With the Dow Jones hitting a record high last week, most pundits tell us that the recession is over. While economists might debate the specifics, such as whether the deficit is still a problem and why unemployment numbers still matter, most news sources from Fox to MSNBC to Uncle Sol agree that things are looking better. Which is great news, but a little sad for me.
My husband and I are both musicians, which means we clearly married each other for our money. (What’s the difference between a T-bill and a musician? Eventually the T-bill matures and makes money.) Our income has always lagged behind our neighbors, we rent instead of owning a home, and when people start to complain about the hassles of remodeling their kitchen or how hard it is to decide where to go on vacation, we just smile weakly and hope someone changes the subject.
But during the height of the recession, everyone we knew was in the same boat – my designer-savvy friends were shopping at TJMaxx, families couldn’t plan vacations around their next stock windfall, and high-earning high-tech dads were getting laid off. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t happy for anyone else’s misfortune, but it was really nice to have company. Now when friends would ask us where we should meet for dinner, we didn’t feel like the poor relations when we suggested the cheap cool Burmese restaurant instead of the casual-but-pricy bistro.
Now that the stock market seems to have rebounded and things are coming back to normal, at first I was afraid we’d be alone again in our financial struggles. But it turns out not everyone is feeling the joy; in fact, many middle-class families are still having a hard time, and I’ve heard that from Fox, MSNBC, and Uncle Sol.
Many terrific blues songs came out of The Great Depression, so here’s a modern-day blues song for those of us who feel a bit left out of the latest economic good news.