This global recession is like nothing I have ever seen before. My knowledge of economics is very limited since I am 32. Ever since I can remember the American Dream has been abundantly alive. Well, until now.
I remember Reaganomics vaguely but I really remember Bush Senior's administration. He will forever be ingrained into my mind due to a countywide high school walk out protesting the first Iraq war. At 15 I was marching down the street with kids from opposing high schools as we walked out on our classes. It was a big deal. I thought he was insane going into another country. It was like bloods and crips on an international level.
Politics became even more alive for me with the Clinton era. I was living in Santa Cruz, California at the time, a hippie town on the Central Coast that has been one of the most expensive places to live in America for many years. This was due to the Silicon Valley boom, which eventually busted. However, during the booming years I was in high school. You know what I came away with from that? The sky is the limit. Money was being made right and left, and it all stemmed from education. I knew I always wanted to be an athlete and education was going to be my meal ticket.
As I entered college and put a few years under my belt I faced a sad reality. For the first time in American history my generation, Generation X, was going to be the first generation to live below the standard of their parents. The sad reality was that a college degree was not going to be enough to secure a substantial job in today's specialized society. Personally I felt a little heat on my neck to make sure I made the NFL and secure my future.
Fast forward to 2002 and the economy was booming. I even purchased my first two properties. Eventually I would purchase four additional properties. My career was taking off and there was not a worry in my portfolio. On the international scene the bloods and crips were back at it again. And you never heard about the innocent bystanders blown away in the streets of Iraq by fly-by bombings. Ditto that in Afghanistan. One day it's a wedding party wiped out; the next day it's a school. It is still going on in 2009.
Now in 2009 I am lucky if my properties are worth what I bought them for several years ago. I basically did what people told me to do, what smart people told me to do. I followed a blueprint. I bought real estate. Luckily for me I can afford to keep making payments on my investments that are anything but. A lot of Americans are not so lucky.
Banks are being bailed out, but people are being left to fail. After all, the people make the economy, not the banks. The people go to work, not the banks. Our economy is not what we thought it was. The people who are supposedly geniuses making sure our money, banks, economy, and growth are going in the right direction are not who we thought they were.
At one point in time I would look to invest my money and make 10%. Now I have realized I am better off with 4% tax-free bonds! They are safe, secure. I know I sound like a bodyguard. I have to bodyguard my money. After all, Madoff made off with smart people's money, people a whole lot more smart than I am.
Nothing is what we thought it was in today's economy. So what do we do now? Where do we go from here? People are obviously scared to spend their money. They might be jobless tomorrow.
Why bail out the banks with this stimulus package? I suggest we take the $700 billion and give every American with a Social Security number over the age of 18 $150k each. Younger Americans should also get money as well but less then $150k. Wouldn't that blow up our economy? Everyone is going to be paying their mortgages, buying new homes, buying new cars, shopping, and spending money at every store in America. Why give money to banks that are not giving money back to the people? All the companies that are receiving bailout money are still giving out these ridiculous bonuses. So just go right to the people who pay the taxes and make the economy what it is. Give them the money. They are the ones who need it.
The most interesting challenge for President Obama, as I see it, is in creating jobs, the environment, and world politics. What ever happened to "made in America"? Wouldn't it be a great idea to pay Americans to make products bought in American and maybe even export? I believe the majority of jobs will come in infrastructure and alternative energy. Not only our country but also our world desperately needs both, especially alternative energy. I am also looking forward to America's status in the world improving. Americans are still being looked down upon for what Bush has done, when in fact the majority of Americans are anti-war. Let's stop spending money on war, and spend money on education, infrastructure, health sciences, and food.
World politics, economy, environment, job security, savings/investing -- even these topics go through the minds of NFL football players. Yes, change is coming. But when?
-- Brendon Ayanbadejo
Baltimore Ravens, #51