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Sunday, Jul 21, 2024
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Editorial Trying to find the bottom line here

In business, the overriding factor in virtually any decision is, how will this affect the bottom line?

Whether determining layoffs or raises, expansions or cutbacks, budgets, sales staffs and profit margins, it all comes down to one thing: the bottom line.

Coldly, cruelly, business will have to make many hundreds, if not thousands of decisions based on an as-yet undetermined bottom line surrounding the tragedies last week in New York and Washington, D.C. They are inevitable.

Southern California’s economy surely will feel the effects of those decisions. We may be 3,000 miles away, but our economy collectively shuddered as we helplessly watched the World Trade Center buildings topple.

Though the economic ripples are just now lapping around Southern California, it will be months or even years before we absorb the full force of the economic waves that will surely gush from the canyons of New York’s devastated financial district. The twin symbols of our nation’s economic power lie in shambles on the streets of our nation’s largest city.

We know all this; we see all this. And, we can let the search for the bottom line linger just a little bit.

Already the keenest economic minds are searching for answers. Nations around the world, from Belgium to Argentina, and even former enemies Russia and China, are willing to help us economically. They have pledged to not let this act of terrorism send the world into a global recession.

It is a time to grieve. A time to mourn. And yes, it is a time to be angry, angry at so many things, but especially at an unconscionable group of people who gutlessly took the lives of several thousand people.

In a sense, they were our neighbors and our friends, to be sure, but also our co-workers. People you might e-mail, or seek information from a help desk. They are just like the folks we meet on a smoke break or in the office gym or at the corner deli.

Except they were businesspeople who were innocently blown out of their office cubicles at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon for no other reason than being an American.

Perhaps this is the price we now pay for our freedom. It is a huge toll, an absurd, surreal way to conduct business in America.

It’s OK to shed a tear, to hang your American flag outside during this time of national mourning. It will take time to cope, as the grieving process always teaches us.

The bottom line can wait.

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