OFFBEAT: 1929, 2009 style

Police and courts reporter News on the economy is getting worse by the day. You can't turn on the ra
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010


Police and courts reporter

News on the economy is getting worse by the day. You can't turn on the radio or TV or pick up a newspaper and not hear about some big company laying off hundreds or thousands of workers.

Things are so bad that economic experts who are often quoted in these stories are now beginning to drop in phrases like "we are headed for times that are going to be like 1929, 1930."

Excuse me. So now we are headed to another Great Depression? That was quick.

It took these same economic experts a year to finally admit we were in a recession and that only happened after millions of jobs were lost, hundreds of thousands families lost their homes to foreclosure, a gallon of gas surpassed the $4 mark and some of the country's most illustrious brokerage houses and banks flatlined.

Phrases like "we are headed for times that are going to be like 1929 and 1930" send chills up my spine. While the nostalgic side of me would embrace the chance to watch Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on a daily basis, I'd prefer not having to split a potato with my family and call it dinner.

It's hard to get my mind wrapped around just what a "Great Depression" redux would be like. Would we wait in lines with our ear buds, listening to our iPods as we await a handout of government cheese and bread while texting to our friends, "OMG this line is soo long"?

Remember this: The last thing most people in our society will give up are lottery tickets, booze, cable TV, cell phones and iPods.

With all this affluence and technology around us, it's just hard to believe that in the very near future a lot of us will more than likely be out of work. A lot us already are. In Huron County the unemployment rate is 13.5 percent -- the highest in the state. Just this week the Labor Department reported the number of Americans claiming unemployment for the week ending Jan. 17 reached a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the highest level since 1967 when records on those numbers were first kept.

While most people did back flips over President Barack Obama's inauguration speech and talked about how inspiring it was and how much hope he provided, I glommed onto the fact that he point-blank said our economy is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better.

Obama's $819 billion economic stimulus plan approved by the House could help or hurt depending on whom you listen to. Democrats favor it, and Republicans hate it. The vote tally was 244-188. Not one Republican voted for it.

Then, on Thursday, we all learned Wall Street firms doled out more than $18 billion in bonuses.

Obama called it "shameful."

"There will be a time for them to make profits, and there will be a time for them to get bonuses. Now is not the time," Obama went on to say.

With a kid on the way, I am hoping the economy turns around, although I'm almost certain things will get worse. Friday morning, the Today Show talked about how things are so bad that ticket scalpers were losing their shirts trying to sell Super Bowl tickets at big markups and corporations weren't flying clients on private jets to the event.

Hopefully the economy will turn around and we'll avoid those food lines. I for one hate potatoes -- too many carbs.