Having said this (by the way, I really dislike that saying), I have my own perspective on what is going on in this country...derived from my personal historical realities. ...the crisis we find ourselves in today, may very well be the "Good 'Ol Days". We will look back at 2008 - 2009 as a time of wealth and plenty...the old America...kind of like the way we look back at the Wild West. Here is what I'm talking about...
When I was in college... WAY back in 1969 / 1970 I drove a 1965 Mustang-289 convertible "muscle car". Maybe the coolest car ever. Gas was $.26 per gallon. I got about 32 miles per gallon (leaded gas was far more efficient - great for the environment, too. J/K). Because of my cool car, I got to drive in the University of Montana Homecoming Parade down Higgins Avenue right behind the University Drill Team. My girl friend rode with me (now my wife) and I had a case of beer in the backseat so I could hand out cold beer to Parade viewers along the sidewalk. I had a few of my own along the way. Behind me was the Missoula Police Escort. Everyone was happy and "loosey-goosey". Trust me, "Animal House" was the real-deal.
Life bore no resemblance back then to the life my kids faced in the 1990's. Everyone seems to look back at those days (1969) with wide-eyed wonder...as something very special. You know what? It was! That's why we have this obsession with the "Car Rallies" today. Guess what...the 1965 Mustang 289 convertible can be found in every one of those.
The 1990's was great but, comparitively, very restrictive. The cars were under-powered and got poor gas mileage. Beer was still "king" but there were a lot of other drugs readily available and far more dangerous. Kids could get really messed up if they weren't careful. The rules the police had to abide by were way more restrictive than "my era" which made it far more restrictive on the teenagers and college kids. (In many cases this is a good thing but it did change the prevailing attitude). Here is the BIG difference in the 1990's, however: STARTER CASTLES.
The building emphasis was on upper middle class home construction with 3-car garages, 3,000+ square feet and large yards (mini estates). The 3-car garages would be used for either 3 cars or, 2 cars with room for "Adult Toys" (4 wheelers, motorcycles, boats, etc.). It was amazing how leveraged out the buyers of these homes were. Everyone thought real estate would remain a "no-lose" investment forever. This trend continued until the housing crisis and the .com bubble brought everything to a halt in 2005.
Since 2005, we've been dealing with foreclosures, retirement savings collapse, corrupt corporations...you know the story. As we march on in 2009, we see a MAJOR shrinkage of our "personal wealth". We are selling one of our cars (or more), rethinking the "toys", quitting the health club, going to catastrophic insurance only (who can afford low deductible insurance) and, generally, living on way less. We are adopting the "European Model" lifestyle...more time, less money, less stuff.
The kids coming into the world today will look back at the turn of the 21st Century with awe, just like my kids in the 90's looked back at my youth. Trust me, our future is still bright. A few bumps along the way, but bright...it's always bright isn't it? It does look to me, though, that our future will be differrent...very different.
I am a Realtor. It is hard to imagine what my profession will be doing in ten years, but I suspect we won't be working with commissions too much anymore...mostly ala carte billing, smaller homes, more condos and row houses...just look at Europe.
2009 - These are the "GOOD 'OL DAYS!" ..and it is changing FAST!