Here's to a better 2009 - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Here's to a better 2009

By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

January 1, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's a new year and with it come hopes for a better year.

2008 was economically devastating, almost seven trillion dollars lost in the stock market, banks failed, and it's hard to forget the housing crisis, and the high gas prices.

Steven Niesielowski recently got out of the military, he came back home to a country in tough economic times.

"2008 I was still in the service, and coming back from the service my family was telling me about everything that was going on in the community," said Steven Niesielowski, Albany.

The unrelenting economic crisis took center stage in 2008.

Last time Wall Street saw such hard times was during the great depression.

The credit markets essentially froze, and families lost their homes to foreclosure.

"That's the huge issue with our country is people living pass their means," said Niesielowski.

Johnny Marcus thinks the homeowners aren't entirely to blame.

"Take a little about some of the interest rates they had, the adjustable rates they had and balloon payments. On top of that people were getting into house they really couldn't afford," said Johnny Marcus, Albany.

Bad lending practices also came under fire.

"There's so much greed and corruption," said Niesielowski.

From mortgage fraud, and bank failures, to gas prices which hit a record high in 2008.

A barrel of crude leaped to $147 dollars in July sending retail gasoline prices soaring above $4 a gallon.

Many are glad 2009 ushered in lower gas prices.

"I'm glad we did, it's a little more money in your pocket," said Marcus.

The government stepped in to help stabilize the markets with a $700 billion rescue of the financial sector, and agreed to provide financing to the major U.S. Automakers on the verge of bankruptcy.

"It's a good thing that we stepped in to help, because I would rather the government step in than see other people loose their jobs," said Marcus.

"People need to wake up as far as people getting in debt and spending their money unwisely, and that's something I've learned since I've been in the military is how to manage my money," said Niesielowski.

And this past November America elected it's first black president.

"As far as Obama I'm happy for Obama, I really am, I pray for him and his family," said Niesielowski

"2009 with Obama coming in I think a lot of the right people are in the right places, and a lot of eyes are going to be on every area that we need to focus on," said Marcus.

By the end of 2008, many market analysts were predicting that 2009 would be better, but that recovery would be slow as investors, shaken by the overall economy, remain reluctant to buy.

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