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Monday
Dec012008

Maybe We Need a Recession - Jdimypai Damour

Happy Cyber Monday! A couple of weeks ago, I was discussing geopolitics and economics with someone on Twitter and they argued that we needed yet another bailout in order to prevent a recession. At which point I cursed the poor state of our school systems and replied that not even the US Treasury would be able to prevent a recession, in fact all of this money printing and deficit building would likely only prolong the suffering. Recessions are as legitimate as expansions or booms and bad businesses with fiscally irresponsible and archaic business models need to go out of business to make way for those who have modern business models and financially sound business practices. It is a part of the business cycle.

Reading the news from the Thanksgiving weekend only confirms my belief that we need recessions.

We need a recession because we have lost our ever loving minds.

We need a recession because we have reached a point where people will trample a pregnant woman and stomp another human being to death trying to be first in line to get a flat screen TV that we could have ordered online at walmart.com.

We need a recession because people are having shootouts and brawls at Toys R Us.

We need a recession because people who are two paychecks away from being homeless are running around buying Christmas presents for fully grown people with full time jobs instead of building an emergency fund and acting as if they deserve a gold star for cutting back this year.

We need a recession because fools in Atlanta are throwing $18,000 birthday parties for 12 year -olds catered by Chic-Fil-A and treating charitable foundations like the latest fashion accessory.

We need a recession because the credit glut of the last 20 years has lead to a bunch of materialistic, ravenous, unaccountable consumers who covet things instead of people and the only way to stop that is the power of the business cycle.

90% of GDP is consumer spending. We're not making anything. We're just fueling our economy spending money we don't have..

A recession will soon teach everybody that credit is not wealth. Home debtorship is not home ownership. Your child won't die if they don't have a Xbox PSP, Wii, or WXYZ. Yes, you CAN survive living on less than what you earn. In the end all of this junk will end up in a heaping trash pile in somebody's landfill.

We need a recession to teach us some common sense. That thrift and saving are virtues and Black Friday ain't really a holiday. Black Friday is a creation of retailers and the news media.

There is a certain wisdom that many of our grandparents have/had. We saw them growing up. Making wine out of water. The original recyclers. They we're recycling food, clothes, and furniture because they cared about the planet, they did it because they had to. They knew what it was like to walk around in shoes with holes on the bottom. They didn't place their faith in the daily temper tantrums of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. They kept a little food aside for a very stormy day and for all of our jokes about hiding money in mattresses, they were probably right the way banks are failing these days.

Our political class is run by a bunch of feckless leaders who seem to believe that you can cure a credit glut by offering more credit. Billions of dollars for the bankers who created this mess in the first place? Its like trying to cure a bout of salmonella by eating more contaminated eggs. The sad thing is that our children and grandchildren will be paying for those rotten eggs

My Christmas list has three names on it. I'll spend less than $200 this year as I do every year because in my family we pull names and I don't have the problem with telling people NO!

We need a recession to smack us out of the MTV Cribs- Flip That House- coma that has beset us all. It is all an illusion. None of it is real.

I am throughly disgusted by those Wal-mart shoppers who had the audacity to be upset when police closed the store because it became a CRIME SCENE after a human being was trampled to death behind some consumer electronics.
"When told to leave," some Valley Stream Wal-Mart shoppers "complained they had been in line for up to 24 hours." A police spokesman said: "This crowd was out of control...." and "described the scene as [one of] 'utter chaos. SF Gate

We need a recession so next Friday after Thanksgiving these fools will be sitting around the breakfast table enjoying family and friends instead of stomping someone else's loved one to death or getting miffed that the crime scene tape is standing in the way of their $350 notebook computer.

In fact, I propose that each of you approach your city council with a "Black Friday Ordinance" make every retailer that advertises a "Black Friday" sale have adequate off-duty police officers on site to control the expected crowd and then send the fire marshal around to every store to shut the whole thing down if necessary.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Jdimypai Damour. I am so very sorry for what happened to him.

Reader Comments (24)

Well said! The death of Mr. Damour has been on my mind all weekend. This happened right in my backyard and it's not something that Long Island (or Wal-Mart for that matter) is going to live down easily. This was a hardworking young man who certainly did not deserve to die like roadkill under the feet of greedy consumer savages.
Is this going to get worse before it gets better? Rich CEO's macking on private jets (courtesy of US taxpayers, thank you) while the unwashed masses murder each other over a handfull of doorbuster televisions? I'm about to start stocking up on canned goods, digging a hole in the yard to hide my cash, and taking target practice.

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMommy B

I was so upset after hearing of all of the events of black friday, especially the death of Mr. Damour. Even though my sister and mom have both stood in line at 4am on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but I have never done that myself. I have always known I can get whatever I want later in the day if I want to buy anything.

My family and I pulls names also, and this year, we are planning to just buy gifts to play the White Elephant game, so we can really save money. But I told my sister the same thing regarding a bailout of the auto industry...these entities need to declare bankruptcy. Funneling money into these companies/banks who are continuing with their bad business pracitices and greed, will not help the economy of this country. We definitely need a recession.

Also, you did such a wonderful job analyzing this situation. I would like to post this on my blog and on facebook so others can read it, giving you fuul credit of course?

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterN.I.A.

I like your suggestion as a possible solution to the madness of Black Friday. I don't even bother with Black Friday. Never have. I don't want to be a part of any crazy people acting more ignorant than usual. My list of gifts needed is very small. I'm not giving to my family that has plenty to waste already; I'm considering taking my younger 2 girls to a shelter or something and showing them by example how to give to others. We gave Thanksgiving dinner for 2 families and that felt wondergul.

These self absorbed, greedy, materialistic people nauseate me.

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercinco

I wanted to write about Black Friday. I riddled my mind with perspectives from conspicuous consumption to materialism vs. the value of human life. I recently wrote a post about frugal living and cc. All the bad behavior on Black Friday would be the perfect follow-up.

But you said everything that needs to be said here, and I am happy to provide a link from my site. You just saved me a lot of writing, because I can't say it better. LOL

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHawa

I heard an NPR report that says most people are shopping for themselves. They're drawn by discounts, not "gift giving." Not that this conduct is excusable. But most stuff is junk. It gets tossed quickly after the purchase. We live in a disposable society, everything and everyone gets destroyed and dumped.

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGoldenah

As a dear reader said on my blog:

"A black eye from black friday!"

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

oops I mean:

"A black eye for black friday!"

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

I guess the recession isn't bothering people that much in the US if they were out shopping their life away over the weekend.

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

I read that another blogger decided to contribute to a charity on Black Friday from now on. This is absolutely dreadful.

I do not give gifts and rarely do Christmas cards. I'm not scrooge by any means but to me Christmas is to celebrate Jesus. I may do a special meal or do something that meets real needs of others. After hearing about this horrible selfish Black Friday I'm more compelled not to participate.

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

I am a recent graduate looking for work in the DC metro area. The recession is not the best time to look for entry-level work. I generally do not spend $ in a crazed, overconsumptive way. Part of the reason I'm broke is b/c I refused to take out private loans while studing for the bar exam. Those of us who are generally responsible but who have fell on hard times don't need a recession.
However, I understand the point of your post. There is a documentary about Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping.

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlunanoire

Gina,

I'm wondering if you will devote any posts to the Prop 8 Gay Marriage Ban and the vote of Black women? I get angrier each time I see an article or post blaming Blacks, now specifically Black women for this ban passing. A recent article in the NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/opinion/29blow.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=gay%20marriage&st=cse now makes Black women out to be uber religious, ignorant, lonely, pathetic homophobes. I don't see the same indignation about the 50% of Whites, or the 60% of Hispanics that also voted in favor of the ban. Were those numbers more acceptable? Or was it a suprise to the gay community that Black people/women don't see the same-sex marriage struggle as one we should automatically be willing to support?

Again, I'm just wondering if you were planning to discuss this.

Regards,

Sheryl Prince

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersheryl

Oh boy some of these Negros are just beyond simpletons. They know they have any money anyway. These are probably some of the same type of people that terrorize neighborhoods and cry about racism being the great evil of our time.

Sheryl, that was an Op-Ed and it was stupid! This is just a continuation of blame the Black woman for everything and we should know by now white racists have gotten a little more clever by using other non-whites to do their dirty work for them. There are several Black female bloggers that have written about Prop 8 & 2 yours truly included.

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

Since Jesus wasn't born anywhere NEAR December I have no idea why people shop for X-mas gifts anyway.

This man was 6'5" and over 250 pounds and those savages trampled and killed him.

For those who believe in the Black Friday tradition is this what your savior died for? Celebrate X-mas in the summer... the calendar time that accurately reflects the birth of christ and there will be no Black Friday.

Jesus in June, anyone?

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBLKSeaGoat

Well said.

I used to work in the mall back when I was in college so I've seen the madness first hand. I'd never shop on Black Friday. Cyber Monday's the less stressful alternative.

December 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymiss

We are already in a recession, they're just not telling anyone. Europe and Asia has admitted to having one and they are in the same mess as we are.

Materialism is nothing more than a new form of slavery, always has been and always will be until we stop letting "things" define who we are as people. When human beings can walk over and trample other individuals for "things" seen, bought, held and sold, that we can't even connect with people where we don't even stop to help our fellow man because we've got to have "another" TV. It's sick and repulsive when people become expendable!

CRACKKKK!!! Can't you hear the whip?!

December 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterYvonne C.

@BlkSeagoat, I thought I read it was an October birth...not that it matters, your point is well taken and I'm not Christian anyways.

@Gina, you speak the truth!

@ MommyB, that might not be such a bad idea. Might want to start a lil garden too. :)

December 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterforeverloyal

This is not just a holiday problem, this is a year round problem. People in this country are raised to be consumers from day one. It starts with the cartoon, that turns into a movie, that then has a promotional toy at McDonalds a video game at Toys R Us. It think we're at the point where we don't care what we consume and what it cost, as long as we have something to consume.

Think about a society where individuals buy SUV's for their singular us, although they know gas is already a scarce resource and it's use severely impacts the quality of air we breath. It wasn't until the price of gas went up that people even began to second guess their choice. Any society that can operate with that amount of audacity is capable of what we saw this weekend. Our sense of collectivism is very fragile to say the least. The fact that Walmart is as powerful of a retailer as it is, despite it's many controversies, is a testament to that. What happened this weekend is the tip of the iceberg, but our behaviors for a long time have shown little regard for the lives of others.

And when I say "our", I mean Americans, all of us, black/white etc. The people lined outside of the store were majority white, but they came in all colors.

December 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteriman

Just read the headline a few minutes ago. His siblings have filed a lawsuit.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,460924,00.html

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

It's sickening how the "spirit" of Christmas has been f--ked up by materialism and "keeping up with the Joneses" at any cost, including death.

If it weren't so sick and twisted and tragic, it might actually be funny. But funny it is NOT.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

And by the way, these deaths and other fights and tramplings that have occurred have been added to my list of reasons for not participating in that Black Friday madness. It's better, and safer it seems, to shop from the comfort of my own home (computer).

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

One last thing - only very close family is getting anything from me this year and each thing will be nice and cheap. Times are ROUGH.

If you haven't already, start stocking up on food and other items to hide in your home instead of buying gifts that probably won't even last a year (or a month).

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

First, consumer spending is about 70% of GDP, and to be honest, I don't know if that is historically high, low or the norm. I think before we condemn a stat we should know it's historical significance.

But your idea that we need a recession is skewed because it punishes the people IE regular people who in fact DON'T cause recessions.
Recessions don't occur because of consumer spending or individual consumer debt.
Recessions hurt MILLIONS of regular people by job loss, lowering savings(I don't know how in your mind recessions INCREASE saving, they don't), and increased dependence on social services such as FOOD STAMPS.

The main thrust seems to be that a recession will lower consumer spending and that is GOOD because we OVER consume, and this recession will teach us not to do those things.

That is just wishful thinking and not in line with reality. Reality is the recession will be very painful, very destructive to the ability of many to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs, and in the END we will be HOPING that people have jobs, and money that allow them to spend.

If we want to control debt, and increase savings our long term problem isn't TOO MUCH spending, it is stagnant wages, and increasing costs of housing, healthcare, childcare, and education.

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteriamme73

I like much of what Iamme73 has to say. Our community has been hoodwinked and bamboozled about how the economy works. Notice how media pundits tried to lay blame on african americans and other minorities to a lesser extent for the so-called mortgage meltdown? Not the house-flippers or the make a million in a month people or the banks or appraisers who overvalued homes or the securitization of mortgages. In addition AfricanAmericans are some of the renting-est people in the country. I am still incensed that middle class euro-americans who got 6 bedroom mcmansions with adjustable rate mortgages escaped scrutiny. Meanwhile the economists are just not getting around to agreeing that there's a recession. I agree, this is not just about consumer spending although we would do well to return to some of the penny pinching ways of big mama and uncle Rudell;)

December 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBlues N Catfish

I keep meaning to pick up a book entitled THE SHOCK DOCTRINE by a woman named Naomi Klein. I've seen clips where she discusses how free market capitalists use disasters to scare populations into passing laws that they would not normally agree to, for example, the patriot act after 9/11 which eroded freedoms. She also discusses the occupation of Iraq and the failure of Katrina. The ultimate goal is to let free market capitalists or reaganesque de-regulation types control the government, eliminate social programs, and raid the US treasury of all funds. I'd say we're right in the middle of that.

December 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBlues N Catfish

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