The tail end of 2010 looks much the same as the end of 2009 and 2008. In some cases it's no different, while for others it's much bleaker. If someone tells me they are in better financial shape it's only because of a couple of factors --- none of which is the economy --- including the way they have learned to save while still having their job. It would be short of a miracle for someone to have found a better-paying job and saved money but it would be notable because that person is well above the average for Americans in 2010.
Here's what I see:
Although it's not new, there is story after story about charitible organizations needing more funding and donations from the public because of an increased need from others. Yes --- in December 2010, the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, ecumenical and religious organizations across the spectrum are all asking for increased donations because in almost every case they detect a much greater demand for their services this year than in the past two years.
So --- this means what? The recession is not ending.
Despite a stock market which has had modest growth, the economy is still a mess. And no matter what the people in the Bush and Obama administrations want to say, no matter how the market gurus spin things, this is not just a recession.
This is a DEEP ECONOMIC DEPRESSION.
What is bad about this is how obvious it is to the average person. Those who had terrific jobs just 5 to 10 years ago are finding that not only are "terrific" jobs difficult to find, "average" jobs are hard to locate. People who used to earn $50 to $60-thousand dollars are lucky to have those jobs, while many others who had similar earnings at their job are struggling to make half of that in the past year or two following layoffs.
The average person knows how bad their neighbor is struggling. Ebay selling is a way of life for some of these people. They used to have decent hourly wages in manufacturing. That's been several years for many of them --- when they were in their 20s and 30s. Now you'll see many men and women in their 40s and 50s struggling to find a job and becoming dependent on new service-oriented businesses. Manufacturing has all been a bunch of sellouts, largely to China and Mexico. India is feasting on American job outsourcing. In some cases there have been reports of Americans attempting to emigrate to India for jobs that used to be located in all 50 of the United States of America. This is not good for a time when the governmental and stock market/financial leaders are attempting to claim that things are improving.
What's in a name? Well, for the leaders ignoring the reality of how poor the economic condition has been in 2010, it's not much. They'll continue to call it a recession until the day the stock market bottoms out. THEN they'll be forced into saying the truth about the depression in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
What's in a name? GOOD NEWS. Sure, there will be good news. But first there will be pain on Wall Street, on the Nikkei, across the world's markets. MAJOR pain. It appears to be closer than ever --- perhaps in January or early February the market will take such a hit that even Bill Gates and Warren Buffett will feel the short-term effects more than they dreamed --- I don't know this for sure, but call it a hunch that if the stock market takes the drastic fall that appears to be on the horizon that even the richest and wealthiest Americans will be selling things off.
What's in a name? CEO, CFO, COO, Chairman of the Board. These are the folks who have been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but believing that it would never fall. When the men with the golden parachutes are hit as hard as the aforementioned "average" person in the U.S. and beyond, we will all see them scrambling to tell us their version of the GOOD NEWS. Personally, I am not going to buy their words. Thus far, this year and last and the year before, their words are no more worth reading and digesting than in a forced letter of resignation to someone who used to be a lower-level manager in their corporate structure. Those letters of resignation were forced upon so many American white-collar workers over the past decade that the CEO, CFO, COO and Chairmen of the boards all should cower in the corner in shame for what they have done to the overall economy.
Blame goes to the highest of the high in business. What's in a name is this: the mighty shall fall and the meek shall inherit the earth. And although I paraphrase from different places in the Bible, certainly Holy scripture may help to save some of those big shots who pay attention to the sacred words of God. But some of those big shots think they're bigger than God and will find out at the end of this depression that what's in a name is dependent upon how one reacts to the times. IF you're a bigshot --- I hope you reacted with favor to the call of the many of the Lord's commandments as well as with favor to the lowest-paid employees in your company --- I hope you didn't force a layoff or resignation into their lives.
What's in a name. Someone higher than you can and will enforce some might into your life even if you're the Chairman of the board.
This is a depression. An economic depression which has caused --- depression in so many people.
My guess, not my prediction, is that things will be very bad in January and February 2011 for everyone. But shortly after the huge stock market crash, things will turn around into a much happier climate. This new climate isn't something I can put my finger on right now --- just a hunch. In addition to prayers you may say for those who are dealing with the worst of times right now, please remember to give to charity if you have the means to do so. If you have the money --- even a few dollars --- please donate to some charity and make things better for others. It is a critical time in our nation's history for the charity organizations to be able to serve food, clothing, and shelter to hundreds of thousands more people who are struggling in 2010 compared to how it was in 2007.
And I once thought 2007 was bad. What's in a name. There's one name I would like to avoid being labeled: ignorant.