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SLIPPING INTO A NATIONAL DEPRESSION

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 27, 2013

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– And how the Tango can help.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently read an article claiming Tango dancing was an effective means to eliminate stress and depression. Evidently there is something about the legendary South American dance exhilarating to the human spirit. Maybe it has something to do with restoring confidence. Afterwards, it occurred to me this might just be the tonic needed to lift the country out of the doldrums we are in.

Not long ago, I asked my accountant if he knew of any business in the area which was experiencing any true success; not just keeping their head above water, but was really doing well. After pondering the question for a few seconds he said, “No,” he couldn’t think of any. Keep in mind, my accountant’s forte is in the area of small businesses in the Tampa Bay area. He may not know many big businesses, but he knows a considerable number of people and small businesses in the area, most of whom had settled into a survivalist mode of operation as opposed to a dynamic proactive company. I personally happen to know some medical equipment suppliers who are doing well, and some personal injury attorneys who know how to play the insurance game, but aside from this not too many other successful businesses. Owners are still trying new ideas and innovations, but most are cutting spending and treading water.

Over the last ten years I have also seen a decline in business ethics, possibly because of this survivalist mentality. Professional courtesy and craftsmanship have been replaced by micromanagement and cronyism. Companies may talk about teamwork and high professional standards, but this is mostly facade. It’s still a “dog-eat-dog” world out there, maybe more so. To “Baby Boomers” like myself, the corporate landscape has radically changed since we entered the work force under the tutelage of “The Greatest Generation.” Today, it’s more about technology and less about people. More importantly, we have transitioned from a “can do” mentality to “can’t do” or “why bother?” attitude. Entrepreneurs no longer talk about new industries to conquer. Most are burned out and want to quietly retire, but everyone is afraid to.

In our schools, “helicopter parents” keep a tight reign over their offspring. No decision is made without parental approval, particularly at the college level. It’s no small wonder young people can easily adapt to today’s corporate culture of micromanagement.

Retirees worry they have enough in their portfolio to see them through to their final days. Confidence in social security and Medicare is shaken. So much so, Baby Boomers are delaying retirement as they lack confidence they will be able to afford it. Despite this, there is a whole generation of doctors who are contemplating early retirement due to the harassment of government bureaucracy.

I don’t know anyone, be it liberal or conservative, who has supreme confidence in our politicians in Washington, or the future of our country for that matter. Everyone is on tender hooks.

Plain and simply, the mood of the country is not good. This is why I believe we are slipping into a psychological depression, a national sense of hopelessness. Business people lack confidence in the future, as is the average worker. Our national psyche is probably as low as it was during the Great Depression of the 1930’s when we felt we had lost control over our destiny. We are no longer optimistic about our future and our character has become highly volatile.

To overcome this problem we need to restore our confidence. What is needed are some successes or victories. Better yet, a clear vision setting the country in a positive direction. Americans do not just want to survive, they want to grow and prosper. Anything less causes a mood of frustration and hopelessness. Unfortunately, the country feels rudderless and is spinning in circles as the government is gridlocked. Unless we can regain our composure and confidence, our depression will only deepen.

Then again, there is always the Tango.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SOMETIMES THE OLD MEDICINES ARE THE BEST – Why won’t they just go away?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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8 Responses to “SLIPPING INTO A NATIONAL DEPRESSION”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A C.B. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “Fantastic take and perspective Tim!”

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    An M.S. of Orlando, Florida wrote…

    “A very good article, you seem to clearly identify the “state of things”. The reasons of how we got there and how we get out is the hard part. For me I see the total loss of our morals in our youth and even older people and lack of ethics and fairness by people in business. The constant assault on separating religion from everything is a way of separating morals and right vs. wrong from everything. Regardless of what ones religious position is, religious values (i.e. the 10 Commandments) sums up the moral foundation of modern society. I think in business we are now seeing the infiltration of a generation that is a product of this decline in morality and clearly everyone is out for themselves at any cost. It never used to be this way or at least not to the degree we are seeing now and honestly I don’t see it changing. The divisiveness in our country is a direct result of the pathetic leadership mostly on the Democratic side. I have never seen such divisive behavior and such condemnation of people who may oppose their ideology. The sad truth is this couldn’t happen without so many mindless people in this country. There just seems to be nothing that is truly being handled and all the problems seem to be overwhelming. I don’t think we will see this corrected in our lifetime and the damage done in the soon to be 8 years of this leadership may never be undone. It’s all depressing and maybe this is just part of getting older or maybe it’s just the truth. It makes me sad for my kids and grand children. It’s not that we f..ked it up, we are the ones who truly care and want to preserve something for our children but without some radical change, we may not be able to leave anything worthwhile behind. I just wish it could be different. Anyway, enough ranting, I really like your article!”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An S.G. of Chicago, Illinois wrote…

    “Perhaps that impression comes from the media emphasis on negativity. If you listen to the news very much, you would think the whole world is doom and gloom. And yet, in my area, people are opening new businesses, moving and expanding older businesses, and taking chances on success.”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A W.A. of the Dominican Republic wrote…

    “Thank you Mr. President. You’ve turned blacks against whites, minorities against whites, those that want to work and succeed against those that want free stuff. out of control spending against a reasonable budget to cut spending, illegal aliens against law abiding aliens that want to become citizens legally, rich against poor, progressive and liberal blacks against conservative blacks, etc. etc. Need I say more about who is running the country. The last question is why is Homeland Security purchasing over 2 billion rounds of hollow point ammunition and over 100 tanks to be used on US soil? Could there really be another revolution coming?”

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “No sign of economic improvement in Michigan. Many auto plants have closed and been torn down, buildings are empty, storefronts are empty and For Sale and For Lease signs are everywhere. There is still some building going on, which is puzzling, considering all the unemployed people and empty existing buildings. Rental homes are in short supply as people are reluctant to take on a mortgage when they don’t have job security. Michigan’s economy has been in a depression for several years.

    Maybe if our legislators learn to do the Tango, they can do something to lift this depression for all of us.”

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    A J.D. of Dunedin, Florida wrote…

    “I have to believe in our country. We have always risen to the occasion and I am hopeful we will again.”

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    A B.R. of Dunedin, Florida wrote…

    “I fear that the ongoing survival mode will put people in a weakened state of mind and spirit that will lead to a feeling of hopelessness. Big government and breaking the backs of the middle class is something that has occurred in the past in the history of the world. It never ended well.”

    Like

  8. Tim Bryce said

    A U.V. of Largo, Florida wrote…

    “And this “depression” is exactly where “they” want us, so “they” can be the “great emancipators”. Arrg! Guess I’d better learn to tango.”

    Like

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