Tuesday, May 19, 2009 By Aaron Brown
We as a collective people are accustomed to the uncertainty, probably to our detriment, but for the time being leaving us more comfortable than others with the possibility of continued and worsening economic woes. Something about this "crisis" seems less urgent than even the 2001 shutdown of LTV Steel, where a bloated steel industry was finally forced to reckon with 21st century reality. Today, though, no such panic exists. No such urgency.
"Why?" My friend and I wondered.
Unemployment and general optimism.
Right now hundreds, if not thousands, of Iron Range miners and mine-related workers are on layoff or about to be put on layoff. They will receive unemployment benefits and live off savings for part of the summer, if not longer. Why, then, is there no panic on the streets of the Iron Range? People here, fueled by strong statements from mining companies, believe the mines will be back in full operation sometime relatively soon ... next fall maybe, 2010 for sure. That's great. If it proves true, then not much changes in the red-tinted world of the Iron Range. Not now, anyway.
If it doesn't, what happens when unemployment runs out? Whatever it is could happen fast and hard.