OPINION: Vote on Nov. 4, It's the Election of our Lifetime - Southern Maryland Headline News

OPINION: Vote on Nov. 4, It's the Election of our Lifetime

By State Senator Roy Dyson (D-29th)

There should be no need for hundreds of words to impress you with the importance of voting in the Presidential Election on November 4.

At this writing, our nation is in the largest meltdown of financial markets since the Great Depression. It is a global phenomenon. Despite passage of a $700 billion plan to steady the market, during the week of October 6-10, the Dow Jones Industrial average registered the largest percentage decline in its 112 year history. On October 10, President Bush met with the economic leaders of the six leading industrial nations - England, Japan, France, Canada, Japan and Italy - that with the U. S. form the Group of Seven. A consensus was reached that each nation will do everything it can with infusions of private and government capital in their banks.

Nevertheless, the crisis of confidence remained. Banks still would not lend other banks money. Lending between banks is the basis on which credit is built. Without lending between banks, credit will dry up and put the entire economy in jeopardy. The credit crunch has toppled some banks and threatens to topple more. There is now talk of infusing additional capital, both private and governmental into the banks to stimulate credit.

People, who received their quarterly 401K and other investment statements in the first weeks of October, were stunned by their loss of funds. Savings evaporated at an alarming rate. States, including Maryland, reeled under revenue shortfalls, began thinking about employee furloughs and crucial budget cuts.

For too long and way past sane fiscal policy, we have lived with easy credit, leveraged losses and too little and too lax regulation of our financial and mortgage industries. Finally, the escalating rising home value and the subprime mortgage bubble burst and millions of homeowners faced and are still facing foreclosure.

By October 9, $8.4 trillion has been lost in the U. S. stock market. The human mind cannot grasp just how much money $8.4 trillion is. According to the October 11 edition of the Washington Post, $1 bills totaling $8.4 trillion, stacked one on top of the other, would stretch 565,325 miles high. It would stretch to the moon and back to Earth. The distance from the Earth to the Moon is 238,855 miles.

Yes, it's bad. People are nervous and they are scared. Unfortunately, nervousness and fear feed escalating downward financial spirals.

But I'm optimistic. The difference between the Great Depression and today is that governments are acting decisively to stop the spiral. They have pledged to use every tool they have to do so. During the Depression, government was paralyzed. It had no tools to stop the slide. It didn't know what to do. So, it did nothing. Roosevelt was elected in 1932 and established work projects and put in place financial market regulation and a safety net for the jobless. The work of stabilizing the economy began.

Whenever the people of this nation have been asked to pull together for the good of all, they have risen to the occasion. And I am confident we will do whatever we have to do to survive these troubling times, both individually and as a nation.

Now, more than ever before, our nation needs a steady hand at the helm. On November 4, we, the people will choose the person to lead our nation through these troubled times. It is imperative that each and every one of us vote. As citizens of this great nation, we owe it to our country, ourselves and future generations to have a voice in choosing our next President of the United States.

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