Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The "Marginal Depression"

Long ago, we had the Great Depression, which is generally talked about in a very long and historic fashion. Historians write books on the period of America. Wannabe historians appear on TV and chat for hours over a topic which they might be mildly knowledgeable in terms of events. If a guy sits down today, and looks over the sum of events of the past decade….there’s more than a recession at work.

So I’d like to invent a new term to be used…..instead of the “Great Depression”, I’d like to refer to the current period of history…..as the “Marginal Depression”.

A “Marginal Depression” is when you do everything possible to paint over economic issues and invent various programs to hide economic uncertainty. You keep banks alive…when they ought to be failing. You keep people in houses, when the mortgages have failed, and you invent various tricks that just keep the original mess just out of sight. You take measures to increase tax revenue….to shift money from public expenditures via people or industry, to government expenditures.

A “Marginal Depression” is easy to explain. It’s not in full view. It’s not a talking point with the breakfast talk shows. It’s can’t be openly discussed because it’s not ‘great’.

The fact that a guy who is 68 years old has to work, and can’t retire….is never openly discussed.

The fact that a kid is told by his parents that it’s community college in the local area or no college at all….is never openly discussed.

The fact that you have to drive a car out to 150k miles or eight years….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you aren’t doing as much preventative maintenance on your car as you used to….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you buy your dress shirts now from Wal-Mart or a discount center on a routine basis, instead of Pennys or Sears….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that Christmas gifts are economically planned out by some people months ahead of time….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you don’t worry about fixing the broke dish washer, and just start washing dishes the plain old fashion way….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you really hate the house you live in, but you can’t refinance it for a better rate, or sell it because of the under-water mortgage situation….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that your usual seven day vacation is now limited to one three-day weekend at some regional hotel with a pool….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you gave up all your subscriptions to magazines and newspapers….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you finally replaced your old broke mower, with a used mower....because you really couldn't afford a new one….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you quit premium TV packages of HBO and Showtime…..isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you discuss a major house renovation with the undocumented Juan, and not Larry the local guy that you usually turn to for major construction on the house…..isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you only buy beer at the store when it’s on sale or near expiration, or discounted….isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you now grill more hot dogs and burgers than steaks like you did five years ago…..isn’t openly discussed.

The fact that you’ve become a choosey shopper and won’t buy anything unless it’s discounted or you buy in bulk….isn’t openly discussed.

So, it’s the “Marginal Depression”. There probably aren’t any great writers writing on the topic, or wannabe experts discussing it on TV….but it’s a depression no matter how you perceive it.

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