There are, according to the last census, 308,745,538 people in the United States and we come in all varieties, racially, economically, socially, spiritually, gender-ly, etc. etc. Plus there are scad-zillion businesses, organizations, groups, churches, schools, and other outfits to consider. All of which tends to make “the National Economy” seem impossibly complicated. Throw in a little jargon (think: hedge fund derivatives, unsecured debentures) and we’re just as happy to leave it to the experts, since who could possible understand the problem, much less the solution.
I’ve decided that the issues troubling our economy are essentially the same as those of an imaginary large family, writ large. So:
Let’s say your family has fallen on hard times and is going deeper into debt. You’ve already cut out all the obvious luxuries – you don’t eat out, have cable TV, go on vacations, or buy new clothes. You cut each other’s hair, grow your own vegetables, and reuse plastic bags, but it isn’t enough savings. Now you’ve started skimping on significant things – the driveway is impassible and Grandpa needs to see a doctor.
What do you do?
Suppose there are ten people in your family. Three are too old, too young, or too sick to work, so they don’t contribute any money. Four work at lower or middle class jobs and chip in what they can, but it isn’t enough to keep the family afloat. Two make lots of money at professional jobs, but have resisted paying more than the family members employed at jobs like parking lot attendant or kindergarten teacher. One has millions in savings, but doesn’t think he should pay anything, because he isn’t presently working.
See where I’m going with this?