Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Recession is Over, but the Economy is Not

The recession is over. I know it. I have proof.

I got a bread-machine off of eBay in January. I thought I could save about $0.60 per loaf, which I could. So I went about making my bread. It was pretty easy. I just had to put the ingredients in and turn it on. Several hours later, out came my loaf. Well, the size was larger than the average bread slice, so I had to trim off the crusts every time. The crusts I turned into bread crumbs, but I didn't need that many bread crumbs. The taste was good, better than store bought bread. But it was hard to slice thinly and evenly. And it went bad faster than store bought bread.

So, bread is on my list for next week's shopping. Tonight is burger night and instead of making the bread for the burger bun, I am doing a mystery shop at McDonald's.

Laziness is a huge factor in our economy. One ubiquitous tip is to make your coffee at home. My husband and I have always done this, as have both of our parents, so this was a no brainer. Obviously, not everyone does this. They like their over priced fancy coffee. If I want fancy coffee, I get a little wild in the dairy creamer aisle of Walmart. But that's how they prefer it. After a while, these people will realize that their home made coffee is not the same as the coffee at the shop coffee. That combined with the perceived extra effort makes it bound to fail.

Why would it be bound to fail? People have always cut corners when funds are short. This is true, but funds, for most people, actually aren't that short. Over 90% of the country has not been laid off. They have no reason to cut back unless it is the thing to do. It's not going to be the thing to do for long because cutting back is not as much fun.

Our economy is the cumulative result of individual's decisions. My purchase of bread combined with all that coffee being purchased will make a difference. As people start to go back to normal spending levels, the recession will cease.

The economy, however, will not cease. We are a consumer driven society. We purchase but don't create. We organize and advise, but what makes us believe that these skills cannot be outsourced? Our economy has no foundation. We will continue to spend, maybe not at exactly the same level, but we will continue. Combine that with the spending and borrowing our government is undertaking and the value of our dollar will inevitably plummet. So maybe we won't resell our bread machine on eBay.

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