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Out with the old year, in with the new

December 30, 2008

Despite the incessant drumbeat of poor economic data — consumer confidence fell to a record low in December and the price of single-family homes plunged in October — the majority of Americans are optimistic about what is in store in 2009.

The Marist College canvassed 1,003 Americans about their expectations for 2009 on December 9 and 10 — days after the National Bureau of Economic Research confirmed the United States had been mired in a recession since December 2007.

Expectations for a brighter future were higher among younger generations with 64 percent of those under 45 having an optimistic view compared with 52 percent for those 45 or older.

Based on last year’s results, those who aim to improve their lives in 2009 will have at least partial success. In 2008, 60 percent kept their self-made promises for at least part of the year.

Are you optimistic about 2009? What resolutions will you make to improve your life in 2009?


I am fairly optomistic. Maybe not about 2009 but about 2010. My husband and I decided when we married 18 years ago that we would live within our means. In December we made our last mortgage payment. I am working down my credit card which is at $3,000. I will not use it again until it is payed off. My husband is retired with a somewhat modest income and I became disabled two years ago. I made a decision for the new year to buy only made in USA products. This is going to be tough though. For Christmas I received several articles of clothing and a religious book. The only article made in America was the book.


In my area, the factories sit silent, the truck company trailers next door to where I work sit collecting dust. I have been watching the slow down in activity for the last 18 months, and don’t expect it to improve for at least another 18.

They used to call the 401 the busiest highway in North America. Now, there are actually long stretches of roadway with one, or none, tractor trailers. There’s a railway crossing I have to pass every day. Only once in 12 months have I had to wait at it, while previously, it was almost every day.

I could tell when the orders started drying up, the drive to work gradually became less congested, and the weeks of temporary layoff began to add up that overall business has been slowing down for a long time. I was laid off for 16 weeks in 2008, and unless something happens (magic?) expect a permanent layoff in a month or so. It’s not if, just when.

And small things I’ve noticed too. The produce at the grocery store started looking old about 6 months ago. I don’t shop at a cheap grocery store. People just aren’t buying like they used to. Instead of 6 tomatoes, only 4, or even 2, sliced a little thinner each time.

I have no doubt that this economic downturn will end. I just don’t know what we are going to do with all the empty factories.

On a lighter note, I made the same New Year Resolution I do every year: Be more honest with my feelings.

How am I doing so far? It’s the only one I’ve ever been able to keep.

Posted by Robert Pratt | Report as abusive

It is a pity what American politicians, bankers and corporates have made of this Land of Opportunity. An economy already deep in debt is being rescued by taking even more debt, that is hardly something to cheer about and makes one wonder have policy makers have run out of options for the economic revival and is there a way to break this vicious cycle of debt.

It is equally true that the American government works not for public interests but for corporate interests and that they have no interest to stem the outflow of manufacturing and services industries from America to other countries. As corporates now rush to cut costs by outsourcing to other countries they are in the process making America loose its industrial and service base leaving the country even more bankrupt. Americans are simply letting go of it all what Europeans are trying to hold onto.

American society for long has nurtured a culture where wealth has been more important than any other virtue. Politicians have for long justified their pro rich on the name of opportunity, efficiency and enterpreneurship and selling dreams to the common public.

A nation that sweared by efficiency and merit is suddenly bailing out worthless giants and America has lost it’s prosperity to the greed of few bankers and hedge fund managers. But yet there has been no justice those who should have been hanged or atleast imprisoned are living comfortable lives while the ‘lesser’ mortals in America are bearing the brunt of unemployment and insecurity.

America is all set for a painful catharsis and any reprieve that comes in the short term will be short lived. There’s a lot that Americans will have to change about themselves and it will be interesting to see how public opinion tries to shape the future of the oldest democracy in the world.


As a native American & an Indian I don’t expect things to get any better or worse God still grows my food and there are still plenty of junk cars around to drive. Why just recently I got a 1984 and I think it might go all year so we’ll be alright for this year

Posted by simon | Report as abusive

I am quite optimistic that a 2009 Washington will honor a long tradition of Washington policy.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

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