recession impact the final chapter

Ok. All of these recession impact articles I have been creating.

Part one focused on the haves.

Part two focused on the have nots.

Where does this all take us?

Part 3.  My final chapter.

And just some musings on what this all means for the future (or possibilities).


This huge increasing gap between haves and have-nots makes you begin thinking about wealth redistribution. I am NOT a wealth redistribution believer.  But I am also a huge believer that when things are really out of whack you need to do something about it.  Or maybe better said ‘perpetuate the change that needs to take place to enable it not being out of whack.’

(just one more reason I couldn’t work in government because they would never say something as simple as that)


This gap is an issue. Ok.  Not an issue … a problem.

There was actually a recent American study (sampling young and old, men and women, rich and poor, liberal and conservative) to answer two questions.

They first were asked to estimate the current level of wealth inequality in the United States, and then they were asked about what they saw as an ideal level of wealth inequality.


–        Americans drastically underestimated the current gap between the very rich and the poor.

The typical respondent believed that the top 20 percent of Americans owned 60 percent of the wealth, and the bottom 40 percent owned 10 percent. They knew, in other words, that wealth in the United States was not distributed equally, but were unaware of just how unequal that distribution was.

–        Americans definition of desired state is significantly different than reality.

Respondents identified their ideal distribution of wealth as the top 20 percent to own just over 30 percent of the wealth, and the bottom 40 percent to own about 25 percent. They still wanted the rich to be richer than the poor, but they wanted the disparity to be much less extreme.

So why did I decide to include this additional factoid?

Well. Because misperceptions like this create social tension.

And social tension leads to inefficient society (at its least damaging). And leads to conflict (at its most damaging).

Tension? Yup. Not only is the gap very very real. But people underestimate the real gap (and are still unhappy). And they believe the real gap should be significantly different than the current truth.

So when reality becomes a common truth the proverbial shit is gonna hit the fan.

(because 55% of America is a shitload of people … some may even suggest it is a majority).

You can hear the rumblings even now.

I do know some things for sure.

A minority can make a difference in the way things are shaped.

A passionate majority WILL make a difference in the way things are shaped.

Am I suggesting an Egypt like revolt? Geez.  I don’t think so.  But. Hunger and “have envy” can create some true unruliness when it incorporates the masses (and not a minority).

With that said I will leave this particular musing on my part with a thought pulled directly from the May/June Foreign Affairs magazine:

“ … deteriorating ability to provide basic services and the government’s indifference to widespread unemployment and poverty alienated tens of millions of …”


That is headline on page one of the new Foreign Affairs magazine. Is it about America? Nope.  Its about Egypt. But quite scarily the phrase could certainly embody the America situation if we are not careful.


Back to that wealth redistribution and recognizing things are out of whack and the fact we should (need) to do something about it.

Can I offer a real solution? Nope.

Well. (Maybe I have a point of view type thought solution)

I do believe we can learn from the past.

America pulled itself out of the 1920’s depression though a variety of actions but let me focus on internal infrastructure development.

Face it. FDR was a crafty guy. First. He recognized the idle hands do no mean idle minds so he kept people busy ‘doing things.’  Second. He realized if they were going to ‘do something’ it may as well benefit the entire USofA.

He made  a boatload of people go ‘do’ building dams and bridges and roads and highways and … well … infrastructure type stuff.

The result?

A shitload of people were not idle.

A shitload of people were being productive.

And a shitload of things were created that reshaped that world and enabled the life we live these days.  It kinda seems the perfect opportunity to do exactly the same thing now.

Build. Create. Do.

On a personal note (about what t actually ‘do’ in this case) … I will suggest that a hi-speed rail system is the most obvious infrastructure project America focus on.

And the costs & returns & usability analysis that are slowing it down are so crazy wrong that … well … its crazy.  We are currently a car driven society. Of course all analysis would make hi speed rail look bad. True sweeping behavioral shifts are next to impossible to forecast.

That said.

Build the frickin’ hi speed rail.

Build living infrastructure to support it (cities and towns).

Drive gas prices up to European levels.

Build less cars.

And we will solve a shitload of problems.


Back to the post.

Wealth redistribution probably isn’t the answer.  But the problem needs to be resolved somehow.


Moral fiber of America.

Sound silly to bring up when discussing haves and have-nots and income gaps and crap like that? Shit.  I don’t know.  But it does seem like this whole thing is a test of our moral fiber.

Even a capitalistic society has to have some morals (it cannot just be about survival of the capitalistic fittest and all that stuff).

And can we truly sit back and watch that 55% have-not group slip lower & lower?

And watch them try to claw their way out of the hole they are in as the economy improves (recognizing it is next to impossible to get out of that hole within their lifetime)?

And watch 55% of America mired in despair when they should be invested in hope (because isn’t that what America is supposed to offer)?

I don’t know.

I think it would be tough to sleep at night if we didn’t do something.  And I don’t mean token ‘somethings’ but real significant game changing ‘somethings.’

PewResearch called this “2 Americas.”


I guess the real point of me writing so much on this and saying some of the things I said is …

aren’t we 1 America?

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Written by Bruce