What can we expect from the economy in 2013? It's a question on most of our minds as we continue stumbling out of the biggest recession since the Great Depression. Snap polls indicate a great deal of uncertainty, but at the same time reveal what people are thinking.
Ten East Contra Costa locals were questioned at random on whether they are optimistic or pessimistic about what to expect from the economy this year. The edge here in East County goes slightly to the down side.
Suzy Pasternak of Antioch is a pessimist. "The economy isn't recovering, it's sliding," she said. "Prices are skyrocketing and taxes are higher. We aren't getting any pay raises to cover the rising costs. More and more people are worse off."
Julian Ang of Brentwood is an optimist. "I expect a pretty good year," he said. "There is a lot of development going on. Jobs are beginning to open up. More people are working on the roads and infrastructure. Housing construction is coming back."
Ray Thomas of Brentwood remains pessimistic. "We're straying away from a free economy and in its place we've gone regulation wild," he claimed. "We can't move forward when we have a badly run country. All three branches of government are in a power battle with each other and positive results will be hard to come by."
Patrick Callahan of Brentwood sees things completely differently. "I sense a better relationship between Congress and the president this year," he said. "Economic improvement continues its slow rise and the markets are showing signs of robust improvement."
Tammy Winkler of Oakley said she has no confidence in our leaders. "They've given us higher taxes to pay for more entitlements. Our medical costs are going up and the benefits are going down. I blame it on Obamacare. It won't be a good year."
Antioch's Steve Crabtree is an optimist. "The economy is picking up. You see it in the car sales and the housing market. Unemployment is going down and stocks are rising nicely. We're on our way out of the corner," he said.
Gary Shaw of Antioch says the opposite. "Too many people have to rely on the government and the government has no money. Just about everything costs more. What it tells me is that the dollar is in real trouble."
Dee-Dee Degering of Oakley is more hopeful. "I think we now have good legislators at both the state and federal level and it'll help the recovery," she said. "Education definitely is improving. Things are more expensive but it hasn't gotten out of hand."
"I'm pessimistic because the bad times haven't stopped," said Ryan Brown of Antioch. "Construction is the one area that's starting to show improvement. Fortunately I'm in construction so things have improved for me."
Deb Massie of Pittsburg is on the fence. "It's really too hard to predict. I'm an optimist by nature but I have to admit I'm scared about the way the economy is going. I'm afraid it's going to get worse."
The coming months will tell us who's right and who's wrong."
Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.