Despite the looming fiscal cliff, many Americans say they are very optimistic about 2013. Could it be that things were so bad in 2012 that folks feel it can't be any worse in 2013? Let's hope so, but what has happened in the past will have a major impact on our lives, individually and collectively, in 2013 and beyond.
America is in debt ... major debt and the delayed decision on what to do about it has more to do with how the U.S. conducts business as opposed to whose position or plan is correct – President Barack Obama or the Congress. So the impact on the rest of us in many ways has already been felt. Massive unemployment, a massive housing crisis, a crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, a widespread health crisis and a lack of confidence in our leaders including the church, are among the crises showing how citizens have been impacted by the country's debt crisis.
Can it get any worse?
Depending on who you ask, the answer is "yes" and "maybe." Several news organizations are reporting that Americans feel "pessimistic" and "not very confident" about 2013 due to the economy, inequality and economic unfairness. They say attitudes are "downbeat" and Americans are "reticent" about international unrest. Yet, their polls also show that more than 50 percent of those asked say they believe the economy, though weak, is recovering; and they also believe they will be in a better financial situation in 2013 than they were in 2012.
Now that the wool that was pulled over their eyes has finally been removed, Americans can see more clearly what to do to steer clear of the losses they experienced in past years. They've been exposed to the pitfalls that diminished their assets, but many say they have not given up hope. And, they are proving to be less tolerant of dishonest, unethical or unscrupulous leadership going forward.
We recognize that 2013 will be a challenging year, but we are optimistic, as well. In spite of numerous failures, America is still a nation rich enough to provide opportunities to its people as it always has. The American dream may have to be downsized for some, but it should not be eliminated for anyone.
That's what will make 2013 better. It's the hope that it can be.