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laureth's avatar

How much are you willing to suffer to improve the economy?

Asked by laureth (27153points) October 21st, 2010

Inspired by the first answer to this question.

Many places online and in the media lately, I see people say that a massive economic failure will hurt in the short term but improve the overall economy, eventually. This is especially true when the conversation turns to bailouts and programs like the TARP and stimulus spending. The point of these is to keep the economy flowing and the money cycle intact. Without this cycle continuing, we could have some pretty desperate times, and some people say that this is already the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Here are some interviews with people who lived through the Depression.

While people often imagine that an economic collapse will affect “other people,” I’m wondering what privations you would willingly endure (for who knows how long?) as a “short term pain,” in exchange for a healthier economy later on when all the dust settles. Would you gladly and willingly…

- lose your job and be unable to find another?
– lose your home to foreclosure?
– live on the street or in a hooverville?
– forgo being able to eat, or being able to feed your children?
– go without medical care?
– steal, turn to prostitution or crime?

How much is enough suffering and hardship to ask people to endure to clean out the economic chaff?

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11 Answers

Pandora's avatar

I’m already suffering taxes everywhere.
But sacrifices aren’t unheard of. There are people who do a lot with very little. My parents and my siblings and I did. I also did it for a few years with my husband and children.
Its amazing what sacrifices are not a big deal when you need to make them.
The problem is that as we make more, we spend more than we make. A large gas guzzling car isn’t necessary, The latest clothing craze isn’t necessary, 1lbs steak for dinner isn’t necessary, mcdonalds isn’t necessary.
You get my point. The government isn’t the only place that waste money.
People don’t loose their homes only because they are layed off. Their are plenty who loose their home because they wanted that home with 5 bedrooms and gourmet kitchen, and Italian tiles and large property even though they are only 3 people and only one is bringing in an income.
Meanwhile they have 4 cars sitting in their drive way and their kid takes the bus to school and there is only 2 drivers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not only blaming the people who foolishly spend, I am also blaming banks that give ridiculous loans and know that more than likely they will never see all their money returned but figure it doesn’t matter because the government will bail them out and they can always raise interest rates on every one else, causing more people to go broke.
I wouldn’t go to the extremes listed above. But I’m no stranger to sacrifices when they have to be made to struggle through.

laureth's avatar

Not many people would choose to go through the privations I listed, but they happen during severe economic downturns. And without programs like TARP (which is essentially paid off), a severe downturn is what many expect. Yet I hear many people talk about a severe downturn as a good way to clean out the economy.

So, while I understand the sacrifices you’re talking about, what I’m really asking is, would anyone be willing to go through another Great Depression for the “cleansing” results we could expect from letting the Depression happen?

Austinlad's avatar

I’m not suffering, thank goodness, and I’d be willing—no, I am willing—to do more to help improve the economy than simply pay taxes. Increased taxes would surely be part of that solution, but it wouldn’t be enough. We need bold and creative new ways to solve our economic problems, and honest people dedicated the administrating any program that incorporates these ideas. I’d love to be part of a task force or think tank whose mission it was to find a way for all U.S. citizens to do their proportionate part to get the economy moving again.

laureth's avatar

It’s funny that people are zeroing in on taxes. Please remember that we would be enduring this theoretical Depression so that you would save on your tax bill and not have to pay out your hard earned money which you may not be earning, then to anyone else. There are reasons I left “taxes” off that list.

Cruiser's avatar

Honestly, you cannot compare then to now as there are government support programs in existence today that are a direct result of the Great Depression put in place to recover from and to prevent a repeat of that brutally dark history of our country. Can you imagine if you took Social Security, FHA, TVA programs from the New Deal that still exist and other Gov. programs like VA and Medicare and Medicaid, and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program formerly know as Food Stamps were taken off the table now and what shape this country would be in!!! Let’s get real and finally admit it that things are as bad if not worse than the “Great Depression”!

We just have one hell of a monster support element of our Government keeping this current “recession” from being a complete disaster!! All these Gov. programs that are a direct result of the “Great Depression” are exactly what are keeping our country from a complete collapse.

laureth's avatar

@Cruiser – I agree. Is it not a bit ironic that (very often) there is a high degree of overlap between “people who think that letting the country slide into Depression would be a good strategy for the economy” and “people who would get rid of all New Deal programs if they could”?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ve already suffered several things on your list and I’m not willing to lose/give up anymore.

MissPoovey's avatar

Why should any working american suffer more than they already are?
So the one percent can get richer? They already have 80 percent of the money. Let them suffer some. Maybe loose the extra house and mega yacht? Maybe this year no bonus, much less the millions they recieved last year after sinking my retirement fund.
Ahhh, this question makes me crazy. Are you one of the hedge fund bankers?

laureth's avatar

@MissPoovey – No, I’m just an average working stiff who doesn’t want to stand in bread lines so we can punish hedge fund bankers..

Maybe it’s not entirely clear, but failing to “bail out” the banking system would cause banks to fail. This would punish hedge fund managers and clear the “chaff” out of the banking system, yeah. But it would also mean a big FAIL to the circulation of money, which is what would cause all those things I mentioned.

MissPoovey's avatar

Scare tactics.
There are plenty of other banks. There would not be a failure of money circulation. The Fed. is printing money so fast, there is no way to keep it from circulating.

Pandora's avatar

@laureth, The problem isn’t that government is bailing out the banking system. The problem is that many of us don’t believe it will work. Not because its a bad plan but because banks just saw it as free money and continue their bad habits that put them in the predictament in the first place.
Bad loans, and huge bonuses.
I would hate to see a starving kid in the street but I wouldn’t offer him a loaf of bread if all he did was eat half of it and then throw it down the river.
I certainly wouldn’t up grade him to steaks and ask him to share with everyone else and hope he won’t throw that down the river as well.
Before you know it you have a bratt who thinks he is entitled to raining steaks and he doesn’t need to lift a finger to earn it.
Just so you know. The bank is the little kid.

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