Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thoughts on the Recession

Did you know there's a recession going on?! Of course you did. Even if your job hasn't been affected at all, you noticed, because it's everywhere. I noticed too. Here are some of the things I find interesting:

+ Most marketing and advertising is still as shameless as ever: It seems like every tv commercial and internet ad out at the moment mentions the "tough economy" in some way or another. They emphasize that, in these tough times, it's important to be wise with your money, so you really should buy ABC insurance or XYZ pickup truck. We're supposed to be bailing out these jerks? They have jobs. Could they be any more insincere in their advertising?

+ To be fair, there are a few examples of companies behaving well: I saw a commercial that said Hyundai is selling their cars with a guarantee that if you lose your job in the next year, you can return it. That sounds like a winner of a proposal to me. The company looks good, like it cares. Not that I'm in the market for a car, but it makes me more likely to buy Korean.

+ I thought I noticed a change in retail service. It looked like service was getting better, with people working just a little harder so they're not the next one to be laid off. Then I got really crappy service at Eggspectations, and kicked some dirt on my theory. Still, I'm very curious to see if, as the unemployment rate increases, people will start taking their jobs more seriously. I recognize that there will always be the odd jerk out there serving you coffee with a scowl to whom you'd like to say, "Hey, I ALSO worked all day." Hopefully now there'll be less of them.

+ Partisanship is alive and well in Washington. I don't think it's Obama's fault. Republicans need to come up with some idea that is not tax cuts. They also need to drop the hypocritical cries for less government. I wish there were more sane Republicans for Democrats to reach out to, but it seems they've all been replaced by Democrats, and we're left with the radicals that come from the reddest of red states.

+ You know what would be great for the country right now? If those AIG execs who got the money just voluntarily gave back their bonuses. If ever there was a chance to cash in on changing the public's opinion of the financial system, it is now. They don't need that money! They're rich folks. And it's not like they're giving it away. They ARE buying something by giving the money back: public backing, the good will of a nation. AIG is toxic now. I doubt they did anything that was at all uncommon in the industry, but it's extremely popular to harp on bonus-giving at the moment, on both the right and the left. It won't do any good if they're forced to give it back. It has to be a grand gesture of voluntary support for a nation in need of such grand gestures from everyone, not just the president. That's what change is, people!

It's an interesting point in our nation's history. I'm not satisfied with the news we get from traditional sources; it's just too narrow in scope, I think. I hope the internet cultivates some bigger, more radical ideas for charting the course of the nation's and world's future. But I'm not holding my breath.

1 comment:

Bret said...

I hope the service at Eggspectations is never a valid indicator of the status of the economy