Wednesday, May 11, 2005

National Economics for You and Me

Rumor has it that we are in the throes of a bad economy in northeast Ohio.  Everyone talks about it.  Its one of the reasons that the Village Council gives when talking about shortfalls.  Its a reason given as to why many cannot find jobs. 

People equate “I have no money” with “the economy is bad”.  This is a fallacy.  The economy has very little to do with you or I individually.  I’d actually go so far to say it has nothing to do with us at all, unless you’re a millionaire or corporate partner, and if that is the case, would you consider an ad on my site?  Sure, I don’t have a lot of traffic, but I promise that things would get better. 

What exactly are “economic indicators” that all these talking heads on television keep referring to?  There’s the unemployment rate, which stands at 5.2% right now, but let’s look at that in the positive.  That means that 94.8% of people that want to work have jobs.  Well, that sounds incredibly good when you look at it that way.  There is this new spin on it though that keeps saying, “Well, those are the people who are still looking for a job, what about the many who have given up?”  What person in their right mind gives up looking for a job?  And if they do give up, how are they getting along with paying for food and shelter?  Do these things just magically appear out of the ether for them?  Can I tap into that, because I’m really tired of this whole idea of working for a living?

Another indicator is the trade deficit, which goes up and down, but is generally up, because China has a billion people and we only troll along at about two hundred seventy million.  I’d say a $60 billion trade deficit is pretty good considering that.  Next time you head down to Wal-Mart and buy that propeller beanie that you so desperately desire because all the kids are wearing them nowadays, remember that you’re a lowly participant in the global economy, which really means nothing, except that Sam Walton’s benefactors appreciate it, and so does Yen Schmen who put the thing together.  Its because of your blind acceptance of all things fashionable that he’s able to put food on his table, which was made of Alaskan Pine, which was transported by a ship made in Sweden, driven by oil refined in Argentina, drawn from the ground in Belize, discovered by a tiny firm in Iowa that got lost one day while on a three hour tour.  Yay for propeller beanies!

Then there’s Wall Street.  A nice little street in New York City that’s been fouled by some of the most paranoid people in the world.  If a leader of one of the OPEC nations sneezes, the price of oil rises forty-five cents. 

Ah sweet inflation.  That lovely indicator that tells us that if you put that five bucks you were going to spend at Burger King on that delicious Whopper with Cheese value meal into a mayonaisse jar for thirty years, you might then be able to head down to the local Burger Non-Gender-Specific-Head-Of-State and possibly buy a piece of cheese.  Inflation likes to hang out at right around 2%, but sometimes flirts with 3%, because he’s kind of a floosy.  You and I don’t really deal all that much with inflation, and we hardly see its effects.  Its more of a drawn out thing that changes slowly.  It sounds horrible when we hear the number, but we’ve been dealing with it for years. 

Are you still keeping up or do I have to put a picture of [insert hot babe/hunk] here?

So anyway, you blend all of these things together, add a bit of salt to taste, and voila!  You have a guess at what the economy is doing today.  Yes, its pretty much just a guess.  Tomorrow things will be different.  Its anybody’s guess as to what things are going to take place. 

As for my place in the economy, hey, Greenspan isn’t exactly knocking on my door for advice.  (He’s the guy that tells us that we rule or we suck.  You know, chairman or some such.)  I’m more than happy for him to give the talking heads something to panic about today, and go on my own merry way making a living as I always have.  He doesn’t rule my life, and he shouldn’t rule yours either.

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