The news from General Motors and Ford has been anything but cheerful lately. On Wednesday, The Herald Bulletin reported that GM will slash dividends, CEO pay and worker and retiree benefits. Ouch.

On the same day, we reported that 350 Remy International employees would receive lump sum payments of $15,000. That will pour $5.25 million into our local economy.

It is a last gasp of what Anderson life used to be like. Money infusions were routine when GM workers received their vacation pay or their year-end bonuses. With that kind of money hitting bank accounts, people could afford to live large. New cars, motorcycles, lavish vacations, bigger houses, new furniture was most of our ways of life. Those who didn’t work for GM reaped the benefits of that kind of cash swirling around.

We don’t begrudge their good fortune. GM was nearly printing money, it made it so fast. We’re pleased the company passed along so much of its wealth to its employees, hourly and salary alike.

But it’s over, much like the abrupt end of the gas boom at the turn of the 20th century. In a generation of two, we’ll have a new economy in Anderson that will mimic our boom times of the past.

In the meantime, there are the people caught in the middle. They are accustomed to excellent pay, great benefits, and occasional chunks of bonuses or vacation pay. Those people now are struggling with trying to keep up with a lifestyle they have no way of supporting financially. We applaud GM for spreading around the pain it’s going through to all of its stakeholders. We think it was long overdue.

Our heart breaks for those people who have to learn how to live a different life. They’ve sold their toys and most likely their houses. There aren’t $20 per hour unskilled jobs anymore, anywhere. Nor are there jobs awaiting former GM skilled and salaried employees, at least not around here.

It’s a bitter, bitter pill.

But life isn’t fair. What we do with that fact is up to us. We can be miserable, and many are, or we can learn to find the positive in the fact that we still have our families, our health, our friends. Money doesn’t affect those treasures.

We extend our sympathies to those families who also are going through a tough adjustment. We’ve been there. We understand.

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