April 22, 2008

Economics 101

If I’m to understand media reports correctly, the American economy is supposedly in a shambles. If I were to glance out my window, I should see the American economy in the distance, exploding in nuclear mushroom cloud glory. The economy is DOOMED!


I’ve noticed the economy is always supposedly doomed during a presidential election year. If we were smart, as a nation, we’d simply stop holding presidential elections so the economy would stop being doomed every four years. Of course, America would have to name me High Chancellor for Life of the United States of America, but we should all be willing to make such sacrifices in the interests of economic stability.

As it is, we’re stuck with our Constitutionally-required process for electing presidents to perform a four year temp job, so I’m currently out of luck when it comes to my bid for the High Chancellor-ship, and the American economy will continue to suffer as a result.

Seriously, the American economy is very important. It was invented back in 1874 by an Irish migrant fishing boat captain named Capt. O’Industry. It was a quaint-looking economy, powered by nothing more than a little kerosene and elbow grease. The economy he invented wasn’t very sustainable in the long run, however, and it eventually broke down on the side of the road in October of 1929.

Americans, understandably, were crestfallen when the economy broke down. For years, they had loved and cherished the American economy, so when it broke down, it was like losing a family member, and there was a considerable mourning period, sometimes referred to as the Great Depression.

A period of economic restructuring followed. Known as “World War II,” the aggressive economic revitalization project relied heavily on military investments, with a minor tangential geo-political focus on the countries of Germany and Japan and, to a lesser extent, Italy. Although the exact details are sketchy, America nevertheless emerged with a super-charged, shiny new, eight-cylinder economy, with killer chrome trim and leather seats. This economy attracts all the chicks.

Unfortunately, the new American economy runs on oil and, to make matters more complicated, countries like India and China have built their own heavy muscle economies so they can compete in the “Earth 365” race with everyone else. Of course, since they built their economies on the American model—they stole the blueprints; long story—their economies run on oil, too.

So, now you have all these countries entering their oil-chugging—though admittedly super-cool looking—economies into the “Earth 365,” which of course means everyone is trying to get their hands on the same oil reserves as everyone else. And now those two economic meddlers, Charles Supply and Nicholas Demand, have come to the table, two men who are notorious when it comes to setting prices on everything.

Well, as you may have guessed, Supply and Demand have dictated higher oil prices, which means it’s costing Americans more to keep our economy up and running and competing in the “Earth 365.”

It seems everyone, especially presidential contenders, has some sort of plan for improving the American economy—which, remember, is DOOMED. Some people believe a hybrid economy is the way to go, while others think we should look at ways to make our existing economy more efficient. Still others think we should just paint our economy and “go green.”

As for me, I’m still holding out for the position of High Chancellor for Life. Such are my modest ambitions.

Posted by Ryan at April 22, 2008 06:01 PM | TrackBack

a "recession" is technically defined by the Fed as not growing as fast as expected.... yet the media takes the word and spins it so that you think you'd best find out where the breadline will be in your neighborhood. other economists use the more accurate term "slowed growth" instead. WTF, media. it's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you tell people it's a recession, suddenly they feel a lot poorer and see signs of it all around them, and then they'll start buying up whatever stupid "solutions" the politicians come up with. i at the same time, everywhere i look i see people filling up carts full of crap they don't need at Best Buy and Wal-Mart and CostCo, so it can't be all THAT bad. declaring a recession is one sneaky way for certain politicians to get the public to accept tax breaks and all kinds of financial policies that don't make economic sense, but you can be sure someone is benefiting big, somewhere.

Posted by: amy.leblanc at April 23, 2008 05:47 PM

I blame Oprah.

Posted by: Ryan at April 23, 2008 06:54 PM

Er... you guys know the price of most grains has doubled in the last year, right? And that the real estate bubble has created unprecedented quantities of bad debt? And that the Canadian dollar is trading on par with the American dollar for the first time in 30 years? And and and?

It may be possible to recover from what's happening without coming to The End of the World As We Know It, but the people who are freaking out about this stuff aren't exactly taking their cues from an altar covered in goat entrails.

Posted by: Joshua at April 27, 2008 09:52 AM

I still blame Oprah.

Posted by: Ryan at April 27, 2008 04:47 PM
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