Darrell Berkheimer: I’ve become an economic time bomb alarmist | TheUnion.com

Darrell Berkheimer: I’ve become an economic time bomb alarmist

I’ve become an economic time bomb alarmist

The failure of our current Congress to immediately enact another large economic aid package is pushing our nation toward a recessionary time bomb. And the result likely could be the worst economic disaster that anyone younger than 90 has ever experienced.

A litany of dire warnings were detailed in Tuesday’s edition of The Union by columnist George Boardman.

If you care about what life is going to be like for the next decade for your children, grandchildren and their children, you will read Boardman’s commentary – not just once, but twice. Then just sit and think about what the results will be when all those debts go unpaid.

We face enormous consequences unless Congress acts now.

Millions of our citizens need money now – just to pay for food and shelter. Many of their debts will continue to be delayed, and may never be paid. Bankruptcies will be a result.

And what about all the products those folks won’t be buying?

Businesses already are closing – especially restaurants. And many also will face bankruptcy.

But it’s not just workers, their families and small businesses who need an enormous influx of cash. How long can utilities continue to provide services without getting paid. And services by cities, counties and states will be curtailed, too. We might even see some go bankrupt.

The failure of Congress to act now will create a mushrooming situation that can only grow worse.

This is not a time for Congress members to continue playing political party games and pointing fingers. And the pressure for Congress to act must not only come from voters, but from every business and corporation – because all stand to suffer.

Yes, you can accuse me of playing Chicken Little. But the sky is about to fall if Congress does not act mighty soon. There will be no recovery next year without such action.

From the lessons of the past, we know that huge stimulus packages work. We learned that lesson just within the past 12 years.

And during the Great Depression more than 20% of our population had to be put to work — and paid — through the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Civil Works Administration, Farm Security Administration, the National Industrial Recovery Act, and the Social Security Administration.

With the internet, it’s easy to do the research on all that was accomplished through the Works Progress Administration. The list included the building of thousands of schools, hospitals, sewer lines, storm drains, roads, airfields and bridges, plus the plantings of millions of trees.

In addition, people didn’t have money to support artists, musicians, actors and writers. Special projects were created to provide a cash flow for those folks.

CNN earlier this year broadcast a story that such artists already were in need of a Depression-era jobs program.

And the demands for such government actions today have only been growing more critical as we watch our various physical infrastructure deteriorate. Water and sewer systems, highways, airports, rail lines, bridges, tunnels and dams are in need of repairs and replacements that will only grow more costly with delays.

We were promised a trillion-dollar infrastructure program four years ago. But congressional infighting apparently was much more important.

We know that programs that invest in our human infrastructure — our people — not only work, but can bring substantial returns on those investments. In addition to such programs enacted during the Depression, the GI Bill was a major factor in creating a vibrant middle class and decades of economic boom.

Not only does the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic demand such actions, but so do the shrinking middle class, soaring wealth gap inequality, rising poverty and environmental degradations.

George Boardman’s warnings are dire, indeed, but not strong enough or broad enough.

I see strong reasons to become an alarmist.

I know this is not what you want to read this time of year. But ignoring the situation will not make it go away. I will try to have a more positive message two weeks from now.

Darrell Berkheimer, who lives in Grass Valley, is a frequent contributor to The Union. He has seven books available through Amazon. His sixth, Essays from The Golden Throne, includes 60 columns published by The Union, plus a dozen western travel and photo essays. Contact him at mtmrnut@yahoo.com.

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