The recession grinds on and on. Some economic research bureaus say the recession ended over a year ago. Maybe so, but the pain lingers bitterly. All around me, I see close friends who are unemployed, lifelong pals who have lost their homes, a chronic fog of fear over the nation.
Just a few days ago, one of my very closest friends, a kind and lovely middle aged woman, called me in tears to tell me she was packing. Her home had been foreclosed upon and she had been served with an eviction notice, along with her two beautiful children.
“Will it ever end?” she asked me. “Will it ever end?”
So, while it will not get that sweet woman’s home back, I hereby offer some words of hope.
We have had well over a dozen recessions since the end of World War II. Some were extremely severe. They all eventually ended.
We have had at least three and maybe more genuine Depressions in the United States since the nation’s birth. They all ended.
All recessions end. Or, I should say, there has not yet been a recession that did not end. There is no reason to believe that this one will not end as well. The recessions end because credit gets easier or because government spends a lot of money or because the mood of the country shifts from pessimistic to optimistic, just as our personal moods change wildly in the course of a week or even a day. Or for reasons we don’ t know, it ends.
Of course, it still hurts like the devil when we are in it. But the recession will end. All booms end. All busts end. All inflations end. All deflations end. And the most dangerous words in the English language about economics are, “It’s different this time.”
At one time in the incredibly painful Civil War, the beginning of whose sesquicentennial we mark this Spring, Abraham Lincoln was asked what the wisest words he had ever read were. He answered, “This, too, shall pass away.”
Words well worth remembering.
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