I don't know if this says more about the power of citizens laboring for the common good or about the ineptitude of bureaucracy. But it testifies to both.
Residents and business owners around the Polihale State Park in Hawaii saw the writing on the wall when essential repairs for the park were delayed for two years or more at the expense of 4 million dollars to the taxpayers. Without the repairs, the park couldn't open and several businesses depending upon the park for their livelyhood would most likely have not survived.
Instead of waiting for the government to take care of them, the citizens and businesses gathered their resources together and made repairs themselves free of charge.
More details here.
Whatever the economy does in the future, we can't rest our hopes in the government. I hope Obama can turn it around (or even that things will turn around inspite of his efforts), but then again, we may end up with a worthless dollar. However things turn out, I expect that communities and neighbors will still have it within their power to band together and work things out as long as we are willing to give something to the community in unity without an expectation of immeadiate reward. If you think about it, what the above example amounts to is kind of a reverse welfare. In that, we can expect it to have the opposite effect, energizing the community for the common properity of all.