Uh, Megan? They don’t call it “belt tightening” for nothin’.
I wonder how many Americans work in restaurants. Part time or full time, it has to be a lot of people. I keep hearing how everyone should cut down on dining out (and I’ve done it, too), but that will throw a lot of people out of work.
No matter how we spend less, it will probably make someone somewhere lose a job. Macroeconomics doesn’t answer to you or me but all of us, and the market isn’t making a mistake by correcting the ones we all made. Maybe we’ll learn not to spend beyond our means, but the lure of easy credit is hard to resist. I think we will learn to live within our means, but only because the easy credit won’t be there. If that has no ramifications on your budget, spending, or employment, enjoy that. But if it does, then you better learn to adjust quickly.
Spending on food decreased in my household, though spending on alcohol increased.
I wonder why?
I don’t have to learn how to adjust – my wife and I have always lived within our means. That’s how we managed to pay off everything we own (house, cars, airplane, etc) with the exception of a rental property and still be able to max out our sadly declining 401Ks and Roth IRAs. Now I read that Obama wants to give some sort of bailout to people who bought more home than they can afford. I guess that makes my wife and myself suckers. We should’ve partied hardy all these years and expect others to support our lifestyle (no 41 year old Cherokee for me, I’d get a new Cirrus SR22!).
Seriously, they’re talking about layoffs at my wife’s work so we’re holding on to our cash. I’ll continue to drive my 8 year old car even though we could stimulate the economy a bit by buying a new one (it’s a great time to buy a car if you need one). We’ve cut back on eating out from once a week to perhaps once or twice a month. We’re buying higher quality groceries and we’re exercising more in the hopes of avoiding medical expenses. I’ve never bought fru-fru coffee and I’ve brown bagged my lunch for years.
Still, if everyone cuts back too sharply, we’ll make a bad situation worse. I’ve heard for years that 2/3rds of the US economy is based on consumer spending. Obama’s fear-mongering is serving to undermine consumer confidence even further which will only make the economy worse. Is that his plan or is he too stupid to realize the damage he’s doing? I honestly don’t know.
Larry J, Obama’s not fear-mongering, and you actually can yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater if there’s a fire. This economy is in the shitter. And people aren’t hoarding money, they’re just plain broke. Credit is drying up, so getting new credit to pay off the old credit isn’t the go-to option people (and businesses and governments) expect it to be.
Obama could say things are bad, and get accused of making it worse. He could say things are good, and get accused of ignoring reality (that did well for the GOP in the long-ago elections of 2008.) Consumer confidence is about the wallet on our asses, not something Americans look for from our leaders. If you honestly think things are hunky-dory and Obama should not even mention the economy, say so. But for you to say that Obama is too stupid to realize he’s wrecking the economy with his words tells me that you don’t have a firm grasp of the situation.
But it does sound like you will be in a good position to survive the times ahead. They’re talking about cutting my hours at work (and I work in state government, where we’ve had a hiring freeze for about two years and are on a skeleton staff already,) which is something I can survive. The many others can’t miss a day’s pay per paycheck, but they know better than to whine about that while other people are getting a 100% loss. It’s not pretty out there. Good luck to your wife, and good luck to you too.
Jon, Obama is telling people they cannot safely go out and engage in economic activity — which they must be willing to do to recover this economy.
He’s not shouting fire in a crowded theater, he’s setting the fire.
When I was in Army basic training (many years ago) and being taught first aid, they told us to reassure the patient. “Hey, you’re going to be all right.” It was meant to give them hope. You didn’t go up to a wounded guy and say something like, “Man, you’re really messed up!” A little bit of hope might give someone reason to hold on to life.
Obama is fear-mongering. He said that things were terrible (comparisons to the Great Depression) and without his so-called stimulus package, things were going to get much worse. At the same time, he said that even with the package, things would likely get worse before they got better. The sad fact is that a high percentage of his “stimulus” package won’t even be spent until next year. The tax cuts go to people who by and large don’t pay income taxes. At the same time, there are all sorts of things that roll back welfare refore and expand the role of the federal government in health care. This legislation contains just about every socialist wet dream for taking over the economy and really does little to address the problems we face.
McGehee is right – Obama is talking down the situation and making it worse. He’s setting the fire.
Could you show me a quote that suggests Obama says people can’t go out and engage in economic activity? I know he’s selling his plan, but I haven’t heard him say anything like that. Commerce is all around, always has been, always will be, and I’ve never heard him suggest otherwise. I’ve only heard him comment on the overall amount of commerce. And saying it’s all going to be alright would require a plan to get there. I think the plan is flawed, but I am sold on the need for some serious changes.
First aid is first aid. But this economy doesn’t need compression and cheery reassurance until the ambulance comes. It need a new heart, a bunch of skin grafts, dialysis, brain surgery, reinflated lungs, some titanium rods shoved into its hips, a new spine, and enough drugs to make an elephant seal want to fuck a nuclear submarine. Obama is still trying to sell hope, but reality is selling doom and gloom.
It need a new heart, a bunch of skin grafts, dialysis, brain surgery, reinflated lungs, some titanium rods shoved into its hips, a new spine, and enough drugs to make an elephant seal want to fuck a nuclear submarine. Obama is still trying to sell hope, but reality is selling doom and gloom.
And you think our political “leaders” in Washington are the ones qualified to do the job? Show me some successful examples of centrally managed economies and maybe I’ll grant your point. However, my experience has seen that whenever politicians have tried to manage the economy, they’ve ususally managed it over a cliff. It sounds like you’ve drank the Kool-Aid.
Government caused this problem, Jon.
I never said I thought the government could fix the market, only nudge it. And yes, government caused some of this problem (base cause: we want more stuff than we’re willing to pay for–true on the personal, corporate, governmental, and intergovernmental level.)
Obama’s selling of hope is not making me think this plan will work to undo the financial reality. I think the financial reality is much worse than he’s admitted even when trying to sell this audacious waste of money (and I actually think the huge tax cuts combined with massive spending are going to make an even bigger mess of things than they already are.) Have I imbibed of the Kool-Aid? No, the despair hasn’t hit in enough yet.
Since much of the stimulus is in tax cuts, I fail to see how this is an attempt to create a “centrally managed economy.” Sounds more like a bread and circuses kind of thing. The rest is a spending package to target this and that (it’s not a simple exercise in wasteful spending, as a lot of the stuff can even be considered wise investments, but it’s not exactly going to make us all have extra cash on hand, either.)
I proudly reserve my right to proclaim that we’re totally fucked no matter what we do. That I support the President’s silly plan has very little to do with my lack of faith in the plan’s success. The free market is in charge, and it’s heading for a worldwide economic contraction. Buckle in and enjoy the ride.
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