Archived: Editorial: Washington’s Disconnect With Average Consumers

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There seems to be a disconnect between “Wall Street” and local economies on whether things are getting better or worse.

Wall Street, the administration, the congress, financial institutions and large capitalists seem to feel that the recession is turning around because the number of workers now losing their jobs has slowed, not stopped, just slowed down. They apply the same “logic” to explain their optimism over data that shows the rate of people falling into foreclosure has also slowed somewhat, but not stopped. They say home sales are going up, as are home values, though they still remain far below where they were a year ago. Building is picking up in some areas, and that is a good sign. Never mind that the number of vacant commercial spaces has also gone up.

So while they may see things as improving, the average consumer, worker, homeowner, student and small business person sees the economy as declining, and so is their confidence. Many homeowners are still under water in their homes value, too many are either still losing their jobs or are afraid they might be about to. People who thought their savings would get them through this rough patch, are realizing that they are almost out of money and jobs don’t seem to be getting any easier to find.

In the meantime, their costs for food, gas, healthcare and a college education for their children have gone way up.

Teenagers can’t find a job, but are being asked to cover more of their expenses for school.

True, sales have improved somewhat, but it seems consumers are only purchasing items they really need, not what they want.

Most consumers have learned a bitter lesson, that as recessions hit, it is Wall Street that dictates who will be helped by government’s largess — and it isn’t the average consumer. That so called ‘trickle down theory” that should have come about when the feds bailed out the banks and all those “companies to big to fail,” seem to have instead resulted in bigger corporate profits and bonuses, rather than more home loans and jobs.

So consumers are now saving what they can, keeping or cutting their debt load down. As hometown newspapers we have been greatly disappointed by the fact that government has all but abandoned small locally owned businesses, allowed the banks to take government loans but not forced them to help greater numbers of homeowners keep their homes.

They continue to allow big corporations and yes Wall Street, to deplete their pension funds through bankruptcy or outright theft.

Our government has infused billions into the “Big Three Auto Companies” but has allowed them to walk away from their obligations to pay suppliers and vendors for services and hoard the funds they received to spend on “other projects.” Those vendors have in turn been forced to layoff American workers.

It just doesn’t seem right.

We know this because as community newspapers we have seen how their failure to pay small advertising companies and small media companies has led to the failure of many of those companies.
We were told we would see a change in Washington with this new administration; well, we’re still waiting.

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