No Bucks, No Bags
28 June 2010
Lately, I've been bombarded by advertisements for high tech gadgetry, luxury automobiles and name brand clothing. Justin Timberlake and Peyton Manning think I should purchase a Sony 3D HDTV for $3059.99 (although, if you're really in the market, Mitsubishi is releasing one soon that's 60" for $999.99). Lexus has a car that has pure silver dust polished into the interior wood panels. Nike seems to think that $70 is a reasonable price for a Landon Donovan US Soccer jersey.
With all this going on, I came to a reasonable conclusion, that the "Great Recession" is finally over. We must have a low unemployment rate and our economy is rebuilding itself. Looking further in to the situation, I learned my assumption was right; CNN and The New York Times have both had reports from expert economists that, yes, the recession has finally ended. In fact, it ended some time between July and September of 2009. You read that right, we've been out of a recession for almost a year now! How awesome is that?
Now, let's talk about reality a bit. The United States still has an official unemployment rate of 9.3%. That figure is higher than any point between 1990 and 2008. It's irresponsible for any high paid pundit, columnist, correspondent, or reporter to attempt to inform the millions of unemployed citizens that the recession is over. Those words from trusted reporters only hurt the average unemployed person more; it's like telling them "everyone else is getting a job, why aren't you?"
Do any of you remember when the whole housing bust happened and our economy went to shit? If you're more than 8 years old, you should. People lost their homes, their cars, their jobs, and their lifestyles (and I'm sure quite a few marriages ended because of it, too). You might also remember the negative stigmatization of US citizens as having not saved enough money for emergency situations. We were told that we caused the recession because we didn't have a high enough ratio of savings to income. This leads me full circle to my opening paragraph.
Understandably, businesses need to generate income and compete for our hard-earned unemployment dollar, but that doesn't mean they should be so heavily advertising towards a financially unstable populace. If we were the reason that our economy went to the dogs, it would make more sense for companies to be developing cheaper methods of producing expensive technology than to be pushing new technology so heavily. With unemployment and collective income still at such dangerous levels, it seems businesses would generate more revenue by offering us good products at far more reasonable prices. It would also be an infinitely more responsible business model.
And for those of you with little to no income, you should be following one real rule; stop spending money on stupid shit. I want to see less people at the mall carrying fresh shopping bags, just follow the phrase "No Bucks, No Bags."