A Conservative’s Day Dream
I’ve been sitting around for a while now, as many people have, reading about the possible depths to which the economy may sink, knowing that millions of Americans are losing retirement savings every day, seeing the stock market nearly halve itself in a matter of months and watching our government seemingly do everything in its power to prolong/worsen this depression. Naturally, I’m worried about my future, but I’ve got time.
I’m much more worried about my parents and their friends, people like my father who woke up every morning at about 5 AM to commute into the city, work all day, get home around 7 or 8, and then start all over again the next day, all so that his children could have decent lives and he could enjoy his retirement and provide for my mother. My parents moved into my childhood home a month before I was born, and my parents still live there. They paid off their mortgage about ten years ago and own the home outright. My father managed to put together a healthy retirement account as well. But now they’re forced to sit back and watch as all their invested savings and their home loses value by the day. They (and I) are wondering how much is actually going to be left when they can no longer work. And there are millions of Americans just like them, watching their life savings dwindling away.
So I’ve been trying to find a silver lining in all of this, something to buoy me a bit, and it’s this:
Imagine for a moment that things continue the way they have been going for the past six or eight months, but extending for the next four years. The DOW continues to tank, dropping even as low as 3000. Housing values, despite multiple home owner bailouts, drop off a cliff. Unemployment moves into the high 20s. Unions, private and public, fail left and right as untenable pension plans and benefit packages prove too much for even the government to prop up. Obama and Congress’ approval ratings are in the 30s and teens, respectively (not that that would be a change for Congress).
Meanwhile, the value of a college education has plummeted along with the stock market as a lack of available “good” jobs makes a degree less important than a concrete skill set. Parents aren’t dreaming about sending their kids to college, they’re more concerned with making sure they can put food on the table. Universities shut down as funding rapidly dries up. Things are bad.
But in 2012, a rejuvenated Republican Party comes along and sweeps back into power on a platform of across-the-board deregulation, slashing tax cuts on business owners and individuals, massive rollbacks in government size and spending and crackdowns on government corruption. Basically a fiscal conservative’s dream. And imagine that this time we actually have the candidates to actually follow through. The American people, disgusted with four years of corruption, doom and gloom, expanding government and shrinking freedoms vote the GOP back into power with a clear mandate to make America great again.
Imagine the wealth that will be created almost overnight as people regain the ability and the motivation to work hard again. The stock market skyrockets with the renewed faith in our economy, fortunes are made in an instant, and then reinvested. More fortunes are made. The government stays out of the way for once as entrepreneurs and inventors and business people, frustrated to death over the last four years by lack of endless government bureaucracy, lack of available credit, high taxes and artificially-enhanced labor costs suddenly have the means to start new businesses. Individuals and families can suddenly afford to buy houses at dirt cheap prices as the government stops propping up home values.
As people realize they can live quite well without a college education, less people are heading to undergrad or grad school, more people are choosing instead to start their own business. More jobs are created while less full-time students live off government loans or their parent’s savings. The death of unions means businesses can afford to hire that many more employees at whatever wage the market will bear, without inflated benefits and salaries paid for by the rest of society. Foreign companies begin to outsource their labor overseas, here. An enormous and largely already-trained workforce but without union restrictions means creating manufacturing jobs here is suddenly cheap…
And then I wake up. But it was such a nice dream.