Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Recession? What Recession?

Well, it's been a month since I last posted, so I figured I owed my readers something - unfortunately, there isn't much of significance.

Sure, I could post about the bailout of the auto industry - a bailout, that if you read any of my past posts, you would know, I do not support. If they truly had issues with running their company, they should do what the individuals in this economy are being forced to do - foreclose - file for bankruptcy protection and move on with their day. And sure, I could rant about their usage of private jets to fly to Washington D.C. to beg for the $25 billion they think is owed to them, but honestly, A) that's old news - it is reported they will drive the next time and B) what will my ranting do, except upset me?
Oh sure, Ford now says they can "manage" without the government bailout - all they'd ask is for $9 billion be "set aside" for them "just in case" they need the cash. I could easily write about how they came up with that dollar figure - I mean, honestly, 9 BILLION DOLLARS? What makes them think that is what they'll need - even though they "say" they can "manage without it?"

Yes, I could write about all of that, but instead, I will focus on something more broad - the economy as a whole - as you may have read or seen on television - we are now "officially" in a recession - a recession that started, or so they now say, a year ago.

The problem I have is with the "official" report, well, first off, individuals aren't in a recession unless their job has been lost or their mortgage payment has become unmanageable. It is a very sad fact, but also very true. For those that can make their mortgage payments and are currently still holding down jobs - well, for those people, there is no recession - and that has been made evident with the stronger than last year's (when the recession has now been said to have "officially" began) "Black Friday" sales numbers. I read that the "average" consumer on Black Friday has spent $372 on that day this year - which is up from last year. Leaving me to ask, what recession?

Secondly, why has it taken a full year for the government to finally report that, yes, we are in a recession? It seems the same thing they did with the mortgage crisis - ignore it, it will eventually go away; if not, well, we can always go back and say when the "real crisis" began at a previous date. Why is it they (the government officials) feel so compelled to lie to the American people about things such as this? Why not shoot the average person straight (we all know Cheney is a good shot anyway)? Those with half a brain can see the stock market (for whatever reason this is the benchmark most economist use to measure such things as a recession) is dropping - and that the economy, at the very least, is dropping - likely into recession-like-figures.

But then, I am reminded by my first paragraph - is it truly a recession unless you, or I, or Joe Average Citizen is in one individually? Does the whole of the economy really plunge us all into a recession if we can still afford our bills, and we still have jobs? Sure, we can feel fear at the prospect of losing our jobs; and we can even feel fear that we might not get that Christmas bonus or that raise this year - but we have jobs, and the price of food (or gas - trust me, it will go back up again) hasn't gone up nearly enough to devastate those that are fiscally responsible - and, of course, assuming they still have their jobs in place.

So where does that put us? Are we truly in the recession that is now "officially" being passed along to the citizens? Are all those people that have spent more freely this year over last on Black Friday increasing their credit card balances - hoping that all will work itself out if they just ignore it? - or are people truly spending more freely because they actually HAVE more free cash?

Perhaps they are simply ignoring the "economic indicators;" perhaps they all are now of the mentality that "it doesn't matter." After all, all their hard earned income - all of it is taxed - and those taxes are used to fund the crooks in the big business. Maybe, just maybe, the average citizen is deciding for once to live for today - to enjoy what they have now - before the government or the crooks of the big banks take everything they have once and for all.

Recession? We don't need no stinkin' recession!

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