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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Year 2009


Perhaps since the Great Depression or at least since any of us can remember, 2009 rates right up there as the biggest mixed bag of hope, soap and dope we have ever witnessed. Now, we do not have bread lines or apple sales on street corners, that was 1934 not 2009; but we have very similar situations. Every one of us knows at least one person out of work. Most of us know of a business that has gone under or is teetering on the edge. And as we look within ourselves, how many of us are adjusting or shifting careers and getting into something else that we believe will help us keep our houses and sooth our creditors? 2009 has indeed been economically wacky.

Now, there is Hope. The financial markets are re-stabilizing. Gold and mutual funds have strengthened. Some markets are growing. Businesses like Anna’s Pizzeria in Apex are expanding. The Automotive Industry is slowly straightening itself out. And inflation continues to head in the right direction. Unemployment is easing but we have to continue to watch the “meatless sandwich” that the Obama Administration calls the jobless recovery.

There is Soap… How many politicians and superheroes have messed up their personal lives with the blatancy of their positions? Governors, Senators, heck almost everyone of positional power person takes advantage of it. In North Carolina, the problems of our former governor and the continuing reflection of our current governor in regards to flights have shortened our patience and increased our cynicism. In sports, all the Tigers made headlines. The one living in Orlando is, as they say in the South, a mess. And the Detroit first baseman that partied into the early morning of a home game at season-end cost a critical loss and a pennant.

And finally, there is plenty of Dope. Most recently, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi gets his face bashed in by an attacker because of his private indiscretions and scandals. How did someone get so close? The White House gate crashing is the security comedic highlight of the year, but there are other stories. Remember the Balloon Boy fiasco? How about the extremely short-lived “buy a grade program” in one of our local elementary schools? In another area, the continuing problems of rebounding oil prices for profit, is the major reason for the struggles of our local economy. Just read the back pages of the Wall Street Journal. When gas prices rise for no apparent logical reason and more money comes out of the wallet, people cut back. They eat at home and bag their lunch. They master “couponing” and the local restaurants and stores have much less traffic. The more revenue that oil makes, the weaker our economy continues to be. Keep gas at $2.00 a gallon for six months and see what happens. This “ain’t rocket science”. The instability of Dubai and the apparent lack of OPEC focus will lessen the chance of the two buck gas idea, but I love the thought for our families and businesses that depend on transportation. The challenges and confusion of H1N1 vaccine distribution continues. Now that everyone can get it are we out of the woods? Afghanistan is taking a lot of our attention as it well should. But as we send more troops in, we announce at the same time we are withdrawing them. Which is it?
Regardless of politics and personal beliefs, we have one commonality, 2009 has been one wild and crazy ride.

In the New Year, 2010 will show steady economic growth. Mr. Obama will continue to improve as President. The mid-term elections will soon dominate the news. Watch the Tea Party party as it gains strength. Hopefully we will continue to improve our professional and personal situations through focus and hard work. That is one thing that has not changed since 1934. It has not changed since 1776. As a nation we are a great people.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.
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