Yes, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research we’re officially in a recession. The announcement Monday kind of felt like a ship captain telling you that the boat’s sinking as you have fish swimming at your ankles. But it's a good thing that the government let us know, or else the American people would be completely in the dark about today's fiscal situation in America (as can be shown in this poll by CNN in March of 2008).
On my way to the airport this morning I had a sobering chat with my taxi drive about the economical situation in America. He had told me that he had very little hope in the "American Dream" ever since he's had to resort to driving cabs in order to make money for his family. According to him he once owned a large construction company working out in La Canada, it was soon shut down after 9/11 when a lot of housing projects stopped. He then opened sowing company with forty-five workers. With jobs getting exported to Mexico he couldn't afford to keep up his operation and had to close shop. His story isn't the only sob story of recent years. I know plenty of my own friends getting laid off, and with the increase in living costs and the lack of jobs I too am feeling the pinch. But regardless what he said I kept my head up, and spoke only positively.
I hope things change for the better. Things need to change for the better. There is a lot the government needs to do, but there is a lot we can do as well. As bizarre as it may seem the best approach for the average citizen to help out in this economic crisis is to spend money. Not hit the mattresses and stay inside, not horde the money in your bank account, spend money. I know this is not an easy thing to accept, and as an unemployed citizen it definitely not something I'm trying to actively engage in. But that's the cold hard truth.
Ok, so I probably didn't sell you on the spending money thing. But in all seriousness here are some other day-today habits we can establish that will help out our struggling economy.
Shop locally. As convenient shopping online is it's only going to hurt your local electronics, garment, music, whatever shop. Keep money within your community, and shop outside it only when absolutely necessary.
Buy American. This tip is a no brainer. I'm very much considering buying an American car my next go around. Not sure what is made in the USA? Check out Madeinusa.org, it's a nice little database to help you out.
Stay positive. It's contagious. That smile will only spread.
The economy is a nasty beast, and I don't understand a lot of it. But it does seem like common sense to me that if you keep money within the states and your local communities it will eventually sort itself out. I hope...