An essay by Keith Johnson The Panic Is On! The complexion of today’s depression is certainly different from the hard luck images of the 1930’s. But these are just cosmetic differences. When you strip away the veneer, you find that we are afflicted with the same problems as they were back then. Today’s soup lines come in the form of food stamps. Public housing and tent cities are today’s shantytowns. Hobos are now called ‘the homeless’, and many of them are disappearing from the streets and ending up in a burgeoning penal system that swallows them up on petty drug charges. There are other factors that keep this depression suppressed in the minds of the American public. The most significant of these is unemployment benefits. This did not exist during the Great Depression. When you were out of work, you were out of money. This hit people immediately and many had no way to obtain even the most basic subsistence to feed their families. The welfare system is another contemporary mechanism that was not in place during that time. Right now, these are perhaps the only two things that distance the human suffering from our true economic reality. But they weren’t built to last, and the only reason they have lasted this long is because the government has a vested interest in keeping these entitlement programs going. Providing basic subsistence keeps the people dependent and apathetic to their plight. As long as people have a roof over their head and enough to eat they will allow those who provide those things to take everything else they have. ... ...Until the American people snap out of their trance, they will refuse to believe that they are in a depression, recession, panic or crisis. To them, it will be a loving embrace by a charismatic savior. Only until they feel the piercing bite of cold air on their necks and the pains of an empty stomach will they finally come around to the realization that the panic is not coming—but that the panic is on!