02/26/09 — Economics 2009: This nation has a much to learn from continuing financial crisis

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Economics 2009: This nation has a much to learn from continuing financial crisis

It is going to be nice when there is something to talk about other than the stimulus bill, how far the market is going to drop and whose fault it is that we are in this predicament in the first place.

But until that time, the next few weeks, months and years are going to be critical to the future economic health of this nation and this community -- and we are going to have to talk about policies, goals and what to do to turn this around.

And that really will require figuring out where we went wrong first -- and unfortunately, it is not going to just be government and big business that we point to as we analyze how we got here.

Truth be told, it is not such a bad thing that Americans are watching what they spend and thinking more about debt levels and future investments.

There were many families who simply were stretching themselves too thin and many others who were simply in mortgages they could not afford.

And despite what many people might think, there is no magic wand that is going to erase the real estate market concerns or the more than $4 trillion debt this country is going to face as a result of the stimulus bill.

And there again is another concern -- more than $4 trillion in debt -- that brings with it some tough choices and responsibilities as well. We are not going to be able to fund every program or project. Some entitlements will have to go -- no matter whose toes they step on.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned here still is that no one is going to hand you anything -- and that if a deal seems to be good to be true, it is.

To truly recover from the economic slowdown, Americans have to learn several lessons.

The first is basic economics: Businesses create jobs, and while there might be some who have not handled that task as well as they should, there are thousands of others that produce payrolls that drive this country. To grow this economy, we have to have a business-friendly climate and reward responsible business ownership -- period. Government cannot sustain a recovery.

The second is that you always have to pay the piper -- whether it is for too much spending, too high a mortgage or thinking that someone else will pay the bill. What goes around always comes around.

If we learn those lessons, we will be well on our way to making sure we never have to talk about stimulus packages again.

Published in Editorials on February 26, 2009 10:57 AM