With the 2008 financial crisis still fresh on everyone's mind, the recent stock market selloff has cast another shadow on hopes the recession may not show signs of improving any time soon.
The government's inability to agree on a debt deal until the last minute, a credit downgrade by Standard and Poors, and disappointing jobs reports have injected fear into investors, and the stock market has taken a beating as a result. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 600 points on Monday and almost 1,200 points in the last five sessions of trading. It sits at 10,809 and the day's losses were the largest one-day decline since Dec. 1, 2008, during the heart of the financial crisis.
The events on Wall Street and in Washington have some local resident nervous about their retirement investments, and in some cases the future of their employment.
Alpena's Russell Greene said he doesn't have any money invested in the stock market but knows the hurt the losses will have on people. He said the blame for the new round of financial troubles stem from the previous actions the government took to try to limit the negative impact of the last recession.
"When they bailed out the banks, automakers and started the stimulus, they did it with money we did not have," Greene said. "It may have been a short-term solution at the time, but now we basically need to print more money to pay the bills without raising taxes. All that will do is create a larger debt, which will take longer and make it more difficult to pay back."
Steve Hill, who was shopping at the Alpena Mall on Monday, said the country is still in or experiencing a double-dip recession.
"Think we are headed back into recession," Hill said. "All you have to do is look at the mall and the amount of businesses it has lost and the amount of stores that have closed. I don't think we're going to get out of this for a while."
Michelle Yoder of Fairview said the recent bad news regarding the economy only adds to the hardship people face. She said people's incomes continue to shrink, but the cost of living has continued to increase.
"I really believe things are worse now than when the recession started," Yoder said. "The prices of everything continue to go up. The price of food, clothes, gas, everything. I really don't see where anything has gotten any better."
Richard Czerw, who lives in Sterling Heights but also has a cabin on Lake Huron in Alpena, said the changes needed to get the economy moving in a positive direction need to start with the politicians in Washington. He said they should make more sacrifices for the good of their constituents.
"I'm tired of them, and I think they ought to be the first ones who be made to take cuts," Czerw said. "We are absolutely going back into recession. I haven't seen anything that makes me think we won't. People are having a hard time putting food on the table, and they are nice and cozy and comfortable. Everything about it is disgusting."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.