12/02/08 — Self-fulfilling: Economy's not good, but how much of it is in the mind?

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Self-fulfilling: Economy's not good, but how much of it is in the mind?

Stocks are not the sure bet they used to be. Jobs are getting harder to find -- and keep. Consumers are spending less -- even for gasoline -- and more and more businesses are deciding it might be cheaper just to shut the doors for a little while or permanently.

Those are just a few of the reasons that we have to be concerned about the future of the U.S. economy.

But here's another perspective -- a bit of hope in the midst of a whole lot of doom and gloom -- and a government that just seemed to catch up this week and realize there has been a recession for more than a year.

Retail sales nationwide on Black Friday were up nearly 7 percent. So, what does that mean? More people decided to get out and shop a bit for Christmas presents this year than they did last year. And while a good number last week was not a sign that the end of this nation's economic troubles is near, it is not a sign of the other "the end is near" either.

Some of the concerns we are dealing with right now might be laid at our own doors. Hearing comments from pundits about the future of this nation's economy and then seeing stock market slides, it is hard to get too enthusiastic about investing or building a business.

Nothing makes someone want to put his or her money under the bed faster than hearing another doom and gloom assessment. It really becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You hear that the stock market is plummeting, so you pull back on your spending and your investments. Millions of people watching pennies and pulling their money out of Wall Street causes businesses and investment firms to falter. Next thing you know, businesses are closing and people are out of work.

See the circle?

This is not the time to be a Pollyanna -- only seeing what we want to see and ignoring the concerns. Watching your budget for leaks is a necessary act of responsibility right now. This is no time to be a maverick.

But we should also consider, too, that this community and country have done well. We are not going down the tubes anytime soon and there are some safeguards in place that will help us get back on our feet.

In other words, what we need right now is to have a little faith and to live our lives.

Calm might be just what we need to turn this bottom line back to black.

Published in Editorials on December 2, 2008 11:40 AM