Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A little perspective

So I just got back from the local job fair out in Hesperia, CA.  Let me start off by saying it was a total joke.  Now I don't have much experience with job fairs so for those of you who have please forgive me if I seem hard on them.  See this "job fair" was nothing more than a bunch of tables for a few companies, several schools, and one government agency set-up to hand out flyers directing everyone to their websites.  Seriously?  I've BEEN to most of the job websites out there, I have a college job placement system sending me job openings daily, so what the heck was the job fair for?  Those who don't have computers?  (Hence defeating the idea of going to their websites.)

Add to that the sheer lack of actual openings even from those who attended, the poor showing of businesses advertising, and running into former coworkers who have been out of work for the last two years really brings home how hard the job market is right now.  9% unemployment sounds bad, 20% underemployment with those who have "stopped looking for work" sounds worse, seeing it in person just puts it all into perspective.

Another striking perspective I just heard?  Japan vs. the National Debt.

See Japan is a huge mess.  We all know this.  One of the things that some people find ghoulish that folks do is start finding out how much it's going to cost to repair and replace everything. It sounds bad which is why the news covers it and it is a serious topic to discuss.  For instance, how much did it cost to clean up Katrina do you think?

According to Hurricane Katrina Relief website it cost at least $110 billion to clean up and repair from that one hurricane.  Which is scary when you consider that we're looking at what was mostly talked about was one town.  Now I blame that mostly on the news for folks in the area know darn well the hurricane messed up a whole lot more than just New Orleans.  

So what are the current estimates (which always seem low) of the cost in repairing Japan?  Reuters is currently reporting $180 billion with some claims going so high as to predict $1 trillion.  Those are huge numbers, I mean we are talking about the world's third largest economy being brought low by a tsunami and an earthquake all at once.  All that damage done in one day!  Horrible and tragic no doubt. 

You know what else is scary? At the very worst estimates we could rebuild Japan fourteen times over based off our national debt!  Heck just one year's deficit would cover the repairs.  How's that for perspective?  

So while I pray for everyone in Japan I hope they all come back from everything that is still going on there I just like to point out how small even the biggest disasters can be when put in perspective.  But just like the biggest disasters every problem can be fixed by actually facing the problem and working towards solutions. 

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