NECA TransmissionsNotes from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry

Crises of Historic Proportions

Posted on Jun 17, 2010 by John M Grau

The environmental disaster in the Gulf is on the top of the news, and the reports try to outdo each other in describing the magnitude of this crisis. It is hard to grasp how big this is, and we all wonder what the long-term impact will be. But I also wonder, how many big crises can we absorb?

The War on Terror, Iraq, Afghanistan, the mortgage bubble bursting, financial meltdown, the worst economic decline since the Great Depression, huge Ponzi schemes, auto company bankruptcies, high unemployment, exponential deficit increases, massive federal debt, illegal immigration, 100-year floods, 100-year snowstorms, and now an unstoppable oil leak. There’s no end to these crises of historic proportions.

Even more frustrating is what we’re doing about these problems. It seems that each crises of historic proportion is being matched by a proposed massive government action. Wall Street bailouts, mortgage bailouts, auto industry bailouts, troop surges, stimulus packages (four? I’ve lost count), comprehensive health care reform, comprehensive energy reform, comprehensive financial reform, comprehensive immigration reform. At least they’re leaving the weather alone (unless you consider comprehensive climate change legislation).

Tongue in cheek, the LA Times recently suggested that if you have a leak in your roof, don’t call anyone from the Obama administration. Their solution will be to design a whole new house, or neighborhood, or city from scratch.

Who do we trust to solve these problems? Not financial institutions, or insurance companies, or big oil companies, or auto companies, or lobbyists, or unions, or the federal government. Polling data shows that many Americans have lost faith in our basic institutions. We don’t trust any of them anymore. That’s why groups like the Tea Party are having such success. They are organizing and voicing the average Americans’ anger and frustration.

I don’t mean to dismiss the big problems we’re facing, but I sometimes wonder if some of these crises are being exaggerated to historic proportions, just to justify spending on a massive response. At any rate, I’ve had enough of these big crises. I wish they’d just stop, so we can go back to worrying about if we’re getting too much rain — or too little.

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NECA Transmissions is a collaborative effort from CEO John Grau and NECA staff to provide insight and feedback on key issues from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry.

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