Monday, September 03, 2012

I Am Better Off Now Than 4 Years Ago

This is normally where I share my new soapy stuff, and sometimes recipes. It hasn't been political here for years, but it is still my soapbox.

As the campaign season swings into high gear, many pundits are asking Reagan's old question, "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago." A lot of political folk are having trouble saying yes to that question. I found this very surprising. The Great Recession began in December of 2007, and did not officially end until June of 2009. Four years ago, we were just coming off of a Summer when gas prices spiked at over $4.00/gallon, with crude oil prices hitting a record of $147/barrel. In September of 2008, we lost a quarter of a million jobs in this country, and we lost a total of 2.6 million jobs that year. In September 2008, Lehman Brothers went tits up, and the economy went into free fall. For the first time since 1928, we were actually in danger of a collapse of our banking system. Four years ago our economy, as a whole, was - to use a technical term, in the shitter.

So for the generic American, the question of "Are you better off?" has an obvious and emphatic answer - Yes. Of course. DUH.

I understand that the current progress of our economy is not like the artificial boom years that we experienced in the past, but only a complete moron would say that "slow progress" is worse than "financial meltdown and collapse". I am disgusted at the willful stupidity of people who say things are worse now than they were four years ago.

For this specific American, the question of being better off also has a simple answer, Hell YES! I was able to start my own business, and as the economy has recovered, my business has grown. I started selling my soaps and whatnot two years ago. The business has grown to the extent that I am not seeking another job. I made a job for myself. And, unlike all the small business people that the RNC brought out for their convention, I actually did it without any government loans. But I would never say that I did it without government help, and it would be the height of arrogance to say I did it all alone, to say "I built that." I depend heavily on the low shipping prices and excellent service that I get from the USPS. OUR postal service, not owned by any stockholders or individual. WE built that. I also depend upon our transportation infrastructure, which allows me to obtain quality supplies from around the globe. I'm also able to do this only because of the science degree that was paid for, in large part, with a Pell grant. And without the current growth in our economy, I wouldn't have anything. I sell a luxury product - a small luxury to be sure, but one that sells better with people who have a bit of extra cash for something special. Without a doubt, more people have that extra cash now than four years ago. I have a job that is secure, one that I can never have taken from me by a boss looking for a bonus, and one that pays more, every day.

The fact that the economy is better than it was in 2008 is obvious to me, but there are still many people who don't feel the recovery just yet. They're still drowning in debt that was piled up over the last decade of declining wages. They're still unemployed, or under employed. They still suffer. There will always be work to be done, always ways to improve our current situation. But the answer to those problems is not to return to the suck-fest that we were living in four years ago. I am better off than I was four years ago and the country is better off. I want every individual to be better off, and not just the ones who already have theirs. I want opportunity not just for people who start a business, but for people who work for a business, and people who work for all of us, as teachers, fire fighters, and even the bitches at the DMV. I look forward to another four years of progress.