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Like a K4, economy will come roaring back

Planet earth is unwell and humanity has taken a healing rest. Our economy has taken sick leave, too.

Will it come back? Absolutely. Should we push it? It has never been a good idea to start a cold engine and run it hard and fast.

The economy is like a stone cold, rusty, old, K4 locomotive sitting in a round house right now.

We’re getting it ready. We’re greasing up the axles (and the politicians); filling up the tender with fuel, lubing all the gear boxes and testing the superheater elements.

Once we get done squabbling over who’s going to be the engineer, the regulator valve will open, the bell will ring, the all-clear whistle will blow and the throttle will move this beast out into the fresh air.

It’s going to roll slow at first.

The price of everything is going to go up. Businesses will be trying to make up for their losses. Our cash flow will be limited, as we try to pay off our loans and, frankly, many people are going to be a little too nervous to ride.

Not to fear.

Little by little the economy will pick up steam. Carefully and cautiously it will chug out of the station.

Of course, there will be backpressure and blowdown, but we’ll get the sludge out and our mechanics will finesse the dynamic balance.

Once we cross the safety line, everyone is going to want to jump on board and we are all going to give them a hand. We’re going to reach out and pull those on who just took devastating losses.

We’re going to help our fearful and apprehensive travelers to get a leg up onto the platform.

Those who can’t afford a ticket, will be given a complimentary ride and, for those who worked so bravely and tirelessly, throughout this crisis, we are going to seat them in first class, and attend to them very well, so that they too, can now get their own well-deserved rest.

Of course, no matter how we proceed there will always be the cranky whiners, the self-righteous, opinionated passengers, and the loud outspoken commuters, determined to instruct the conductors on the correct way to drive an economic engine.

That’s OK.After all these years we’ve all learned how to tune out those squeaky wheels and enjoy the ride.

Soon this economy is going to be steaming down the track, at breakneck speed. We’ll be wearing new clothes, dancing in aisles and sharing our dining car snacks.

This noisy, fiery, belching engine will again transport us to stadiums; and beach towns; and concert halls; and we are sure to feel very relaxed, again, sitting close to friendly strangers, in narrow coach seats.

And years from now, when the rusty old K4 has miraculously transformed itself into a high speed economic maglev rocket train, we’ll be sitting in the club car, gazing out the window at the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside, remembering these tragic and stressful days as, really, just a small blip in our lives, and we’ll feel blessed that we, and our families and friends, are still healthy and thriving on this magnificent planet earth.

Patrick Baechle

Hollidaysburg

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