The Financial Times has recently posted a few informative and anxiety-provoking articles about the US economy.
The first is about the degree of underemployment as gauged by food stamp applications, and notes that now 40% of applicants have some earned income. (“I’m sort of stunned, it seems like a dire warning . . . that even the jobs people are retaining in this recession aren’t at the wage level and hours level that they need to provide for their families,” said Heidi Shierholz, economist at the Economic Policy Institute.)
The second is about the financial capability of cities. ("For 2009, 88 per cent of city finance officers said their cities were less able to meet fiscal needs than in 2008 [up from 64% when asked last year]... Nine out of 10 predicted the situation would be worse in 2010.")
The data's important, because we need accurate status checks, but the anxiety and handwringing has everything to do with expectations. If we were on our way *up* we'd be in an entirely different mental space right now! We have a lot of resources: financial resources (still!), knowledge, skill, creativity, trust, love, health, beauty. We do need an accurate snapshot of what we have, but more importantly we need to know where we want to go, and going "to where we were before" cannot possibly be the right answer!
Here’s the secret – if you’re in a skid, whether understeer or oversteer, look where you want to go. Let me say that one more time, because it’s so important – look in the direction you want to go. Your hands will naturally turn that way too, and you’ll be doing the right thing.
So, folks... where to?