Friday, December 18, 2009
Random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...
Much is made about the sales figures for the Christmas season. Strong retail sales are perceived to provide a great economic boost in the U.S., and if retail sales are up, there is heard the sound of great rejoicing in the land; if they are down, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The real economic effect of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S.? Virtually none. We as a nation are a net importer of finished goods. Consider, for example, there are no shoe factories in the U.S. Also no television factories. Many of the finished goods we purchase as gifts are manufactured outside the borders of this country. So, many of these dollars that are being spent during this time of year are flowing to manufacturers in other countries. The real impact of retail sales figures are as an indicator of consumer sentiment. Rising sales figures can indicate that there is more confidence from the consumer. And for our economy, that is a good thing.
I have given up on buns of steel. Now, I want buns of cinnamon.
And speaking of the consumer, it was announced this week that the savings rate in this country had risen to 4%. Last year, it was 1%, and just several years ago, it was a negative number, meaning that we spent more than we earned. So as a nation, we have become thriftier. Good news, right? Well, not exactly. Remember earlier I said that we are a net importer, meaning that we don't make very much stuff here in the U.S. The majority of our work is in service jobs. So if we, as consumers are becoming thriftier and cutting back on spending for discretionary goods and services, we are crimping the growth of the economy. Consumer spending accounts for 67% of our Gross Domestic Product, and since we as consumers are spending less, the economy is contracting. And that is why unemployment is over 10%.
I believe you should follow your dreams. Except that one where you are naked at work.
The Centers for Disease Control released its rankings of the happiest states in which to live based on a survey of objective measures of good living. Climate, crime rate, air quality, schools, and other factors were polled to come up with a measure of happiness. It goes without saying that Tennessee would rate very high in these categories compared to some of the congested northeast states, for instance. And there is no disputing that these factors are very important in determining the quality of life of a city or a state. However, the aspect of Tennessee that , in the opinion of the View, contributes more than any other factor to quality of life and happiness here are the people. There is a sense of compassion toward the neighbor that you may or may not know that is often lacking in other locales. A true sense of warmth and caring for one's fellow man. And that makes me happy.
If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest have to drown, too?
And that, my friends, is my view.