If the never ending stalemate and gamesmanship in Washington continues a sense of anger and disassociation will be a stumbling block to economic recovery. In the absence of leadership that honestly confronts and resolves issues haunting the nation like health care, bank reform, stimulus, entitlements, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the mental state of the American consumer will remain in siege.
In the absence of confidence consumers hoard their money understandably concerned the worst may yet be ahead rather than behind. It is a shame that elected representatives are devoted to their selfish egos rather than to the nation they swore an oath to uphold. The two party system has dissolved into warring tribes each seeking victory regardless of the consequences. The political wars have eroded belief that our system of government can work. Confidence defines America and in its absence the nation is in troubled waters.
Our profession is part of the fabric of American life. We may be unique in so many ways but so are so many different fields of commerce and service. Our pre-need sales are both dependent upon confidence and driven by fear of an economic implosion. Irwin Shipper related recently his experience is when people are frightened our professional services in advance of need are sought after. Fearing that children could not bear the financial burden end of life demands aging parents assume responsibility to act aggressively in protection of their own needs insulating their loved ones.
For the five years span of 2003-2007 St. Michael’s experienced phenomenal sales growth. Pre need sales grew to an impressive 78% of all sales. 2008 was a year of fear with overall sales dropping by 25% with pre need naturally suffering the most. 2009 saw a resurgence resulting in recapturing most of the previous year’s losses. 2010 so far has been disappointing and unsettling.
Regardless of political leanings 2009 began with the promise of a better America. The election seemed a breadth of fresh air. Hope seemed reborn. That change in spirit has evaporated after one year of the worst political bickering seen in a lifetime. The absolute refusal to compromise has destroyed confidence that anything will move ahead or get the nation back to the road to recovery and renewal.
Economists have discussed the possibilities of a double dip recession. Clearly in the absence of compromise in Washington the mental state of the nation will continue being depressed, tired and dismal. It may be a question of what came first; the chicken or the egg. Facing the worst economic threat in generations the fact is that confidence which would grow the economy will not occur until DC returns to serve the people rather than their own narrow and self-serving interests.