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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/24/10

Been Down so Long Things Look up

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Message Margaret Bassett
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My young friend was 16 when 911 happened. She and her husband managed to remain civilians, but it was difficult to be sure of jobs. They nibbled but never bit on the mortgage snare. Finally, her job seems more promising--despite erratic hours and no perks. He, the epitome of "work ethnic" chose sensibly and is hacking through higher rent and vehicle costs. Most of their schoolmates and many of their relatives landed differently, many headed toward the safety net or the national guard. Older relatives are possibly bankrupt, especially if they refinanced and overmaxed on credit cards. Ten percent--officially--in unemployment in East Tennessee is still the norm. Schools are stressed to make budget.

Because the South is famous for living on credit, most folks seem to take the current situation in stride. I wonder, however, how the Japanese car factories will make out in years to come. Workers were never unionized to start with. When Detroit came to Washington with hat in hand, our Senator Corker from Chattanooga rose on the Senate floor to justify lowering union rates which the UAW once rose to. Locally there are fewer jobs in auto parts companies. NipponDenso built a new facility in our area. They no longer have big advertisements for new trainees. With plentiful water from TVA lakes, recreational boats were a major product. Those plants all closed long before the meltdown arrived.

If manufacturing is the way out of economic doldrums, I wonder where our section of the state will end up. We are famous for our scenery. This year so far flora and fauna have put on a show for the approaching tourist season. Luring tourists is a crap shoot. A long hot summer with excess ozone and the lure of fall "colors" lacking color will wreck the Tennessee Treasury this autumn. High entertainment taxes do not make for certain income.

We wintered well, with rain and less excess of unusual weather than farther north. Truck gardening is promising at this time. However, the old standby of a tobacco allotment is sorely missing. One gambling emporium has been set up at Cherokee--a Vegas it's not. TVA has endured reverse publicity. If lakes stay high enough for good recreational boating, perhaps they will come and drop off some cash in the process.

How plentiful jobs will be this summer will help local restaurants stay open. When our dry county voted for liquor by the drink we were able to attract better eating places. So far there are not too many pulling out of here. I look at the menu and realize what you get is priced reasonably. What you don't get are the little extras we came to enjoy a few years ago.

Don't worry. Be happy. Maybe it will all turn out all right. There's just one wrinkle. Since the Blue Dogs are retiring, what color is coming up next?
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Margaret Bassett passed away August 21, 2011. She was a treasured member of the editorial team for four years.

Margaret Bassett--OEN editor--is an 89-year old, currently living in senior housing, with a lifelong interest in political philosophy. Bachelors from State University of Iowa (1944) and Masters from Roosevelt University (1975) help to unravel important requirements for modern communication. Early introduction to computer science (1966) trumps them. It's payback time. She's been "entitled" so long she hopes to find some good coming off the keyboard into the lives of those who come after her.
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