Thursday, August 11, 2011

America's Mad As Hell Moment

mad as hell 2

Nothing to do with clothing for once.

MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan recently went on an emotional rant worthy of Keith Olberman and the avalanche of response prompted a follow-up in which he expresses the collective rage of the American people toward Washington and the economy. He encourages the people to take to Twitter and Facebook and the blogosphere to express the fact that we are Mad as Hell and that we demand change.

While I agree with the idea that social networking-driven grassroots movements are a new and interesting force in politics and society, I am, personally, a little tired of all the anger and instead offer a bit of constructive musing.

I am currently contemplating the purchase of a home (and am lucky enough to be able to get the credit to do it) but the state of the economy gives me pause; while I am hesitating I realize that it is this very lack of confidence that is one of the greatest threats to the current state of affairs. I am no economist so I may be way off base on this, but it seems to me that in a consumer-driven economy (I believe that the U.S. is 70% consumer-driven), if people aren’t spending money then business aren’t selling things and thus do not need to employ people in order to create and sell these things. My hesitation is perpetuating our economic problems. Of course, I think it is a very good thing that people are scaling back on extravagant spending and living within their means rather than within the means of their Mastercards, but I also think that it is very obvious that we can’t wait around for the turkeys in Washington to fix this mess- they won’t- and that we the people can do something simply by having a bit of nerve, and instead of hiding all of our cash under the mattress, that we responsibly spread some of it around (leave the credit card at home, please). That is, after what drives the economy and the jobs machine and maybe we can fix the economy ourselves, or at least give it a hearty push.

So it may be a stretch to suggest that buying a home despite worries about the stock market, or even just a buying pair of shoes can be seen as an act of patriotism, but in my perhaps twisted world view, that is exactly what it is at this moment in time.

So excuse me while I call my realtor, and then we can get back to the subject of clothing.

EDIT- The very day I wrote this post I got an email from my realtor- the place I am interested in has been on the market forever but that very day they got an offer on it and if I am interested I need to move NOW. So I am looking at a potential bidding war. The irony.


Anonymous said...

Best of luck. As for the rant, I'll have to check it out later when I have a moment. At least it sounds diverting. People express their frustration in various ways.

Good for you for recognizing that not everyone is in as enviable a position as you. Even if they're not hurting, many people know someone who is, or could be in the near future.

Pam said...

I tend to agree with you - and do support the statement that spending dollars does help to boost the local economy.

I am in the process of buying a house and keep delaying. . .

Anonymous said...

It's not always a confidence problem, but rather a delayed reaction to actual changes in market conditions, and your personal prudence in delaying a large purchase isn't necessarily imprudent on a macroeconomic level.

Rose said...

I think that you said it very well. Sometimes we are too quick to blame someone else and Washington is a good target. While I am trying to sew, I keep getting phone calls regarding my opionion about the economy. I bought fabric today that I can afford - That's my opinion! Have fun with the home purchase.

Anonymous said...

Be careful in a bidding war. It is a buyers market, so have patience and be willing to walk'll find something. Best of luck.

Mary said...

Jeffery, there will be another "perfect" home right around the corner. I know of a great one in Cincinnati right now (my brothers)! The right one will be there at the right time. And it is the right time to buy a house, especially in the northeast now that the bubble has burst. It sucks for those who bought while prices were high, but it is a great time to buy now. Buy low, sell high, just like the stock market. Great time to buy on "clearance". Good luck! How exciting!

Eugene Freedman said...

Best of luck. And, for someone who is credit worthy and has cash on hand, it is a very good time to buy a home right now. Property values have fallen, even in the generally strong markets like the Washington, DC suburbs where I live. And, interest rates continue to drop despite the Federal deficit crowding out consumers borrowing money. If it's a long-term investment and you can afford the payment, buy, buy, buy.

Barbara Boll said...

Jeffery, are you sure that interested party is real? To me it sounds like one of the oldest tricks of the trade: putting a potential buyer under pressure by mocking a rivalry.

R. Jeffery Diduch said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments.

The other person was, in fact, real, and aggressive. I just took a deep breath, pretended there was nobody else involved, and set down what I was willing to pay and under what conditions, willing to walk away rather than duke it out.

We went to contract on Saturday and I'm thrilled.


Anonymous said...

Things are not really that simple however. Yes, people need to spend for the economy to move, but spending money that doesn't really improve things beyond the immediate future but will rather make things much much worse. You said yourself that people should live according to their means and not the means of their Mastercard. Right now however, the means people think they have are just a handout from the governments giganourmously unbalanced Mastercard and the ones who will have to eat that debt and the interest are the people. Put simply, once people started to realise they didn't want to live off their credit cards any more and get more realistic with their economy the government got scared because the current economic paradigm doesn't work when the economy recesses. So rather than letting the economy shrink like it should have done they forced people to continue to live off of credit by replacing their wealth with debt.

I'm happy for you on getting a house, I am a home owner myself and love it, I'm just saying don't believe in the myth that recessions are just psychology. Recessions are a result of missdirected investments of artificially created capital during a boom and can never be rectified by pouring more imaginary money into the pool.

Great blog by the way!

Susan Tiner said...

Jeffrey, congratulations on the house!

As I've mentioned before, the person in our household working on tailoring is my partner Martin. We're big fans of your blog, but he's not a social networker, so we only catch up when I think of it, and then don't comment because he's too quiet and I'm not the tailoring student. But we did catch up recently, and yesterday I put a link to a couple of your posts on my own blog. I wanted to comment on this post to say yay for the house! and also that I completely agree with you. This is why we braced ourselves re: the tendency to not spend and are going ahead with vacation plans to London and Paris in March, not to mention doing our bit here in the US with some home improvements and other domestic toys, like three sewing machines!

Anonymous said...

Indeed, "Recessions are a result of missdirected investments of artificially created capital during a boom and can never be rectified by pouring more imaginary money into the pool." So don't feel bad about being a prudent spender. If you are still not convinced, I recommend a great article:

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