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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reviving the Economy Begins with You and Me

By Aaron S. Robertson

We're at an impasse here. Everyone is waiting for someone else to take the first meaningful step that will get the ball rolling for a true economic recovery here in the U.S.

Businesses, particularly the larger corporations, say they are waiting for the federal and state governments to create the conditions necessary for a more business-friendly environment. The federal and state governments will tell you they are waiting for businesses to start unleashing the nearly $2 trillion they are collectively sitting on. Meanwhile, average Joes and Janes are waiting on businesses to reassure them that their jobs and investments are safe before they do any more shopping or pour any more money into their investment accounts. On the flip-side, businesses are waiting for pent-up consumer demand via the average Joes and Janes to erupt like a volcano, and that hasn't quite happened yet.

Again, we're at an impasse. No one seems to want to budge. No one wants to make the first move.

Well, I'll tell you what: I'm going to make the first move. In fact, I already started doing so a few weeks back, admittedly, largely with the assistance of a new second job that raised my take home pay substantially in comparison to the previous second job I had.

I, an average Joe, am putting a lot more into my investment accounts, which, up to this point, have been largely ignored the last few years. Coming back to our talk of pent-up consumer demand, I am making some bigger purchases and commitments.

I made the first move. Will you join me?

The economic mess we're in is all psychological and starts with the individual. If enough individuals and individual businesses allow economic news, forecasts, predictions, etc. to scare them to the point where they decide to pull everything back, the result is a disaster that extends far beyond the individual level, affecting whole communities, regions, - in effect, the entire country.

And while it is true that government can play a substantial role in setting the tone of business climate, no one should be waiting for government to make the first move. Government, by its nature, is slow and bureaucratic.

So, my message is this, and it is quite simple:

Individual businesses: start hiring and start committing to long-term projects and obligations again. Don't wait for government to do a darned thing. Don't wait for other businesses to do a darned thing.

Individual consumers: start spending and investing again.

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