Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I'll spare you the details of my minutes-writing, bed-making, laundry-doing, taking-my-children-to-five-million-activities, picking up, dinner-cooking, dishes-doing day.

Because who wants to hear about that? Not me. I pay good money for high quality, top shelf booze so I can forget about it.

No, what I want to talk about is the government, or think tanks, or the media, or whoever gets to decide that we are officially in a recession. Not just "ew, gas is so expensive," but a real, live, genuine, certifiable, two-back-to-back-quarters-of-economic-shrinkage capital-R Recession.

Because--and correct me if I'm wrong, because this is just my impression--for months now it has seemed to me that the government has avoided using the "R" word. And so has the media. And so people lose jobs, and their houses are worthless, and gas prices are sky-high, and retail sales are flat, and basically, the economy sucks, yet no one is willing to say we're in a recession.

I think there has been a degree--not of hanky-panky, precisely, but a certain amount of pussyfooting around.

It kind of reminds me of the childish way I avoided talking or thinking about cancer, because I knew that if you even think about it hard enough, you'll get it.

Well, I grew up, and a few people I love very much actually did get cancer, and three of them died from it. It became pretty much impossible not to use the "C" word, but you know what? It was OK. I got over that particular superstition.

Well, these economics spokespeople have spent months shying away from the subject of recession. Because consumer spending represents two-thirds of our economy, so in order to keep the economy growing, we have to encourage people to spend. Even if they can't afford it; even if their houses are worthless, and their retirement savings have just evaporated, they must spend.

Or we'll have an "R" word.

So basically, there is a school of thought that says that if you say the R word, it will happen. (For some reason, it's stupid magical thinking when you're Poppy at the age of eight not saying "cancer," but actually true when you're a 54-year-old economist.)

And? Now that they've mentioned it, they won't shut up about it. And this is what makes me really crazy. I want to fly to Washington, D.C., find someone with an advanced degree in economics, and smack him. (Or her. I'm an equal-opportunity smacker.)

Also? I don't want to read one more goddamned article about how we've all been living beyond our means, and our profligate, wasteful days are over, blah blah blah.

Because I pay my bills and I don't need some numbnuts economics professor to get all earnest and inform me, looking straight into the TV camera, that I should stop living beyond my means.

And so I have something to say to all these economists.



  1. Oh, F word, you're right! Time for the Experts to stop skirting around reality. As if we don't know anyway - as if we are all hanging on their every word, waiting for an official declaration that times are tough.

    Well, time to break out my credit card and stock up my own top shelf again. It's gonna be a looong winter!

  2. I work evenings and so my husband has dinner ready when I get home...I know, I'm spoiled. He works one evening a week and on those nights we eat out. For 2 weeks now we have found restaurents empty...even Applebees. I think that's when it hit me that something is really wrong. So we will not be spending our money in chain restaurants but small local businesses. I know it's not much but I can at least direct my spending. And if it gets too tight just forego it. We don't have any investments so we have not lost anything..for once being poor worked. I have owned my home for 40 years and have a small mortgage so I think we'll be okay. I hope so.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more! The reason that they are all now using the R word and can't stop talking about it is that it has actually started hitting them in their own wallet (or investment portfolio) - ouch! The everyday people have already gotten used to the pinch & the squeeze over past 18 months. Reality bites!

  4. I was with you until the end--now I'm all uncomfy. I can take the R word, but still hold the superstition about...that other word.

  5. I've gone one shelf down in an effort to stop living beyond my means.

    Oh, who am I kidding? I don't live beyond my means. I went one shelf down so I can buy more.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.