Lawtonians deal with sluggish national economy

Lawton_With skyrocketing gas prices, falling home prices, and the Feds issuing stimulus checks, it's not hard to believe that our nation's economy is falling into a recession. But just how bad is it, really? Over the last few months, there have been conflicting reports that we're either fine, or on the verge of collapse. So which extreme is closer to the truth?

7 News talked to a Cameron history professor who has studied the history of our nation's economy. Lance Janda says the economy operates in waves, and right now we're just seeing a very common down slope. He says it's not as bad as it was during the Great Depression in the 30s, or the gas shortage of the 70s. But for people right now who are feeling the pinch at the gas pump, and in the grocery store, that answer is hard to swallow.

Some shoppers are turning to stores like Goodwill to save an extra penny. But for some Lawtonians that's still not enough when you fall on hard times. "My dad is handicapped and he has a lift on his truck, and we don't use that because the truck is more expensive," said Yvette Teel. "So he can't use his electric wheelchair, and I'm using the standard wheelchair, so it's affecting him and my parents a lot."

But as hard as it is for some people to adjust, Janda says this is all just part of a economic correction, not a collapse. "We've gotten spoiled as a society," Janda said. "We've gone through 20 years of explosive economic growth, and most people are accustomed to cheap gas, big cars, big houses. and they don't want to hear the economy goes through a normal cycle of growth and correction and growth and correction."

Many advise us to drive smaller cars, and live in smaller houses. But what about those people who are conserving, and still can't make ends meet? Take Mary, for example: "I had a tragedy, my home burned, and I'm living in a motel," she said. "It's just, I don't want to make any move, or do anything until things settle down."

The Federal government understands that a lot of people like mary are having a hard time,  which is why they issued stimulus checks, something that didn't happen back during the Great Depression. "Since 1929, the government has been a lot more proactive in trying to manage the economy," Janda said.

There are speculations that the latest spikes in gas prices are linked to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, so hopefully next week, we'll see a price drop at the pumps. That should help food prices drop, too.