“It’s the economy, stupid!”

Economy_StupidDuring Bill Clinton’s campaign, his campaign strategist, James Carville, coined the phrase, “the economy, stupid,” as a way to refocus voters’ attention and to say that George H.W. Bush had not adequately addressed the economy.  The phrase was meant for an internal audience of campaign workers, but it became widely used.

All you have to do is drive around our City or any city in the U.S. and you get the immediate impression that “It’s the economy stupid” is current again.  The economy looms over us like a huge black cloud.  And it affects family after family.

The evening news last night presented us with the grim news about the auto industry.  American auto makers are drowning in a sea of red.  Cars aren’t selling, sources of money for lending are meager, and some are saying that the industry as a whole has only months of money left to operate unless something significant happens.

But this is about more than the auto industry or the banking industry or any other industry by itself.

The story went on to talk about how the auto industry’s woes trickle, no flood, down into the rest of the economy.  If the auto industry has no money to purchase from suppliers then suppliers have no money to produce their products.  Layoffs occur and then families have no money to spend in their respective communities.  Small businesses close, taxes dry up, and city governments have less money to spend on services.  Yada, yada, yada.

The economy is such a good, but painful, reminder of how interconnected we all are; none of us lives in a vacuum.  I especially like the way the famous preacher, John Donne, said it.

No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.

Earlier this year one of our neighbors moved, and a For Sale sign went up in front of the house.  The family was a victim of the current housing crisis.  I don’t know where they went, but I do know that the economy’s effects trickled down to our street.  That makes it very, very real, and very personal.