A Pall Settles Over America
by David Reavill
I see it in their eyes, downcast and wary. I see it in their steps, shuffling and tentative. When they talk, they use a word that I rarely heard before, depression.
These are the producers, those who make the country work. Hourly and salaried employees and managers, who go to their jobs every day, work hard and provide for themselves and their families.
They’re the kind of people who have been with us since the country was founded. Back then, we called them Pilgrims, sod-busters, and settlers. Today they go by many names, Physician, Technician, Engineer, and Laborer. But for all of them, life has a rhythm, just as it did two centuries ago. A rhythm that comes from our agricultural heritage.
Spring has always been the time for planting, a time to look forward to the year ahead. Summertime is when crops are cultivated. Fall the time of harvest, when we enjoy the fruits of our labor and thank God for blessing us. Winter is the time of austerity, the time to prune, the time to cut back.
But not this year. This year, we are still in harvest time. Yet the pruning has already begun. Major companies across this land are already cutting back, eliminating staff in an effort to reduce. For thousands of laid-off workers, it comes at the worst possible time. Just before the holidays. A time when many who have children will have to cut back this Christmas. For those who lost their jobs, there will be little joy these holidays.
As anyone who’s lived through a corporate “downsizing” will attest, the anxiety at times like these runs high. No matter how many times the boss has assured you that you won’t be fired, you’re never certain about your future. Should you begin to look for a new job now or wait? Does the boss really know what lies ahead, or might he be on the corporate chopping block? There is no job security once layoffs begin.
But there is much more to our collective angst this year than at any time in our memory. There is the sense that these corporate cutbacks are merely reflecting a greater issue, an issue that is nationwide.
Our country is headed in the wrong direction. That is a sentiment shared by three-quarters of us. And we’ve felt that way for a couple of years. Producers know that things aren’t right. The country is not operating the way it should. Yes, there were all the difficulties associated with the Pandemic. But those are now behind us.
Today recovery should be well underway. But it’s not. In spite of all the trillions of dollars pumped into the system, our standard of living is falling. Each day the inflation marches on our real income declines. Those cost of living raises that we may see at the end of this year will come nowhere near making up for the raging inflation that we’ve already experienced. Costs of gasoline, food, and shelter accelerate in real-time. Raises come at the end of the year.
Producers see all of this.
Producers also know that many, perhaps most, of our problems come from Washington. We see that a feeble old man has his bony fingers on the nation’s tiller, and he is steering us straight for the shoals. He, and those who surround him, have a policy of austerity. In their eyes, less is better, and fewer is preferred. We should use less heat this winter, drive smaller, preferably electric vehicles, and eat vegan. From this perspective, we are the problem. And the less we consume the better. Our destiny is to be shortage and want. And that’s directly where they are taking us.
However, last week we were told that we could change all this. That by walking into our voting booth, our voices would be heard. That we could take this country in a new direction. That our leaders were indeed subject to the will of the people.
That didn’t happen. The simple act of counting votes has been turned into a miasma of computational complexity and slow-walking results. So that the incumbents in Washington get the results they want. It’s the complete inversion of the principal and values that the country was founded upon. But there it is. Today’s reality.
It’s the reason the word I hear most often from Producers today is: depression. And I’m afraid that’s where we’re headed.