Our View: A frightening economic outlook

DKS Editors

As journalists, we take comfort in knowledge. If something confuses us, we usually have the ability to find out what’s really happening. If a crisis – big or small – frightens us, we go to the source of the issue, then discuss and disseminate what we learn so that we can present it to you in a way that is less daunting than when we learned about it.

In this way, we fulfill our responsibility to our readers but also ease our own fears.

The current economic turmoil is another issue entirely. The problem is so much bigger than we are, and we’re not entirely sure how to best tell you what to do, how to react or how to understand what’s going on.

The issue is frightening. President George W. Bush spoke last night in what was most likely one of his last major national addresses, using words like “serious financial crisis” and saying “our entire economy is in danger.” Congress is in the middle of debating a $700 billion bailout – money our government doesn’t have – that would take the national debt to $11.3 trillion. Looking further down the road, the bailout may take the U.S. national debt to a level we haven’t seen since World War II.

In his address, Bush said that today’s problems were a long time coming, which makes us wonder why nothing was done to ensure that it wouldn’t come to this. It’s hard to believe the might of the federal government didn’t foresee pending doom and do anything to prevent it.

But looking backward won’t get us out of this mess. We’re in the middle of a presidential election, and we need to make sure the man we elect has what it takes to be proactive with issues of this magnitude. Bush called Sens. Obama and McCain to discuss the crisis with him because they will ultimately be the ones who have to clean it up, and now we need them tell us what they will do if they’re elected. We can’t afford to wait and see.

As college students, we’re looking at entering the workforce during uncertain times. We’re here to take charge of our lives, but right now it’s not clear what we can do.

But we’re not entirely helpless. We make ourselves more vulnerable by being ignorant about what’s happening around us. We know it’s difficult, but it is more important than ever that we don’t allow our eyes to glaze over when economic discussions arise.

Like it or not, our lives are dictated by how much money we have and our ability to secure it when our pockets are empty. Want a job when you graduate? Want to buy a house? A car? Raise a family? What those 535 old men in Congress are deciding right now will affect all of that.

You don’t want to be unprepared for how this will affect you when you enter the “real world,” if you haven’t already. Make sure you understand the situation.

We pledge to do our best to make sense of this for you. But that won’t be enough. Ask a professor to explain the situation in class. Make time to watch the evening news as they discuss what’s going on. Or watch any of the cable networks – they’re focusing on the crisis nonstop.

Being frightened and confused only makes the impact of the worsening economy more difficult to cope with. It’s essential that we replace that fear with an understanding of the situation.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.