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7,000,000,000

November 19, 2010

Seems like a huge number doesn’t it?  I guess not as much as it used too, with our national debt at over 13,000,000,000,000 and counting, but nine zero’s still rates as rather large.  I woke up the other day feeling a bit down-it was my birthday, and no, I’m not telling you how old I am.  I was taking stock of where I was in life-what I had accomplished; what I was doing currently; where I wanted to go from here.  You know, the normal things you think about when you get “older.”

In addition to the normal things one might think of on a birthday, I was also contemplating all of the events that have happened this past year.  I don’t think I can recall a time when so much change for our country in the wrong direction has caused so many to rise up and scream, “STOP!”  Not that I hold any confidence that most of the politicians, and in particular, our President, got the message, but at least we sent it as clearly as we know how.

I heard Alan Greenspan over the weekend talk about how, “…our search for jobs is still, well, not doing too well. The…10 percent unemployment rate is the consequence of the fact that this economy is not picking up the way it ordinarily would out of a recession. And the basic reason is that, unlike previous recoveries when, for example, we would be getting very significant pickups in building, residential, nonresidential, in a sense, longer term assets, we’re not getting that today, and it’s a big hole in the economy. And the reason, essentially…is that business is highly uncertain about the future in a way which I have never seen it before and a way in which the data suggests has never, in fact, been so depressed. And unless and until we can begin to lift that pall of uncertainty, it is very difficult to see people reaching out into the longer term.” [Emphasis mine.]

Gee, what an astute observation Alan.  You’re finally catching up to what the American people recognized a few months into this administration’s rule.  Good for you.  Maybe you and your pals can finally climb on board the clue train with the rest of us and help apply more pressure to the brakes before we run through the “Bridge Out Ahead” sign.  I can only hope.

If that doesn’t cheer you up, there was also this little dozy from Vanity Fair ‘s Bethany McLean, “And…that means that we’re going to have this bond market crisis that Dr. Greenspan was talking about earlier sooner than we may expect. And I worry that we have less time to fix this problem and less time to get our house in order than, than people seem to think.” Wow, it’s enough to make me want to sink back under my covers and crawl into the fetal position!  Some of my friends tell me to stop watching the news if it’s so depressing, but for me it’s kind of like a car crash, I just can’t seem to look away.

So what keeps me going?  Faith.  Faith in God, faith in the amazing American people, faith in family and friends.  After all, economies cycle up and down, money is a volatile commodity, and material things break, but faith in the immutable gives me somewhere solid to stand, as paradoxical as that may seem.

Why 7 billion?  They say that the world’s population has almost reached that number and the thought occurred to me when I awoke in my home in the U.S. with air conditioning and heating, a refrigerator with food, indoor plumbing, electricity at the flip of a switch, clean water at the turn of a tap, a television, and my two cats, that there are 7,000,000,000 other places on the planet where I could awaken and one of them includes a burqa.  So with all that is happening, even being one year “closer to death” as my brother puts it, it really is a wonderful life that I have the privilege to live in the greatest nation ever to have graced the planet.

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