Lindstrom: Talk of Depression is, well, depressing
It is as if it was scripted out of a 1930s Hollywood movie. I almost expect to hear a Busby Berkley song playing in the background as hundreds of bathing-suit-clad women dive into a huge swimming pool.
Strains of “Buddy can you spare a dime” are playing during the introduction just before the big band jumps in with “We’re in the money.”
I doubt if either political party wanted all of this to happen right now during the final days of a presidential election. It is a distraction from all of the tall tails they were telling us about the economy and who was really at fault.
All of a sudden, the unimaginable has become the reality of the day, and everyone is scrambling to find a solution.
The House of Representatives refused to pass the so-called bailout bill early in the week, and the stock market had the greatest drop in history: 777 points, netting an actual dollar loss of $1.2 trillion.
The following day, everyone was expecting the same thing to happen, and the market went up by almost 500 points, causing the dollar loss to recover much of what was lost the day before.
Having taught this and studied it for years, the whole thing does not make any sense.
In the meantime the Senate passed its own bailout bill on Wednesday. Money bills normally start in the House, so that was strange also. I get so confused.
By the time you read this, it will have all changed again and I would not hazard a guess as to what might have happened. I am writing this on Wednesday night so there is another several days for the fools in Washington D.C. to continue their charade of attempting to fix the world.
My greatest concern at this point is that some pundits are saying that it might take from 15 to 20 years for the economy to recover from this mess. I might not be around to see that happen.
My father, Vernon Lindstrom, was born in Iowa in 1909. He was the second-oldest son of a railroad worker who had emigrated from Sweden to Iowa. My mother, Dorothy Powell, was born in Iowa in 1913 and was the youngest daughter of a farmer. My mother and father were married in Omaha in 1933. They went to see “King Kong” on their honeymoon. My sister Janet was born in Iowa in 1940, and I was born in Iowa a couple of years later in 1942.
My dad served in the Navy for several years during WW II in the South Pacific. When he was discharged he came home to Iowa to become a plumber and, eventually, the custodian at our local school.
From my earliest remembrance, my mother and father both talked at length about how difficult it was to live during the depression. They talked about not having a car and not being able to take vacations. Money was always paramount in their lives.
My grandmother bought a house for them to live in, and they paid $17 a month rent. I remember that my dad made $1.25 an hour as a plumber. The reason I remember that is I was also making $1.25 an hour working in a local welding shop when I was in high school. Do the math: That’s $60 a week for a family of four.
I remember my father talking at length about how he knew that another depression would come some day. I probably have thought about his words most of my life. As time went by, I stopped believing that it would ever happen because our economy was so huge and so strong that it could never happen.
I have been spending my days watching the unreality of the stock market fluctuating on my television screen to spending time remembering what my father used to say about the economy going to hell.
Well it still has not happened, but just thinking about a depression to me is very depressing. Let’s hope that the men and women in Washington can figure out a way to protect us against the mess that we have all created.
Gary Lindstrom has lived in Summit County since 1974 and is a retired police officer and a recovering politician. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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