Grandpa Tommy was reminiscing, "It's a shame everybody couldn't go through the Great Depression.
I know what he meant. I think.
He didn't mean it like "It's a shame everybody hadn't been in a concentration camp or had polio." He was remarking that most of us Baby Boomers and younger are unable to appreciate how technology has pampered us.
There was no safety net back then. Grandpa Tommy spent the Dirty 30's in the depths of the Dust Bowl in Syracuse, Kan. Then the first half of the 40's he was on a Navy vessel in the Pacific.
He passed away without seeing our OsamaConomy. The hard times that today's generations are suffering under, began on 9/11/2001. We sank to the bottom immediately. Unemployment in 2002 was 7.5 percent. We pulled ourselves out and by 2007 unemployment had fallen to 4.5 percent. Then we over-reached and crashed again in 2008, where we have wallowed for four years with 8-10 percent unemployment.
But this whole series of events in the last 11 years began on 9/11/01.
During this OsamaConomy, a large percent of our population has had to tighten our belts, however a smaller 10 percent has suffered mightily. But, in Grandpa Tommy's defense, just a very tiny percent of those of us caught in the vise of OsamaConomy have gone hungry or have no roof over their head. Present-day technology has allowed the majority of the unemployed access to computers, cell phones, vehicles, televisions, emergency health care and school for their kids.
The safety net that is helping these "victims" includes family, friends, churches, private giving and government programs financed by those still working and paying taxes. This safety net has prevented any mass migration of the unemployed seeking work. If there had been a mass migration, North Dakota and Wyoming would have doubled in population!
The 10 percent unemployed have been able to stay in familiar surroundings and are able to get temporary assistance to ride it out.
The Great Depression had 25 percent unemployment at its peak and lasted 9 – 10 years. Only the outbreak of World War II brought an end to it.
It is the prayer of all of us, that our foundering leaders will get their collective heads out of the mud, step out of the way and let America go back to work. It took us 5 years to recover after 9/11. In 2007 the federal government collected a record-high annual tax revenue from the private sector. That money came from people working and paying taxes, from Bill Gates to the legal immigrant mowing his lawn.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when our soldiers finally sent Osama Bin Laden to hell. There seems to be a lot of blame thrown around about who should bear the burden of our toxic economy. I don't have any doubt. It was him. Osama was this generation's Hitler, Ho Chi Minh, Yamamoto and small pox.
In 2005, I went to New Orleans after Katrina to muck out houses. There were two kind of people that showed up; those who came to help and those who came to blame.
In this OsamaConomy we've been barraged with ads and debates by those who come to blame. My head is ringing. But I know we will get out of this mess.
Not because I have faith in the government, but because I have faith in those who get up every day and come to work, like Grandpa Tommy did, just doin' his part.
Happy New Year and God bless you.
Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at:firstname.lastname@example.org