It's the stupid, economy.

Driving home from work yesterday, I heard the snively voice of Robert Siegel on NPR, sounding like he was trying to hold a popsicle stick under his tongue, making this statement.
“Though it may not be big news to most Americans, it’s official: The U.S. economy is in a recession.”
This was the teaser for the upcoming “The World” segment that they play before the news at the top of the hour. The top story of the news, given with dignity by Lakshmi Singh, was that the U.S. economy was in a recession. This before the apprehension of the terrorists involved in the Mumbai massacre or the civil unrest in Thailand. A commentator came on and mentioned that, yes, it is true, we have been in a recession. When Robert Siegel came back on, he lisped his way through the story again. Yes, we are, in fact, in a recession.

And what’s worse, we’ve been in one since December 2007! We have lived in a state of utter denial for over a year. We Americans are so incredibly stupid that the top story in the news is how we didn’t even know how stupid we were for an entire year. It’s like telling an amputee,
“Hey, by the way… about a year ago we had to cut off your leg above the knee. I don’t know if you remember or not, but you have only one functioning leg.”
“Oh, really? I had no idea! So that’s why I keep falling on my face when I try to walk up the stairs. For a year now I have been so confused and now it all makes sense.”

Yes, it’s official. For a year we’ve been in a recession. It takes us a year to figure these things out because we are trying to save money on economic research. We have outsourced the research to a group in India. We should have received it a few weeks earlier, but, well, you know, the terrorists and all. But, boy, at least that information came out on the Monday after Black Friday. That might have put a damper on those crazy holiday shoppers.

People know that we are in a recession, and it isn’t a big surprise. That is why people are not buying cars, and therefore single-handedly taking down America’s lie-support system in the automobile industry. That is why people are taking money out of the banks and investing them into a mutual fund of box springs and mattresses. That is why people will do anything for a good deal. Anything.

Just before 5:00 AM on November 28th, a throng of people gathered at a Long Island Wal-Mart. The door greater, Jdimytai Damour, came to unlock the doors to let the shoppers loose on their orgiastic holiday spending spree. As soon as the doors were unlocked, the customers pushed each other through the doors, bending the steel frame of the entrance. They ran as they made their way in, knocking over Jdimytai as he tried to calm everyone down. They pushed into him and then pushed him over. Hundreds, yes, hundreds of people stepped on his legs, stomach, throat, and head on their way to buy the DVD game “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader”. Knocked unconscious and struggling for air, the paramedics were called as shoppers continued to step over and on the man to get their shopping done. When the paramedics arrived, they as well were pushed to the ground as they were trying to revive the man. An hour later, he was pronounced dead. The deal on the Incredible Hulk action figure for $9.oo was pronounced a steal of a deal.

So much can be said about the tragedy and how it reflects on our American sensibilities. Other injuries occurred across the country, as they usually do. One incident was a female shopper at the next Wal-Mart over who reported being trampled by several customers, but only reported it and sought medical attention after she finished her shopping.

There is a reason that Wal-Mart is booming. There is a reason why Campbell’s soup stock has remained steadily on the rise while other companies flounder. There is a reason why what you pay for your base price of a plane ticket is merely for the privilege of being in the air as everything else is added as a surcharge. There is a reason why multi-million dollar movie productions are being cancelled and fewer movies are showing up in the theaters. There is a reason why Oprah’s favorite things no longer make her studio audience scream for joy when they each get them all. There is a reason why people are losing their jobs, why the crime rate is on the rise, why the divorce rate is up, and why more Americans are begging for food on the streets and going to bed hungry than at any other time in the past 50 years. There is a reason people don’t mind the fact that they may have killed a man if they can save money on their holiday shopping. As James Carville once drawled, “It’s the economy, stupid.” It is because we are in the middle of a recession, and I just found out yesterday.


Project said...

We all need to consume, maybe we can save the economy! At least that is what some people think.
I was very surprised when I found out that your Black Friday Wal*Mart story was actually true. The event sounded so unrealistic that I had to check it, just Unbelievable! Thankfully the Netherlands is still in its stages of denial, we aren't officially in a recession yet! So we can just enjoy life here and keep spending, while the world goes crazy around us.