Sunday, October 5, 2008

Recession Obsession

I've been looking at my last few posts. Real cheery stuff. Sorry about that. It's a Sunday morning, it's 60 degrees, the coffee's warm and the air conditioning is finally off. All's well.

I was out for much of the day yesterday, just going here and there. Much of the news this week has been on the so-called "bailout" package that passed in the House and Senate this week. Many of the politicians and pundits are saying we're in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Some observations from yesterday;

The gym was packed. Obviously, people who are soon to be homeless via foreclosure still want to look good. That's a plus.

There was a healthy line at Fatburger. Most of the tables were occupied. It looked to me like everyone had their own meal. Heck, more people had thick, frosty shakes than didn't! Then I remembered a piece that I read that said the economy is making people dive into fatty comfort foods more than ever. They're eating to escape the bad economy. Obviously, except for me and Pumpkin, these weren't the same people I saw at the gym

After Fatburger, it was off to the mall. I wanted to get some nice duds for the new gig. It sure was hard to find a place close by to park. Bright spot: I walked off my Fatburger combo. Then I remembered that people are "comfort shopping" to take their minds off the.......anyone........? Bad economy, right!!. By the way, I got two pairs of shorts, a nice shirt, nice pair of pants and a belt, all for around $40. Gotta look where the deals are, my friends. Maybe people are waking up to the fact that paying $80 for a pair of slacks is simply asinine.

Later, it was off to Von's for some grocery shopping. Not many people there, which is normal for a Saturday night. Here's the thing. For being in "The Worst Economy Since the Great Depression", the store shelves were awfully full. I wanted for nothing. Total number of people begging for bread outside of the store: 0.

Just for fun, I drove past an Outback Steakhouse and a Buffalo Wild Wings on the way home. Both parking lots were packed. What the hell is going on? How can everyone be out spending money when I keep reading that they don't have money to spend?

Politicians and pundits claiming this to be the Worst Economy Since The Great Depression show an alarming lack of historical knowledge. There are no bread lines. There are no great migrations of people looking for a better life. John McCain has taken a lot of heat for saying that the economy is "fundamentally sound". What the critics conveniently overlooked in that sentence is the word "fundamentally". The basics of a free market economy are fundamentally sound, certainly more so than a socialist-based system. As is bound to happen over time, sometimes the system needs repairs, and that's when checks and balances are instituted. That's where we find ourselves today.

It's no different than when laws are passed following a tragedy. In light of the Metrolink train crash in L.A. last month that killed 25 people, railroad workers can no longer text or use electronic devices while piloting a train (the engineer was sending texts and missed signals that led to a head-on collision). A law developed from tragedy. The economy is similar but on a much larger scale. There are periods of good times, periods of great times, and periods of bad times. Bad times are needed to create longer lasting good times, as wars are sometimes needed to create longer lasting peace.

I've rambled long enough. I'd go to the Original Pancake House at Green Valley Ranch for breakfast, but I'm guessing at this time of day, it's something like a 45 minute wait. Damn economy.

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