October 07, 2008

Evidence of an Economic Downturn

Well, it's official: the economy is in the process of becoming a smoking pile of debris. I've come to this conclusion based off considerable scientific evidence, which I'll detail here, for your convenience.

First and foremost, the number of news articles featuring images of Wall Street stock traders with their faces buried in their hands is up a staggering 900 percent from this time last year. Stock trader face burying images are a key economic indicator. When you see images of stock traders pumping their fist in the air, or shaking hands with colleagues, you can surmise the economy is strong. Face burying images, on the other hand, do not bode well.

Secondly, I've noticed rampant use of the term "meltdown" in reference to the financial sector. Now, "meltdown" as it's commonly known refers to a failed nuclear reactor, which melts down and causes people to grow extra fingers and toes. Therefore, extending the term meltdown to the financial sector would seem to indicate something pretty monumental. Come to think of it, it's kind of hard to envision a financial meltdown; oh, sure, you could melt down the coins, but the paper money would tend to burn up rather than melt down. Either way, it spells economic trouble.

Back during the early days of the financial meltdown, I witnessed another key indicator of impending economic duress. My wife is an avid fan of "The Suze Orman Show," which features a cute woman with sun bright teeth who yells at her callers for making bad financial decisions. My wife takes down notes during each show, and then doesn't do anything with those notes.

At any rate, during the early days of the financial meltdown, Suze Orman suddenly appeared on television for about 20 minutes, reassuring people about their financial situation and imploring them not to make hasty decisions. Throughout the 20 minute special appearance, there was an incessant backdrop of drums being played urgently and, I might add, annoyingly. Maybe it's just me, but 20 minutes of urgent drumming while a woman with snow white teeth tries to reassure a nervous viewership, doesn't seem to indicate economic stability.

Additionally, last week, my banking institution sent me a letter assuring me my financial assets were secure. Now, I'd never before been sent such a letter; I've been banking at my financial institution for the better part of a decade, and the only thing they've sent me in that time has been my monthly statement. Therefore, when I received a letter last week assuring me everything was okay, the effect, strangely enough, was opposite of that which was intended. I started to QUESTION the stability of my financial assets (which, I should add, aren't exactly substantial to begin with). Again, I feel this doesn't bode well for the overall economic future.

Finally, I feel I simply MUST mention the recent passage of the $700 billion federal bailout of the financial sector, a bailout that actually failed for about a week before it was passed after legislators tacked on a slew of extra "sweeteners" to assuage their local constituents. Two things actually come to mind:

First off, the term "bailout" isn't exactly reassuring. If you've ever been in a boat or canoe, or really any watercraft, requiring a bailout, you realize pretty quickly you're on a structurally-compromised vehicle. Now, if you're on a canoe on a river, a bailout MIGHT get you to shore, while if you're on a ship on the ocean, a bailout may simply buy you time while you wait for SOMETHING to happen. Either way, the boat you're trying to bailout is still a piece of junk. This is not, in my opinion, the analogy legislators and the media should have latched onto when talking to the American public about the financial sector.

Also, the term "sweeteners" would seem to indicate the original bailout plan wasn't particularly palatable to begin with. If you have to sweeten something, you screwed up the original recipe and are compensating with something that may help you swallow the original, but doesn't necessarily ensure the stuff won't regurgitate spectacularly all over the living room sofa.

All of this seems to indicate impending economic calamity, so expect a lot of future pictures of Wall Street stock traders burying their faces in their hands. Also, mention the word "meltdown" whenever you can work it into a conversation.

Posted by Ryan at October 7, 2008 09:08 AM | TrackBack
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