That is where you are wrong, there is no cushion. If and when this happens we will have some serious socio-economic dilemmas we will need to address.
Lets assume there is an Alien group that wishes to contact us, you need to put in to perspective just how advanced they would need to be. To travel space effectively there are three things they need. A way to travel to a location in a reasonable amount of time, a way to communicate and a life support system. Traditional space travel as we know it is relatively useless in the big scheme of things. The Aliens would need to have developed a way to move across the universe in short periods of time ie. wormhole technology. To do this you would need to bend space time so that two points that don't normally touch, touch. Then you could pass through. It would look like you traveled faster then light but in reality you just shortened the distance for yourself. The same is true with communication. You need a way to communicate with other ships as well as home. Light just doesn't travel fast enough to be effective. Personally I think that quantum entanglement will one day show that you can communicate FTL, even though we have shown that information is not passed through entanglement. I think that the physics that allows quantum entanglement will show some sort of tunneling/wormhole exists. It would look like FTL measuring through traditional physics, but really be very slow measured though a tunnel/wormhole. Life support is obvious but if you are able to travel across the universe in the blink of an eye, it becomes less of a burden.
If such a group were to contact us we would have all sorts of questions answered but we would also have huge amounts of fear, which is pretty natural. Just look at any movie with aliens to see our underlying fears. They would have fears as well. Once you develop the technology I outlined, you would then realize that the universe is abundant with material and space, traditional supply and demand would change as supply moves to infinite. A culture that is space-faring would have a very different value system then what we have here.
I love thinking about this stuff because its just our imaginations tempered with the future we see with our current technology. The reality is that we may be one of the most advanced life forms in the universe and just don't want to be alone.