Over the past four years I’ve watched our economy boom and crash in a very short period of time. I’ve seen countless houses for sale, rent, and foreclosure. Working in the service industry I travel upwards of 500 miles per week throughout four counties. In my travels I have never seen so many houses abandoned as I have in the past two years. It amazes me that 1 out of every 10 houses I see have “For Sale” signs on them. These were homes occupied by people like you and me. Hard working Americans that for many reasons could no longer pay their mortgage. I would guess that most of these homes were owned by people in the construction field or perhaps seasonal work. As our economy plummeted and banks were more reluctant to refinance, these homes were lost.
Since I’m not experiencing financial problems due to the economic situation, I can only conjecture as to the how’s and why’s of those that are suffering. I rent my home and have been gainfully employed for the past four years. All my monthly bills have remained consistent with the exception of the normal energy cost increases. My rent hasn’t gone up and my landlord’s mortgage payment hasn’t increased either. I have other financial burdens just like most, but my monthly expenses have remained the same. I also found that any increase in food or gas fluctuates steadily without any major price differences. Sooner or later it all seems to stabilize. When we do our weekly shopping we spend about the same as we did a few years ago. Most of my friends seem to agree that most of their expenses haven’t changed either. So why is it that the economic growth of this county seems to be at a stand still?
One theory is “Income Distribution”. Our economy is a prime example of the “Trickle Down” effect. When we take portions of our income and spend it within our community, we cause this effect to take place. When we buy something off the shelf, it has to be restocked. The more we purchase, the more products need to be replaced. An order is placed by your merchant for more product which causes the distributor to place an order to restock their shelves. The distributor’s supplier then in turn has to do the same. Eventually this obligation reaches the manufacturer who then has to manufacture more product. To reach production demands, longer hours for existing manpower are required and possibly the hiring of more employees. So you see, every product you purchase invokes the “Trickle Down” effect and could very well produce more jobs. The more people that are employed relates to how much money or “Income Distribution” is put back into the economic flow. We are basically a spoke in the big economic wheel that needs to support their share of the load. And like a wheel, the whole system will fail if enough spokes are broken.
As you can see, it takes money to make money. However, there are those who choose to hoard their money because of a misunderstanding of economics and negative information from the government. When the President announces that the economy is struggling and doesn’t see it getting better any time soon, I picture how many retired seniors start liquidating stock, consolidating funds, and transferring everything into their saving accounts. Instead of distributing their money as they always have, their hoarding waiting for times to get better. Considering there are over 37 million retired persons in the U.S. collecting Social Security, it seems to me that there is a lot of income the can be put back into the economy. And when you add private pension funds to that, the numbers are staggering. I’ve heard seniors tell me so many times that they are on a “Fixed Income”. I cringe every time I hear this because I know that their expenses ARE fixed. So why did they all of a sudden start complaining about costs? Nothing has changed for them. They still have to eat. They still have to pay their bills just like they always have. But now because of “Economic Paranoia” they choose to live in their dungeon and no longer experience the things that made them feel alive. They no longer take trips back home to see the grandkids. They no longer go out to lunches or dinners with Harold and Betsy. And they no longer give themselves the safety and security of a new car. This is one example of how “Income Distribution” has failed. How are we to regain our economic strength if the structure of our own economy fails due to mass hysteria?
There needs to be a reform or public media education if you will. Perhaps if our government were to educate our citizens on the basics of how our economy works and the need of a combined effort to restabilize our economic growth, there will be good things to come for all of us. I’m not indicating that retired persons are the answer or at fault for our economic struggles. I’m stating that over 12% of our nations population has the ability to help our economy by contributing into our community instead of standing by and watching it fade away. Living in a state driven by tourism and retirees, I’ve seen first hand how our own economy is suffering. Although we experience fluctuations in tourism because it’s seasonal, over 17% of Florida residents are retired and live here year around. Most of those retirees aren’t even from Florida but move here to reap the benefits. It’s time for a little education and motivation on the part of our government. It’s going to take a lot of work and some time, but if we ALL do our part, our economic growth will become stronger and more stable than it’s ever been.