Labor Day 2009

Labor Day has come and gone, finishing off the half-summer during this, the fall of our discontent.

The government estimates that 14 million Americans are out of work. The unemployment rate is 9.7 percent and rising, although the numbers of those losing jobs is declining.

We all know that the world economy was turned upside down last December and January, when the underpinnings of the American banking system appeared to collapse.

In fact, all of us have been affected by this recession, more so than any other before it.

So Labor Day 2009 is a bust.

There isn’t much to celebrate except that the economy didn’t entirely disappear, taking everything we own with it down the proverbial drain.

The nation is politically divided, although the Democrats have greater numbers than the Republicans.

But the Republicans are noisy in their anger.

The president’s honeymoon is over.

This is like saying that the hope for change has been replaced by the natural pessimism that comes with Americans tending to vote with their stomachs – and their fallen retirement accounts and home values erased belie empty stomachs.

But at least it appears that the ugliest, hardest to manage manifestations of the recession may be easing up.

The end isn’t here.

In fact, it is a new beginning, this Labor Day 2009.

Now we peer into the next four months leading to the new year.

Business all around will be better than it was this time last year, proving the ages-old adage that when you’ve gone as low as you can go, the only way is up.

Last year at this time we were sinking but didn’t know it. Our assets were evaporating but we couldn’t control the building downward spiral. AIG, Lehman Brothers, the automobile industry, Bernie Madoff, etc., were breathing their last collective breaths.

As we move away from Labor Day, the health reform issue will take center stage.

Without health reform, the nation will come close to bankrupting itself – and yet – those who need health reform the most seem to be shouting it down the loudest.

What might have been presented simply as Social Security was in the late 1930s is a 1,000 page manifesto of confusion and complexity that even the president cannot claim to fully understand.

All idealism is falsehood in the face of necessity. There are no eternal facts as there are no absolute truths.

But we know this – Labor Day has come and gone. With its passing, many dark days are behind us.

The New England fall beckons.

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