November 20, 2008

Nation's troubles leave local economic impact in question


It seems unimaginable that as recently as Labor Day, in the midst of a presidential campaign, this nation’s top economists were struggling to determine if our nation’s economic downturn was in fact, a recession.

Now, just two months removed from the end of summer, Americans find themselves surrounded by news of doom, with an economy thundering down a financial abyss that appears to have no bottom.

The hopes that a $700 billion bailout to leading financial institutions would stem the tide of fiscal collapse has now collapsed itself into disarray and divisiveness, as politicians and pundits argue over who should get the money. The companies that have already cashed in haven’t helped themselves, as some of those taxpayer funds have been diverted to pay for lavish "seminars" and "retreats" that happened to take place at posh resorts.

Meanwhile, in cities, towns and on Main Street, Americans fear that the news out of New York and Washington will begin to impact their lives at home. In some cases, it already has.

They have come to realize we are in the midst of unprecedented times.

Once known as the "Big Three" – General Motors, once the very symbol of corporate America, stands on the brink of bankruptcy. Ford and Chrysler are just a bumper behind. Even talk of $25 billion dollars in bailout funds may fall far short of staving off their impending demise.

Citibank, which just weeks ago announced layoffs of some 27,000 employees, returned on Monday with news of pink slips for 53,000 more. Nearly a quarter of the bank’s workforce is now gone.

The Weather Network