What About the Bottom?

By Donna Hernandez Oct 06, 2008

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been aggressively paying attention to tnews about the US economy and attempting to figure out if it will wipe out the little bit of funds in my 401K. The fact that I have a 401K is light years ahead of my family and many friends. Truth be told – unfortunately, many of them are still hoping Social Security can support their needs when they retire. At this rate, they’ll be lucky if they still have a home in the next few years! Today’s news about the European economy is not much better. Europe’s going through its own bailout plan. This brings me back to the same question I’ve been discussing with my partner for the last few months – what about the bottom? While I completely understand the importance of stabilizing an economy, I disagree that the only and best plan is to bail out the big guys, especially when forcing companies to freeze interest rates at enticing teaser rates and holding mortgage companies accountable for predatory loans could easily have dealt with the foreclosure problem a long time ago. Providing assistance directly to low-income and middle class families – who, according to economists, make up a large portion of the consumer base that must spend money in order to stabilize the economy – will have more of an impact on Main Street than would simply saving Wall Street. Our failing economy is not only due to the fear of foreclosures but has roots in the shrinking middle-class and growing lower class, massive job losses and increasing gas costs. Stabilizing an economy is no easy thing. Managing a checkbook for some people is difficult, so I can imagine how hard it is to manage a country’s budget. But, if we take some time to invest in projects that will grow our economy, then maybe the poor and jobless will have a fighting chance. For example, despite Sarah Palin’s doubts, it is now widely accepted that alternate sources of energy and the need to manage carbon emissions are absolutely critical to the survival of our planet. This is potentially a market that our economy can benefit from. A government effort to focus on a green economy and job market could cause a growth in our economy akin to how government construction projects helped us get out of the Great Depression. Sadly enough, I think we are just beginning to see the affects of a failing economy. The European plan for bailouts is a small sign that the rest of the World’s markets may begin to tank. Unfortunately, not all countries will be in the financial position to provide bailouts to big business or the little guy. Hope you have a safety belt because it looks like it’s about to be a bumpy ride. Especially, if you’re at the bottom like most of us.