“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job. it’s a depression when you lose your own.” -- Harry S. Truman
As an American traveler of the world, one of the most pervasive beliefs heard about the USA, upon entering any country on the planet, is: “We are poor, and you are rich.” Most people in the world really do think all Americans are rich.
And, I like to say, “Trust me, if you go to the USA, you will hear daily about how your neighbor is poor and there are no jobs in the USA.”
This is a global constant, complaining about being poor and overworked.
We never hear in the USA, "I am rich. I am American."
In reality, compared to the rest of the world, we Americans are rich in spare money with no time to spare.
We are poor, and the USA is rich, and yes, I have heard that so many times, it feels like my mother nagging me to clean my room.
A couple of days ago, a University of Kara student spoke with me, giving me the cliché story about the American economy. It was again, the “if story,”
saying, if "we" were from the USA, then "we" could succeed. So I asked him:
“How many suicides are there here in Kara, Togo, West Africa?”
This is my "don't go live in America" pep talk, my explanation on why he should not dream about going to the USA or Europe.
He answered, “Never.” Of course he said that in French, “Jamais,” or more along the lines of “rien.”
Nonetheless, understanding is graded on a curve, and empathy is a nice word used to explain the American economy by politicians right before they raise taxes to help the poor.
All in all, the world is a great place, though some spots are greater than others, and talking about this in a Starbucks, drinking 5 USD coffee is intellectually soothing, warm to the touch. What I mean is this, New Yorkers are going to enjoy big city Paris more than me, an Indiana farm boy. We are not all the same.
If your mother said she loved you and then slapped you in the face, then of course, you need a slap here and there to feel love. It is the way it is in the normal world.
My Conclusions About the American Economy
The American economy is stuck in the mud because everyone talks and nobody gets out of the car to push.
In the photo above, the boys with the water buffalos did not know what to do, and they all talked and talked. Finally, we dug a small trench, drained the water, and all us people pushed, while the water buffalo watched. We as a group, working together, pushed this very small truck out of the mud.
Two good ideas prevailed: We drained the water, and we all pushed together. We worked together (as three girls sat in the truck sending text messages. It is never a perfect world, even in the USA.)
Whether rich or poor, we all need to stop talking about the American economy and get out of the car and push.
The solution to getting that Toyota truck out of the mud was simple, said in two words, "We push.”
And, please consider this, subsistence farming is 100 employment.
If you find a suitable site, make sure you line it so nothing leaches into the groundwater.