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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Nov 4, 2008

November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. Today, Election Day, is Use Your Common Sense Day.

So apparently that means since we’re powerless to do anything about how the country is running, we had better all stock up on peanut butter because that’s the only protein we’re going to be able to afford, considering how the country is going. But whatever you do, use your common sense when you cast that ballot today. Ideology is great, but when the wolf’s at the door, a full belly means a whole lot more than political theory.

When 3 percent of the homes of the U.S. are in foreclosure, it puts a perspective on the greater economy. If people can’t make the payments on the place they live in, other sectors of the economy are going to suffer as well.

GM sales plunged 45 percent in October, with Ford and Chrysler trailing close behind. It was the worst performance for auto sales in 25 years, according to industry analysts. That was back in 1983, a time recognized as a bona fide serious recession.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, though. With its ethanol, biodiesel and wind industries plus being first in the nation in production of corn, soybeans, pork and renewable fuels, Iowa is an island of stability (note that we did not say prosperity) in an economy that is recognized as hurting nationwide.

While we’re doing a little better than most areas of the country, we are still going to continually feel the downturn in the national economy. Just take the auto industry, for example. Some predictions are so dour that they predict that in one year, one out of five new auto dealers will no longer be in business.

We all need to tighten our belts.

The problem with the concept of thrift is that most people regard it as a necessity rather than a virtue. When you look at it in the final analysis, though, thrift is indeed a virtue that can go far to preventing the severity of economic downturns.

“Saving for a rainy day” has a lot of practicality behind it. If a person has a little nest egg tucked away for tough times, that can do a lot to soften the blow when times do get tough.

The real expert on the virtue of thrift was Benjamin Franklin (remember “A penny saved is a penny earned?”). An excellent work of Franklin’s on the subject of thrift is his “Autobiography and Other Writings.” It’s a treasure trove of inspirational sayings and thoughts that will make the biggest spend thrift change his or her ways … for a little while, anyway.

A lot of getting through an economic crisis is to learn how to adapt, how to pick up the needs from the wants. It’s a challenge, but it’s something we all have to do.

Even Franklin did it.