Analysts and experts agree that 2012 will be a year of change. While some predict more gloom, others see a brighter future.
Obviously, the elections will be at the forefront of many voters’ minds. Yet here are three other pressing and not as obvious needs for America, and why they’re vital, that deserve your unified and fervent intercessions.
The global economy
The slow economy that has affected the United States the last several years is making its way around the world. The global economy is expected to slow and some countries will experience recessions. “Our outlook for the global economy in 2012 will be slower than the last couple of years,” predicts Jan Hatzius, chief economist for Goldman Sachs. “We expect growth to slow in the U.S., although we don’t expect a recession.”
While America is expected to continue moving forward in the sluggish economic recovery process, the slowing global economy will have an impact on how fast America fully bounces back. “The global economy is facing critical challenges. The recovery in the United States and other advanced economies has been proceeding too slowly,” says Janet Yellen, vice chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
The Congressional Budget Office issued a report that deficits have been cut in half, but the unemployment rate will remain at close to nine percent and the Gross Domestic Product growth will remain well below its potential. On a happier note, Wall Street experts are predicting stocks to rise more than ten percent in 2012.
Addiction: drugs and alcohol
With poor economic times comes an increase in drug and alcohol addictions. An estimated 19.9 million people are addicted to drugs. Each day, 500 adolescents begin using drugs and 1,000 begin drinking alcohol.
A recent study conducted by the University of Michigan for the National Institute for Drug Abuse shows an increase in marijuana use in teens. More teens are using the drug to escape their problems quicker. Dr. Karl Benzio, founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network, a Christian-based addiction and mental health referral program, describes appeal this way: “Something like marijuana, you can get a good high in about three to five minutes; drinking alcohol takes a lot longer to get high.”
“Seeing a spike in marijuana use among teens is a troubling issue facing America,” says Rev. Snow Peabody, national Teen Challenge representative to Washington, D.C. and executive state director of Teen Challenge of Arizona, a faith-based addiction recovery organization. “Young people continue to search for something to fill the void in their life that only God’s love can give.”
Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the nation’s sixth “drug czar” says that “prevention can work if it comes from peer groups, parents, faith-based groups, neighborhoods, communities and schools.”
“With government funding being cut across the nation for public school drug prevention programs, faith-based organizations like Teen Challenge are filling the gap,” Peabody added.
The war in Iraq is over and thousands of military personnel are returning home to America. They will need jobs, housing and education. Before the war ended the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that unemployment rates for veterans ages 20 to 24 were close to 30 percent. Those numbers are expected to rise in 2012.
Addressing the issue of unemployment for service men and women, President Obama said, “This is a moment for us to build a country that lives up to the ideals that so many of our bravest Americans have fought and even died for. That is our highest obligation as citizens. That is the welcome home that our troops deserve.”
Many veterans have drug and alcohol addictions as well. A survey conducted by the Department of Defense found one in eight active military personnel currently use illicit drugs.
In the coming weeks, pray with fellow believers that:
- The national and world economies will grow at a steady rate and jobs will be available for those who need them
- Faith-based recovery organizations will be supported financially and fill the need left by diminishing government budgets
- The Lord will supply the needs of active and retired military personnel