doing good work, caring for others and the life of the mind than to mediocre work, selfishness, and immediate self-gratification. (2) too often happiness has been more related to the accumulation of what "Madison Avenue" says we need than what we actually need to live meaningful lives (3) happiness is way over-rated!
Your Common Sense Curmudgeon invites your comments.