Area residents share effects of downturn
Several people from the community gathered in two focus groups and shared how the economic downturn has changed their lives.
Participants were granted anonymity for the sessions, which were organized and moderated by Alice Rodgers for the Beacon Journal.
• Faced with layoff, a man opted for retirement at a reduced rate: “It was kind of abrupt, because I was used to a certain stream of income. Then, all of a sudden, it was now here’s all you’re going to get.”
• Middle-school teacher observing changes in her students since the economic downturn: “They’re just so much meaner and angrier. I don’t know if it is the trickle-down from their families… I love to teach and they don’t want to learn. They’re just mean and hateful and cruel and angry.”
• Man on bailouts: “It’s funny. Capitalism I believe in. But the people who rail against government interference are the first ones [seeking help] when they’re in trouble.”
• Man on the market crash: “It’s had a great impact on me, because I don’t have retirement — other than Social Security — but I did save all my life. It’s not like I don’t have any money, but it’s all in the stock market. I feel so vulnerable because of what I see. … I’m not getting an even break.”
• Business owner: “I’d say, for me, it’s crippling. Small business owner, I’m in residential housing, remodeling, new construction. I have a daughter that just went to college, so I’ve had that added. I’ve stopped contributing to my retirement fund.”
• Retiree on the economic slowdown “hasn’t directly affected me, but indirectly because I’ve had to help out my two daughters a whole lot.”
• Retiree: “I’m one of those people, too, always saved, always worked hard, never bought a new car. I think it’s a tragedy that interest rates are so low, that somebody that saved their whole life can’t put money somewhere that can be of good use.”
• Longtime retiree: “The biggest change in my life economy was before 2007 when my company stole my pension. It’s a pretty broad statement to make, but they declared bankruptcy.”