It’s the economy, smarty! It has been for some time, and now the collapse of the 158-year-old Lehman Brothers brokerage house is turning attention to the troubles that have been roiling the U.S. economy for months. Add Merrill Lynch’s sale to Bank of America Corp. as well as the uncertainty over insurance giant AIG’s future and the financial crisis is full blown, leading many to compare it to events that brought on the Great Depression.
For the first time in the experiences of many Americans, the D word seems real. Bloggers and those posting comments to news and opinion stories online are expressing deep fears about the country’s economic prospects. The party’s over. Economic realities are becoming nightmares. On Huffingtonpost.com, a headline declared the obvious: "Hello economy, goodbye lipstick," in reference to some of the trivia that has occupied media pundits recently.
The American dream that politicians promise is still possible seems more elusive than ever despite efforts by President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to reassure the public that Wall Street’s problems won’t creep into workers’ bank accounts and pockets. Presidential candidates Senators Barack Obama and John McCain took different stances on who’s responsible for the economic calamity and how to respond to it. McCain proposed setting up a commission to "get to the bottom of this and get it fixed." Obama declared that another panel is a diversion that would not solve the crisis. He called for "increasing government oversight and supervision on all regulated financial institutions and strengthening capital requirements –- particularly for mortgage securities and other derivatives."
Does anybody have a solid plan for digging the economy of the current crisis? Is more regulation the answer? How much faith do you have in the American economic system or elected officials’ ability to make good judgments about what to do to turn it around? Can you afford not to be nervous about your economic future?
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