Last year, my morning paper would put out the occasional feature piece about how I'm a horrible person because I've yet to crank out my allotment of 2.4 babies. The media analysis is usually that I'm laser-focused on my career, I don't believe in biological clocks, and that I'm quite possibly a selfish whore.
"Divorced, no money, and living in a studio apartment," is the actual reason, but, hey, "selfish whore" works, too. Whatever.
With The Greatest Economic Disaster Ever, Ever, EVER going on, the media has taken a new tack. They are no longer chastising me for my dusty unfeminine womb. Instead, I'm being clucked at for a new form of unfeminine hagitude: I don't shop enough.
I caught this blaring Express headline on my way to the Metro yesterday:
"U.S. Thrift Hurts the Economy"
Well, golly. I'm no economic expert. My knowledge is limited to a daily digestion of the Business section, and that D- I got in Econ 10 my junior year of college. But I do know that we got into this mess, at least partially, because America's savings rate has been near zero for heaven knows how long, we all bought on credit like we were on a neverending shore leave, and we're stupid moronic idiots. So when the job losses rolled in, and mortgages ballooned, we had no cash reserves and immediately began to squawk for help.
We lost 55,000 jobs in one day last week. Health costs are leaping all over the place, 401(k)s are worth about as much as Zimbabwean paper money, and we have real concerns about the sustainability of the economy. But nearly every day, the Post writes a pity piece and chastises us to go help the poor sad helpless retailers. (Who, incidentally, are major Post advertisers...coincidence?)
Gack. Spare me. Thrift is a virtue. Savings are good. We're supposed to sock away money for a rainy day/retirement/a down payment. We cannot live forever as a society of people who go out and buy stuff they don't need, and can't afford, with no plan for the future. Yes, hoarding is bad, and money needs to circulate, but do we really want to encourage people to go buy a bunch of useless crap when a sacking might be around the corner? Doesn't that cost us more in the long run?
Oh, wait, what long run? Who needs to think ahead, anyhow? There's a bailout at the end of the every tunnel!
In the meantime, I will be saving my pennies. In fact, I will pour them into a kiddie pool and swim around, like a low-rent Scrooge McDuck.
PS - if you have differing opinions, and/or actually understand economics, please do weigh in. I love a good dialogue. Just don't be a dink - I've freely admitted that maybe I don't know everything, and appreciate when others do the same.