Commentary: Are we there? No, but we’re on the way
“Are we there yet?” Our children used to ask this question when on road trips. The answer was, “Not yet, but soon!” In a short time, they’d always ask again.
There’s no doubt that the economy is improving. The improvement is slow. Some liken it to a giant ship making a major course change, imperceptible but nonetheless coming about slowly.
The economic improvement is good news, but it also will compel us to change our way of thinking about how we live our lives. We will have to be more careful with our habits of consumption. We will have to cut up some credit cards. We may have to save more than we have in the past. The stock market is climbing back, although it will be years before we regain the 30 percent to 40 percent lost during the plunge. Housing foreclosures are slowing, but housing prices have not come back to where they were. Nor might they ever.
Unemployment remains a problem. Here in Northern Nevada it hovers at 12.5 percent. Young people will have to think differently about career choices and be prepared to change jobs many times during their work careers. Their education will continue for a lifetime.
We will have to think of the government as a partner, not as an enemy. We need universal health care and dignified retirement for all. Poverty has become more insidious and there’s a need to help feed families and find shelter for the homeless. We need to provide effective education for both our youth and adults; we need educated citizens for new kinds of careers, jobs that are productive and provide livable wages. Government can and should help achieve these goals.
This recession has been a major wake-up call for our state and nation. The Obama Administration has pumped billions into the economy and the stimulus is making a difference. Infrastructure, “shovel-ready projects” are now being addressed. They are producing more jobs.
Here in Nevada new “green industries” are finding their way into our communities and new business opportunities will emerge. None of this economic stimulus is fast enough. “Are we there yet? No, but we’re getting there.”
I realize there are some in our community who want President Obama to fail. We’ve heard Rush Limbaugh shout it out, and others agree.
They consider the Obama stimulus plan a “socialist plot” designed to take their money and redistribute it. Unadulterated nonsense.
In our democracy all have a right to good health care, lifelong educational opportunities, productive employment/livable wages and dignified retirement. Anything less is unacceptable.
As a nation, we are creative and industrious enough to pay for our “rights.”
• Dr. Eugene T. Paslov, former Nevada superintendent of schools, is a board member for Silver State Charter High School in Carson City.