Archived Story

Christmas spirit can save economy

Published 12:00am Sunday, December 23, 2012

Two days in advance of the big yuletide deadline may not sound like much, but for the first time since ever, all my Christmas shopping is done.

In fact you probably couldn’t pay me to visit a mall or shopping center today or Monday as the holiday hustle and bustle ramps up to near maniacal levels.

Basing your views on the full parking lots, long lines and throng of shoppers in recent weeks, you would be hard-pressed to think our economy is still struggling.

But it is.

If we were able to sustain this level of consumer spending a little longer, or spread it throughout the year, we would likely see levels of prosperity that haven’t been achieved in decades.

That isn’t possible but the concept remains the same: If we put our fears aside and eliminate uncertainty, the American people can move our nation forward.

All the talk of “fiscal cliffs,” the Mayan’s’ end of the world and the perceived doom of the Affordable Care Act creates a palpable fear that stifles our economy and hurts our country perhaps more than anything else.

It almost doesn’t matter whether the economy is bad or whether our economy is good. The in-between, the uncertainty, can be paralyzing our progress and ability to rebound.

The American people don’t need to be told to spend money. If we have it, we will spend it. Lots of times we spend it when we don’t even have it.

What we basically need from our elected leaders is to stay out of the way, make some very minor changes to the status quo and basically just don’t mess anything up.

Unfortunately, our current batch of elected leaders cannot even do that. They make the proverbial bull in the china shop look like two toddlers having a pillow fight. Even worse, we owe the owners of that China shop — China, in fact — lots of money already.

If I could give our leaders in Congress a Christmas present, it would be a giant box of compromise to put under their trees. This is certainly a present that both parties seem to have lost as they do their best Ebeneezer Scrooge impressions.

It was once said that “government cannot create jobs but it sure can kill them.” I certainly think that is true.

Our country will bounce back. Our economy will thrive again. It just likely won’t happen until our leaders find some middle ground and let us, the consumers, do our part.

We must not ever forget the reason for the season, but the Christmas spirit of giving — and spending — can help rebuild our economy a whole lot faster than the government ever can.

 

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.

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