Our economy should continue to climb

Alfred "Pappy" Brunet
July 30, 2009
Joseph Henry Elkins
August 3, 2009

Focus on the next rung or you could find yourself clinging to the ladder.

As we enter 2009, there is a continued resonance of bad news concerning the state of our nation’s economy. Banks remain hesitant to loan money to all but the most credit worthy customers, oil – the fuel that keeps the Tri-parish economy moving – continues to fall in price, and local car dealers worry about whether their company will be in existence next year.

Such disconcerting news can cause the most optimistic consumer to get anxious, and want to cling to the ladder.

Being a person uncomfortable with heights, I am often advised not to look down when climbing ladders. It is good advice for most acrophobes, but not the ultimate solution to my dilemma. To avoid looking down, I sometimes look up, which also causes anxiety and the passionate, steadfast cling to the ladder.

Fortunately, I discovered a method to control my phobia and complete ascensions. When climbing ladders, I resist the desire to look down and refuse the urge to look up. Instead, I focus solely on the next rung of the ladder and progress continues.

The same applies to the economy.

When I look back on 2008, I see tumbling oil prices and growing concern for local businesses dependent on the oil industry. When I look forward I see an uncertain stock market and a car industry in disarray. I grow concerned for the local automobile dealers so dependent on the success of the Big Three automakers.

Looking back or forth on the economy fosters a strong desire to cling to the ladder – to cut expenses and hoard cash. It is the same desire shared by many consumers and businesspeople across the country and the reason why so many of them are frozen in place.

If you need a car, now is perhaps the best time to buy one – with manufacturers offering major discounts to move existing inventory. If you have ever thought of investing in stocks of good companies, now may be the best time to buy, while Wall Street is “on sale.”

It has been said that you can’t spend your way out of a recession, but hoarding cash doesn’t work either. Current economic indicators in the Tri-parish area are strong, and as long as we don’t all cling to the ladder, they will remain so.

We just need to focus on the next rung and our economy should continue to climb.