The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
US Fiscal Condition: Alarm Bells Now A Siren
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
Today I saw a press release that proudly proclaimed that US Consumer Confidence is rising. The index rose from 47.4 to 54.1, which isn't much of an improvement since it takes an index number greater than 90 to be considered a healthy economy.
Senator Mitch McConnell summed it up best by saying, "The alarm bells on our nation's fiscal condition have now become a siren."
The US budget deficit is expected to reach $1.6 TRILLION this year - that is the highest ever, and about half of that was the "stimulus package".
As I discussed in previous blog entries, 48 out of 50 states are not just broke - but have huge deficits that can not be overcome. Some states have shut down vital services, cancelled summer schools, and California will have to release over 40,000 prisoners early because of overcrowded prisons.
When things don't sell, the government doesn't collect any sales tax. When products don't sell, people lose their jobs. When people lose their jobs, the government doesn't collect any income tax. National unemployment is over 10%, which is a conservative number since only the new filings are counted. That number doesn't include those who have been stuck on (and ran out of) unemployment benefits. Some state have much higher unemployment rates, especially those areas where the entire local economy is not diversified. Detroit losing the auto factories is a good example of this. Our jobs have left the country and these jobs are not going to come back to us. Most of our US workers are lazy, unskilled, uneducated, and unproductive when compared with the workers in other countries.
A decade ago, I used to interview one person out of every 70 job applicants. That ratio is now about 1 in 300. Our educational system has been broken for years, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better. I was shocked by the huge number of high school drop outs in Georgia, until I talked to some of them. Their attitude is, "Why bother with an education? It doesn't really make a difference what I do..."
One teen said, "Why waste my time in school when I can make lots of money selling drugs?" I wasn't really able to answer him. It makes me feel foolish to bust my ass every day, while the neighborhood dope man has always got new cars, big houses, fine clothes, lots of jewelry, and stacks of cash. Luckily I am not materialistic, or I might have considered a different path in life. Honestly though, which one of us is the stupid one???
Why would the kid want a legitimate job where the government takes a third of his money over a job that is cash "under the table"?
Our kids desperately need positive role models, but it is getting harder and harder to find them. Is pride something that can be taught - or do you just have it or you don't?
I am usually motivated by my thirst for knowledge. What motivates you? My friends inspire me. What inspires you?
Lots of people are talking about it, but don't believe the hype when people focus on a poll, study, or single statistic, without looking at the "bigger picture." We are about to go through one of the worst periods in the history of our country. I have asked the smartest people I know, but no one has any good suggestions on how to fix this mess. I can only hope that we can all pull together as families and neighbors as we try to keep life bearable.
I was overwhelmed by the feeling of community last inauguration day. Did it really only last for just one day?
-- Gary Wright II