Economic crisis can become vicious cycle

Published 9:58 pm Saturday, February 14, 2009

Anyone who has been watching the news of late probably feels like they need a glossary to understand what is going on with the economy.

Bailouts. Stimulus plans. Pork spending. Tax credits. The list of two-dollar words goes on and on.

The bottom line is that our nation is facing a nearly unprecedented economic crisis and new President Barack Obama and the entire U.S. Congress are scrambling to come up with solutions.

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The $787 billion stimulus plan that has been debated for weeks and was finally passed Saturday probably just frustrates many Americans because it is unclear how it will affect them.

The whole concept of bailouts for banks and other industries is something that doesn’t sit well with most taxpayers, myself included, because we are the ones being asked to do the bailing. I don’t remember anyone every offering to bail me out when I couldn’t make ends meet.

Also at play was the basic philosophical debate over whether or not government should take such an active role in trying to affect the economy.

The bottom line is that something had to be done to stop the economic slide. To do nothing simply wasn’t an option.

So the president and Congress came up with this highly debated and much modified plan that includes investment in infrastructure jobs, tax cuts for many Americans, job creation and a host of other initiatives.

The reality is some of these things will probably help while others may not.

Is this plan perfect? Not even close. In fact, even though it was declared “pork free,” many people could make an argument that this plan could give a Bob Evans a run for its money.

In some ways, it seems Congress is simply throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks.

I’m far from being an economist or economic expert, but my gut feeling is that Americans shouldn’t panic and make drastic or knee-jerk reactions.

In some ways, overhyping by the media and just general fear that the economy is going to tank causes people to stop spending, stop investing, stop saving and pull out investments and retirement.

All these contribute to the cycle and make matters worse.

Our nation’s economic problems stem from a variety of sources that make a recovery something we cannot expect to see happen overnight.

This is a challenging time for all businesses and challenging for many families who are facing joblessness, cutbacks and rising expenses.

But Americans have always been able to persevere and rise to defeated any challenge.

I have no doubt our great nation will do that here, becoming stronger for it and better prepared for the future.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at