The Sharp Edge
Posted: Friday, December 12, 2008 9:57 am
I wrote last week about local sales tax revenue in Weakley County and how the state has been impacted by unemployment numbers. With the news of so many Americans losing their jobs and the recent budget cuts of Weakley County’s largest industry, for lack of a better word, at the University of Tennessee at Martin, things look bleak. Quite frankly, there are a lot of people wondering what they are going to do if they lose their jobs and others who are already facing that predicament. This is a country, and maybe even a mentality, that has overspent beyond its means. It’s that simple. Times are different from even a decade ago. In the coming months, we will see more non profits in the county struggle to keep up with an even higher demand for emergency services. Law enforcement has seen a slew of break-ins in the last few weeks right before the Christmas holiday season. Curious crimes such as freezers being tapped into where meat has been stolen yet expensive farming implements have been left makes me curious if these are, as Martin Police Chief David Moore called it a few months ago in a conversation, crimes of necessity. Don’t get me wrong, a crime is a crime and no one should take another person’s property; however, I have never been in the shoes of a parent with hungry children. I don’t know what I’d do in that situation. We are living in the generation in circumstances that my grandparents fought so diligently to leave in the past. I remember my grandparents talking of the Great Depression and their hope never to see our country that way again. The U.S. Government is finally telling us we are in a recession. They obviously have not gone into the farmland and manufacturers in the rolling hills of northwest Tennessee. If they had, they could hear the stories of plants shutting down, farmers waiting on rain for crops, fertilizer costs going through the roof and young people holding off on pursuing higher education because the tuition money, which has also increased, is simply not there. However, neither are the jobs for many young people starting out in the world. We live in troubling times and this is the first recession that I can remember as an adult although there have been others when I was a child. Yes, gas prices are down but how long with that last. Sen. Bob Corker is citing the lack of oversights in a move that will most likely bailout the automobile industry. In 1979, Chrysler received a bailout, but there were very strict rules and regulations attached to the agreement. And, it did indeed, work for nearly 30 years. And the inevitable question that I have heard from so many of you is “Where is our bailout?” It’s a good question. What I do know is that belts have been tightened and never is it more apparent than in the holiday season. So, what do we do? I can only speak for myself, as this is an editorial. • We accept that times aren’t going to get any easier but it is no reason for anger and resentment. It is what it is. • We help those that we can and offer empathy and kindness if we can’t. • We know there is plenty of blame to go around on this botched economy, but it really doesn’t solve anything. We can look at being helpful in ways that benefit our friends and neighbors. • We find joy in things that we don’t have to take a bank loan out to get. It’s not always about owning more stuff. • We live within our means as best we can. • If the non profits need assistance, if we don’t have money we can always give the gift of our time. The economy is going to get worse before it gets better. I think if we stand as a community the best that we can, we will get out of this mess because we believed in each other. Our grandparents and their parents lived through much tougher times than these. History teaches our resilience to be true time and time again.