Jean Santopaire/Fairfield

Over twelve trillion dollars in debt. Sixteen million people unemployed. A bank borrowing rate at one forth of one percent.

These are current statistics that are indicative of our country’s current, fragile economic state.  Due to the financial crisis that began in 2008, the people of our country have become increasingly insecure in terms of spending money.

However, “The ‘Great Recession,’ is over,” according to Dr. Edward Deak, Economics Professor at Fairfield University.  This statement alone should give Americans a sense of relief that their lives will soon be back in order.

But, when statistics such as the ones above remain, people are still not confident in spending the money they have on anything more than the essentials.

So, what will it take for consumers to be confident and begin spending money once again?

“Very simply,” said Deak, “jobs.” With the payouts of Obama’s stimulus package fading, and an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent, finding jobs may be a challenge for many, especially those who have become discouraged.

To those who are discouraged, “This too shall pass,” said Deak.  The recovery of our economy will be slow, according to Deak, but once Americans stop worrying and begin spending, the future of our economic state will start to improve.

Businesses too, need to stop being passive, and begin spending.  With a borrowing rate of one fourth  of one percent, it is almost as if money is free, and therefore seems nonsensical that very few are taking advantage of this opportunity.

In a survey of 150 college students from three Connecticut universities, 46 percent said that they personally knew or heard of friends or family members losing their jobs within the past three years.

In addition, 126 out of the 150 surveyed, admitted to being worried about finding jobs once they graduate college.

Dr. Deak’s advice to college seniors who are going to begin looking for start up jobs within the next couple of months is this: “Take anything you can get. Don’t be picky.”

Unfortunately, it is not only the lack of jobs that are keeping our country at a state of weariness.

The crash of the real estate market has been a major factor in driving our country into the recession, and with housing sales 25.5 percent below the level from one year ago, as stated in the July’s “New York Times” article, a lot more must be done before homebuyers regain their confidence.

“Our company has 30 people in design due to a high interest in remodeling and home improvements, however no one is willing to pull the trigger to start spending at this time,” said Mike Cecco, project manager of Creative Design Construction, based out of Northvale, New Jersey.

Interestingly enough, the desire to have luxury items still exists, but actually getting the dream home is not yet a reality.

Contrastingly at Fairfield, we see construction going on every day, as we rebuild our residential housing, to make living on campus more appealing.

“The University received favorable terms on loans,” said Deak, “which is a big positive for us.”

Although the new housing project costs approximately $60 million, the University will benefit from these enhancements in the long run.  Residence life on campus will be more appealing and student involvement outside of the classroom is expected to increase.

Dormitory and suite-style buildings may not be the same as personal homeownership, but our University is setting an example for our country as a whole.

Spending money on things besides essentials, in this case, housing improvements, will stimulate our economy little by little.

However our nation must do this wisely. With a national deficit of over one trillion dollars and an overall debt amount of over twelve trillion dollars, we have to be aware of what excess spending can lead to.

All in all, we need to get our economy moving, and for this to happen, Americans have to start spending.  Although money is seen as a prized possession, we must stop hoarding.

If we don’t, the “Great Recession,” could continue.  After all, this is the home of the brave.  So be brave; take a risk and spend so that the future of our country can be great without the word recession attached to it.

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