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Living In Fear

Can you feel the rising fear in America today?  It has gotten to the point where it is almost palpable.  Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and fear what is going to happen when their unemployment benefits run out.  Millions of others fear what would happen if they lose the job that they still have.  A rapidly growing number of Americans are getting behind on their mortgage payments and fear that they might lose their homes to foreclosure.  Still others are looking retirement directly in the eye and are realizing that they aren’t going to have enough money to make it.  So why all the fear?  Well, over the past several decades an increasing number of Americans have come to define their lives by the amount of stuff that they have accumulated and the amount of money in their bank accounts.  For these Americans, living the American Dream is dependent on these material possessions.  So what happens when these material possessions are threatened?  What you get is millions upon millions of Americans living in fear.

What is your greatest fear?

Death?

Losing a loved one?

Speaking in public? 

Well, if one new survey is to be believed, running out of money is the greatest fear of all.  According to a recent poll of Americans between the ages of 44 and 75, 61% said that running out money was their greatest fear. The other 39% said that death was scarier.

That is where we are at as a society.

Literally billions of people around the world have next to nothing, so if they were to lose the little that they have it would not be that big of a deal.

But for Americans, we are so used to such an insane level of prosperity that the thought of losing it all creates a great deal of fear.

These days Americans spend a great deal of time worried about the economy.  Terms like “double-dip recession” and “economic downturn” are brought up even on mainstream news programs constantly now.

Economists such as Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini make worldwide headlines with their pronouncements that more hard times could be on the way.  In fact, Roubini recently said that he thinks that the odds of a double-dip recession have risen to more than 40 percent.

So are there legitimate reasons to be concerned about the economy?

Absolutely.

I have written about them over and over.

But the appropriate response is not fear.

Nor is it an appropriate response to bury one’s head in the sand and pretend that nothing bad is going to happen.

Rather, the appropriate response is to see things the way they really are and make the best preparations that we can.

Even in the incredibly difficult economic times that are ahead, some people are going to have the greatest adventures of their entire lives. 

For some people, times don’t have to be “good” in order to experience great love and joy and peace.   

But for millions of other Americans, a full blown economic collapse will mean that they will totally lose it. 

Sadly, when things really and truly do melt down, there will be rioting in the streets and hordes of Americans begging the federal government for assistance.

The truth is that we can already see signs of this.  Thousands of desperate people from all over America lined up one recent Friday morning outside the Palm Beach County Convention Center hoping that a non-profit organization called the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America could help them save their homes.  NACA had received $41.5 million in federal money from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, and it was expected that 50,000 people would ultimately show up from all across the nation to try to take advantage of the program.

You see, in 2010 Americans have been taught that when they feel fear they should turn to the government for a handout.  Recently, in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia 30,000 people turned out to pick up only 13,000 applications for government-subsidized housing.  A near-riot ensued and the sad thing is that there weren’t even any openings in the program.  The whole thing was just to get on a waiting list.

But America has now become so socialized that tens of millions of Americans are clamoring for government assistance.  Government anti-poverty programs have absolutely exploded in size in response to the recent economic downturn.  Now, a record one in six Americans are enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.

Take a moment to think about that.

That is absolutely staggering.

People are even putting off having kids because of the bad economy.  The U.S. birth rate has dropped for the second year in a row.  It is now about the lowest it has been in a hundred years.  There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but many experts believe that one of the big factors is that people simply do not believe that they can afford children right now.

But not only are people putting off bringing new life into the world, an increasing number of Americans are actually ending their lives because of soul crushing economic problems.

The following is an excerpt from an actual letter to U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner….

“My dad, S, killed himself March 16, 2009 because he ran out of money and could not find work. My whole family had been devastated by the economy. He was 61 years old and could not take it anymore. He could not figure out how to keep the electric on, buy food, or keep a roof over his head. A day before his electric was to be shut off, and 2 weeks away from eviction, my dad took the hardest walk of his life. He left a note on the dining room table for my sister and I. His suicide letter said ‘I love you. I had to do this. I ran out of money. I wish you both luck in your lives’. He left the door unlocked with the door key left in the lock. He carefully laid out two suits for us to pick from to bury him in.”

This is really happening in America in 2010.

People are giving in to fear.

But they do not need to.

As we read in I John chapter 4, “perfect love casts out fear”.  If the American people had something more to live for than materialism and entertainment then they could overcome the fear of hard economic times.

But for most Americans, “building a life” means buying a home, building up a bank account and accumulating as big a pile of possessions as possible.

When the good times are gone, a very large percentage of Americans is going to totally lose it and will think that life is not worth living anymore.

What about you?

Are you going to give in to fear or are you going to have something to live for when that day arrives?

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  • Not so Mad Max

    Another excellent article, Italy has been going though this for decades, Japan has been fighting this for years. In Italy it’s not uncommon to find two to three generations under one roof. In Japan kids are simply not getting married and having babies, it’s easier in Japan to find a store selling pet accessories than baby clothes.

    I hate to say it but your spot on about Americans people have grown up with too much, got into debt and now the piper demands to be paid. Families have members who can’t stand one another try and find three generations of Americans living under one roof. Folks have become selfish, run their lives into a ditch, and now have kids that are out of control. The time is coning when the government will not have the money to support all these people with 13 trillion in debt and hundreds of trillions in un-funded liabilities, the money simply isn’t there. Add to that almost every state in the Union is billions of dollars in debt California and Illinois are fighting a lousing battle with bankruptcy. This isn’t alarmist tin hat stuff look it up, DC can only kick the can down the road so far, we might have months we might have years but it’s coming.

    People need to become more self-sustaining, get out of debt, cut back on crap like cable. In my own life I’ve found over $246.00 a month in just getting rid of cable, switching phone providers scaling back my Internet speeds, and other things little crap anybody could do. Over two grand a year more I can apply to getting ready for the coming storm.

  • infocyde

    Another great post to balance previous ones, thank you. Also good comments about cutting back Not So Mad Max.

  • Gary

    This is a good article. I think a big reason people are so upset is the huge inequality in wealth and income, and how the deck has been tilted in favor of the rich at the expense of the poor/middle class-think the decline in unions, only taxing the wealthy up to 106,000 of their income on SSI, even needing to discuss whether we should extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich (they need to be taxed much more heavily) the list is long and I could go on forever.

    No country can survive with a small number of haves and a large number of have nots with a tiny sliver of have a little. One of the posters calls us the “Banana Republic of America” and he is exactly correct.

  • Gary

    Note to moderator: I am not sure what time zone you are in. It is 7:15pm on 8/31 in Wisconsin where I am at. It is not 9/1 at 12:15am as is indicated on my prior post. Just an FYI.

  • Justa Guy

    I wouldn’t come down so hard on individuals. Sure there are some that were spending way above their means. But this economic crisis is much bigger than the individual’s debt. If that was the big problem, we would be starting to pull out of this already, because the statistics show that people are starting to spend less, pay off debts, and saving. The problem is with runaway spending by our government, and the lack of good jobs, also caused by our government. When people have their income reduced, whether due to collecting unemployment, pay cuts, or taking a job with reduced pay (because that’s all that’s available), many people who normally would have been able to pay their bills find they no longer can. Give Americans GAINFUL employment and much of the despair would go away.

  • http://thisone wow

    People from what im reading you have very short memories; look back at the 80s.you dont raise the taxes of the rich; you cut capitol gains taxes and property taxes across the board then the rich trikle down to the less fortunate because they are blessed by the tax cuts. it is very simple economics.
    oh yea it was President Reagan that made that work.

  • Maurice

    Again, some people are seriously out of touch with reality.

    Last time I visited, I saw very few families in the Louisiana delta region ‘living beyond their means’. These people WERE self sufficient until they had their lively hood taken away from them. This kind of thing has been happening EVERYWHERE in this country for decades in one way or another and it has nothing to do with ANY hard working American ‘HAVING IT EASY’!!!!

    It has everything to do with corporate greed and government deregulation!!!!

    Next time before putting your foot in your mouth, show some compassion by thinking about you yourself wondering where the funds will come from to feed your child his or her next meal.

  • Gary

    wow-please you must be kidding-you mean trickle up economics? We need to heavily tax the rich and spread the wealth. Look at all the tax cuts the rich have gotten-heck there is not even an estate tax this year. we should be in hog heaven if tax cuts for the rich worked.

    I am assuming your post was a joke as no serious person could really believe what you said.

  • wow wee

    Wow, you better check your facts. Trickle down Reaganomics didn’t work – the federal deficit increased under the Reagan Administration.

  • Joe

    Very nice article. In my own life I have found that fear is a waste of cognitive resources that I could be using to solve my problems. I have also found that I have a lot less problems that need solving when I don’t live by fear.