Economic crisis on Wall Street hurts us all

Published 1:05 pm Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Now is not the time for burying your life savings in a coffee can in the backyard, but it is a time to get realistic about the economy and the role all of us have played in the state we’re in.

The mortgage meltdown that has led to bank failures is making trouble on Wall Street and Main Street alike. Make no mistake – the so-called “Wall Street bailout” is not just for the markets, it’s meant to help all of us. And whether or not you agree with the bailout – it has numerous problems, but so far it’s the only solution on the table – we all need to understand that what happens next affects the entire economy.

Most of us have a hard time understanding the mortgage crisis, the bank failures or the credit freeze. Put simply: Banks took risks on bad mortgages. Borrowers couldn’t pay them back, and homes in foreclosure are losing value. As banks struggle and even fail, other banks are much more wary about lending money. So maybe the widget company you work for needs to borrow money to operate next month – because its customers are late on their payments – so the company will have to scale back production.

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Or perhaps banks won’t be lending your neighbor any money to buy a new widget, so the Widget company will be forced to scale back production in another way.

In either case, there’s a good chance you lose your job making widgets.

So if you think that the financial crisis is only about those folks losing their shirts in the stock market and not about you, think again.

Whether that $700 billion bailout eventually passes or not, we have a long road of economic recovery ahead – and probably more setbacks before that recovery even begins. Expect more sacrifices. No one entity or person or problem got us into this situation, and no one is going to escape the fallout as we climb back out.

The good news is that these times, too, shall pass. The dollar bill is still what drives the world’s economy. All is not doom and gloom.

We must remain confident in our economic system, irregardless of what happens on Capitol Hill.