World News and Trends
Ill effects of apparent recession afflict Americans
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It's ironic that while China and India are enjoying greater economic prosperity than ever before, the United States is suffering the ill effects of what increasingly appears to be an economic recession. A London Independent reporter on site in New York City wrote: "Emblematic of the [American] downturn until now has been the parade of houses seized in foreclosure all across the country, and myriad families separated from their homes" (April 1, 2008).
The situation in Denver, Colorado, is a case in point. Notice a USA Today cover story: "Foreclosures are ripping through the row of new homes in the flatlands where Denver turns prairie. Every week 10 more families here need to find someplace else to live . . . For hundreds of homeowners in this mostly middle-class corner of Denver—and an estimated 1.2 million more nationwide—the wave of foreclosures battering U.S. financial markets is quickly unraveling the American dream" (April 2, 2008, emphasis added throughout).
But The Independent focused on yet another symbol of the economic downturn: "Getting food on the table is a challenge many Americans are finding harder to meet. As a barometer of the country's health, food stamp usage may not be perfect, but can certainly tell a story."
Earlier the same article had stated: "Food stamps are the symbol of poverty in the US. In the era of the credit crunch, a record 28 million Americans are now relying on food stamps to survive— a sure sign that the world's richest country faces economic crisis."
The growing use of credit cards just to stay afloat financially is yet a third aspect of the economic anxiety now afflicting the nation. Increasingly the payment of plastic credit now comes before paying the monthly mortgage bill. Credit counselor Ann Estes stated: "We've never seen anything like this . . . Their homes are at risk, and they know it. But people say, 'I don't want to let my credit cards go because that's my cash flow'" (USA Today, Feb. 29, 2008).
Is the media using hyperbole for effect? Possibly, and perhaps probably. Nonetheless, most Americans know that the country has a serious economic problem on its hands. If you would like to improve your own financial profile and reduce your debts should serious money challenges come your way, request or download our free booklet Managing Your Finances. (Sources: The Independent [ London], USA Today.)