But everybody’s still feeling squeezed.
That’s the thing about these lingering tough times. It isn’t so much that any one day is unbearable. It’s that after so many hard ones, everyone is desperate for some kind of relief. And no one can say when it might arrive.
Or from where.
Almost certainly not from Washington. Look how naggingly high the official unemployment rate remains, 8 percent and change. Look how hard it was for Congress to reach that two-month payroll tax deal. A two-month deal! You think those people will save us?
Almost certainly the relief won’t come from Albany or local government. Nassau and Suffolk counties both have balance sheets that spell danger. Real-estate values across the region simply refuse to recover. The population is getting older. Manufacturing jobs show no signs of returning. The ambitious young keep moving out.
That fresh $101 million in state economic aid? Happy to have it, for sure. But the jolt the Long Island economy needs to flourish? It’s still nowhere in sight.
In the end, relief will come as it always has, from the inside out. Growth will save us. Cutting won’t. Smart Island will get even smarter. We will invest in ourselves. Ambitious Island will get more ambitious, Creative Island more creative. Someone will invent something here that produces thousands of new jobs. Someone will lure workers in this direction, not the other way.
The pall that has lasted so long will finally evaporate. Housing prices might even stabilize. Opportunity will reintroduce itself. And not a minute too soon.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Get busy now.
THE YEAR THAT WASN’T
- Nassau County Solved Its Fiscal Mess
- Suffolk Police Caught the Serial Killer(s)
- LIRR Cuts Reversed
- New Arena Approved for Islanders
- Congress Functioned
THE NEWS IN SONG:
“Please Come Home for Christmas”
ASKED AND UNANSWERED:
Enjoying winter yet? Yes, this is winter…Can you blame Shannan Gilbert’s mom, begging the FBI to investigate her daughter’s murder? Mari Gilbert isn’t the only person who’s judged the local investigation “clownish”…How did ex-Islanders coach Scott Gordon, now an assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs, enjoy that Nassau Coliseum welcome Friday night? Not too many Isles fans shouting, “Thanks for the memories, Coach”…If HSBC Long Island banker John Cruz knew way back in 2008 that Bernie Madoff was “a total fraud,” why’s he only filing for whistle-blower status now, as his World Banking, World Fraud comes out?…Why did BP Solar cut-and-run from LIPA’s BNL Solar project? Too much good PR from the deepwater oil spill in the Gulf?…The I-won-what question: Is Steve Bellone having serious second thoughts about his soon-to-be job as Suffolk exec?…Now that ShotSpotter’s in place in Huntington Station and four nearby communities, when will the AllOtherCrimesSpotter arrive?…How does retiring Long Beach Police Commissioner Tom Sofield feel, knowing his $500,000 terminal-leave payout helped to lower the town’s Moody’s credit rating five – count ’em, five — steps?…“Meet the NICE Bus”: Is that a slogan or a punch-line set-up? What’s next? “Meet the Not-So-NICE Delays”?
LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK
THE LAYAWAY ANGELS
No one knows quite where they started. Costa Mesa, Calif.? Low Country, South Carolina? Fort Wayne, Ind.? But all across America – and across Long Island too — anonymous donors have been going into Kmarts and other discount stores (including the Farmingdale Walmart) and paying off strangers’ layaway accounts. What a great way of helping hard-working families, struggling to pay for Christmas in a very tough economy! It’s quiet. It’s direct. It’s wildly appreciated. If that’s not the spirit of the season – the spirit of angels too – tell me please what is.
Category: In Print