The View From Your Recession

A reader writes:

I would like to echo the comments of your recent VFYR writer, the one who "never gave much thought to social programs, frankly, I neither needed or qualified for them." This is true of me as well.

I am a self-employed paralegal and project manager, specializing in contract and IP-related law. This year was going very slowly for me, as it was for my clients, until several months ago, when one of my clients was suddenly overcome with demand for its datacom product as a direct result of stimulus funds becoming available to their customers (who were funded to deliver broadband services to *their* rural customers.) Now I have more work than I can handle.

Now I battle the traffic on the main street near my home to get to this work; the traffic is slow, because the street has been under construction for some months, construction funded by stimulus funds, according to the signage on the road. I call my brother on the cell-phone to kill the time while I'm in traffic. He's an IT professional at AIG, employed only by virtue of the bailout.

In the meantime, my retirement savings, decimated by the economic collapse, is very quickly recovering. My IRA has grown 35% in the past 6 months.  I have worked for 7 different companies over my 25 year career, and have never had access to a pension plan. Although it is a common trope that the stock market is not a reflection of the health of the overall economy, most middle class people like myself rely solely on our stock market-invested deferred retirement savings plans for a sense of well-being about the future. My sense of well-being is quickly improving. Love it or hate it, the healthy stock market is a direct result of the bailout.

So, for the first time in my life, my loved ones I are direct beneficiaries of social programs. It is a very strange sensation, but I'm getting used to it. I credit President Obama and his steady hand at the tiller. He is playing the long game, and I believe it will pay off for all of us in time.