I’m not a politician, nor an economist. I’m the last one who could wax eloquent about our economic crisis, and I have no clue how to get out of it or when we will get back on our feet—if ever. But from what I’ve been told, America has faced a huge economic downturn since 2008 and it’s provoked quite a stir, not least with the recent outcry of “the 99%.” It seems that Americans are fed up with not getting a bigger slice of the pie; they are sick and tired of scraping by on meager wages.
But I don’t know. I know that times are tough—sort of—but I still wonder if things are as bad as we have made it sound. I mean, when I go to the Dodger game, the stands are still relatively full. People are still buying Dodger dogs at $6 a pop, washed down with a couple $12 beers. When I was thinking of going to the U2 concert, I was told to purchase my tickets well ahead of time because they would quickly sell out, and I was after the cheapest seats—priced at $150 a ticket! My lower middle class neighborhood is still lined with boats, RVs, motorcycles, and 3-4 cars per house. The Starbucks I’m sitting in is jammed packed with people sipping $5 coffees, and when I take a quick glance at its parking lot, I see at least a dozen $30,000 SUVs.
I don’t know. I’m going to go out on a limb here and please correct me if I’m wrong, but could it be that our economic downturn simply means that we cannot live the materialistic, comfort driven lives that we’ve been used to? I wonder if it’s been so hard on Americans because we simply don’t know how to live simple lives, where we meet our needs but not all of our wants. We have a subtle addiction to material things—brand named clothes, eating out, new cars, and the newest electronic gadget that’s dangled in front of us.
There are almost 6 billion people on the planet. 2 billion live on less than 2 dollars a day. 1 billion live on less than 1 dollar a day. 6 thousand people die daily because of hunger and other preventable diseases. Millions more live without access to clean drinking water—let alone the latest 4G iPad. I think we need to think more in terms of a relative economic downturn. We are still the wealthiest nation history has ever seen.