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Kenneth Kales Headshot

You're the Economic Expert

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Debt is at record levels worldwide, both public and personal. In fact, it's been recently reported that globally an increasing number of nations are simply printing more money to cover debt.

One of the significant differences about the American economy, as opposed to others in Europe or Asia for example, is that our economy is dependent on retail consumer spending to fuel growth.

This has been led in part by a U.S. culture, which directs and shames the country into over-consumption and over-spending. In addition to individual responsibility, the American collective culture has also brought the country to a point of indebtedness and greediness. It seems too that many experts hope the country won't remember how we got into this situation once good times are rolling again.

Depending on consumers to buy our way out of the hole the country is in will not bring the U.S. to a new higher ground, but rather to an old familiar one -- one about the same we so painfully came to learn was really just quicksand.

In addition to all of the complex financial analysis readily available, what I suggest is more realization about the basics of our humanity to help spur the recovery. I'm talking about things such as working hard and working smarter; never giving up; and, don't over spend or try to keep up with the Jones.' Finally, only a small fraction of people can base their life on good luck, good looks and good connections. The rest of us have to work for almost everything we get.

If we are straight with ourselves, we will recognize that the core values for earning a living have not been replaced by technological innovations, nor will they be. It really is our own fortitude that will sustain us.

Surviving this recession takes a calmness to sort through the current high degrees of uncertainty and levels of risk. The thing I tell myself is to hang in there. The news about February's spending being surprisingly positive or jobless rates leveling off as reported by the experts does give me more hope and patience.

But ultimately, I realize the only person who can best answer the call during tough economic times and impact my life is me -- same goes for you. We are each our own economic expert in the ways that count the most by staying calm, being smart and working hard.