Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pioneers of the New Normal


By Sarah van Gelder

Americans are facing a troubling reality. The economic recovery they were promised has not materialized. There’s growing talk about a “new normal”—a new way of life to take us through a long period of failed recoveries.

There are, indeed, good reasons to believe we won’t go back to the old ways. But this new normal doesn’t have to be a time of chaos and decline. Instead, many Americans are building stronger families and communities, rejecting the waste and greed that made our economy implode, and turning instead to self-reliance and the sort of neighborliness that embraces diversities of all sorts.

Why not go back to the consumer ideal that was the foundation of the American Dream? Many who live paycheck to paycheck have lost jobs, homes and hopes for an education, retirement security and belief in a more prosperous future. CEO pay is on the uptick, as are corporate profits. But the anti-tax, anti-regulation fever that enriched some undermined the real wealth of our country—our education system, infrastructure, communities and natural resources. And much of our economy has been outsourced, making it difficult for stimulus spending to get growth going again.

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