The Second, Not-So-Great Depression

As the economy plummets with every passing day and increasingly leans towards the verge of completely collapsing, people are starting to wonder if a repeat of America's Great Depression is looming around the corner, ready to strike us when we are at our weakest. Just thinking about the economy's current state makes me want to listen to "Sing, Sing, Sing" by Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa. I know that's a bit too old-school for you cool cats out there, but that definitive song of the Jazz and Swing music era was played all throughout the late '30s which gave multiple inspirations to those of whom, a few years prior, were in miserable conditions.

As of Friday Oct. 10, in the past two weeks, the stock market has lost over $2 trillion from the crisis throughout the nation, which has stemmed from the decline of sales revenues in our country. That has led to most stocks dropping their prices across the board. Moreover, the crash of mortgage lending expenditures to the rise of inflation has subsequently been a major factor in the rise in unemployment. Big businesses are crumbling by either filing for bankruptcy or being taken over by other "big businesses" that have more money and are in search of creating a monopoly over our economic system.

In the past month, big businesses have been taken over by the government or are in the need to be bailed out by the government. The era of investment banking on Wall Street ended when all remaining investment firms switched from being "investment brokers" to "bank holding companies" and hundreds of thousands of people have been laid off due this slow demise of our economic system. No wonder people scattered across the country are scared and worried if they'll be experiencing what their great-grandparents went through 79 years ago. But there is a difference between America's economic status now and the economy's status back then.

Back then, in late October 1929, when the "Great Crash of '29" occurred, "Wall Street was one of the world's leading financial centers." So when stock shares severely plummeted within a month that led to the Great Crash, everyone was affected.

Today, the market is held up by big financial firms and businesses all across the world. Some even say that our recent economic problems in the stock market only affect those who hold stock to begin with. In fact, after recently searching the SMC Main Campus, 10 people were asked about how the economy's current state is affecting them. Only three of the 10 people said they were truly affected, either because they held stock or worked for the one of the several businesses that has been seized by the government filed for bankruptcy. Most of the people asked said that they weren't really affected, aside from the rise of inflation of items that are of necessity to the public, because they don't own a home or hold any stock shares.

Another difference from then and now is that today we have a credit system that is of great importance to our society. Back then, there were no credit cards available for anyone to obtain and use.

Credit is so important because without it, the people who are in debt and are trying to slowly pay it off, would end up living on the streets like the families of the Great Depression era. Higher authorities would seize all of their possessions because of the lack of payment to the original lending companies.

So, are we entering the second coming of "The Great Depression?" As of now, the facts are too fuzzy to give a definitive "yes" or "no," but being optimistic usually doesn't go hand in hand with being realistic.

This country and the world for that matter, is facing some tough times and will most likely continue to face tough times in the near future. People are losing their jobs and can't afford to even shop at the local 99¢ Store because they don't have enough money to pay for their babies formulated milk or a couple of grocery items.

An unspoken concept that people and businesses alike have is that they don't want government intervention. But as we can see thus far, even with government regulation, our economy continues to fall down a deep dark hole.

I believe that once government does intervene and regulate our economic crisis, we can see some improvement. But, that may just be wishful thinking.

The truth is that no one really knows what may or may not be in the future. We need to face the facts and do our absolute best to solve it by any means possible.

Let's just hope that America's 301+ million faces don't have to see that ever-so-dreadful face that everyone's
afraid of.