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Recession Won’t Be Forgotten

A new study shows the recession struck deeply into the US population, with a majority of people either related to or knowing someone who lost a job during the economic downturn.

A story in the New York Times this week drove home a point about how the recession touched so many Americans’ lives.

A study by Rutgers University said nearly 80 percent of Americans say they either know or are related to someone who has lost a job.

And highlights the point I’m making about how the recession (do we call it the Great Recession?) will influence our lives and South Dakota and national policy for a long time.

I grew up as a son of parents who had lived through the Great Depression. My father was a 23-year-old farmer in McCook County, South Dakota when the New York Stock Market crashed in October, 1929..

At the time he was farming with two of his brothers and their father, my grandfather. Their nearest neighbors were family members,  families led by my grandmother’s step-brothers. Both of those families lost their farms during the Depression, which unfortunately coincided with the “Dirty Thirties,” when the central United States became the Dust Bowl. Dad and his family grew some off-beat crops that grew in arid weather, and they managed to hang onto the farm where I grew up.

The Depression and its effects stayed with my parents and influenced their lives–my mother was younger but the impact on her family were felt just as keenly.

And I believe that even if the US economy ever completely turns around, Americans won’t soon forget what the Recession did to them, their lives and their families.

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