A Disturbing Crisis Of Confidence

The data on consumer confidence in the United States is very discouraging indeed.  Americans are, by nature, optimists.  In past recessions American consumers have spent and borrowed with complete confidence that things were going to get better and have thereby helped to pull the economy into recovery.  That doesn’t seem to be happening in this latest recession.

The statistics reported today are amazing.  For example, the percentage of people who said they were going to buy a car dropped to the lowest level since records began being kept in 1967.  Imagine — Americans not buying cars, or even thinking about buying cars!  What could be more compelling evidence of significant changes in the outlook of American consumers?

In addition, the linked article notes that one of the groups that experienced the biggest drop in consumer confidence was Americans under age 35.  That result, at least, is not hard to understand.  We have seen several years of college students and masters’ candidates unable to find or keep work after graduation.  If you were an unemployed college graduate who was being strangled by enormous student loan debt, your outlook probably would be bleak, too.

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (II)

The next stop on our tour of public art on the Statehouse grounds is the Peace statue, which is on the north side of the Statehouse grounds, directly across Broad Street from the Rhodes Tower.  The Peace statute was erected by the Womans Relief Corps, Department of Ohio, in 1923.  It commemorates the “heroic sacrifices of Ohio’s soldiers of the Civil War 19861-1865 and the loyal women of that period.”

The women's plaque on the rear of the Peace statue

The figure of Peace takes the traditional form.  It was the work of Bruce Wilder Saville, who happened to be a faculty member at Ohio State.  The rear of the statue is somewhat less traditional, and a bit more interesting.  It features two metal plaques — one commemorating the sacrifices of the more than 300,000 men of Ohio who fought valiantly in the Civil War, and the other recognizing, in heartfelt terms, the glory of the women who supported the war effort.  To my mind, the plaque describing the crucial role of women in the Civil War is especially powerful and moving.

Equally poignant, in the middle of the rear of the Peace statute is the simple statement:  “Let us have Peace.”

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (I)