Thursday, January 29, 2009

Economics, job losses

Last week, I had the pleasure of watching the inauguration of our 44th president. I felt optimistic about our future, even though President Obama's speech was not full of the optimism he expressed during the campaign, rather full of realism. I know the economic disaster we have on our hands, as well as the diplomatic one, the wars we are fighting and some might say losing. Yet, I am basically a glass half-full kind of a person!

However, I am really starting to see the effects our economy. On the news this morning, there was more disturbing news about record job losses, record company closures, etc. In my community, there always seems to be a recession with few good-paying jobs, expensive gas and groceries, and a lot of elderly people with limited incomes. But now, we are seeing an influx of people from elsewhere in the country who have lost their jobs. They move here because housing is still inexpensive, and the weather is nice. I guess if you're going to be unemployed, at least it's nice to sit in the sunshine. But really, it's shocking to realize the numbers of people moving from industrial cities like Detroit, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh. The problem is that there are, like I said before, few good jobs.

I was speaking with a drug rep who survived large cuts at his company, only to be given a larger area of NM to cover. He is very grateful that he has a job, even if it means he doesn't see his family. I also now see several fathers in my clinic who are back home, having lost their jobs in the oil fields, suddenly becoming reacquainted with their wives and children, but jobless. I'm also seeing a rise in kids entering the military after high school because college is unaffordable.

It's just very different when you know people directly who are suffering from our economy, rather than only hearing about it on the news. I hope that our new president and congress can come together to create jobs, to improve education, and to improve our health care system. Sadly, I don't think there is a quick fix, even a great big economic stimulus package. I know that I'll just continue to take care of the families in the community; at least I can do that to a degree, whether they have health insurance or not!

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