My turn: An ironic proposal to battle recession

Posted: Thursday, March 06, 2008

Despite some economists' claims that no recession is imminent, I think we all know better than that.

But what does a recession mean for the ordinary person? It's actually quite dire, as I will explain.

First, a recession means no new flat-screen TV. By the same token, other must-have items such as SUVs, spacious McMansions, iPods, iPhones, and iAnythings will also be harder to get ahold of. This means that millions upon millions of Americans will have to suffer and deal with their slightly used vehicles, their adequate-but-not-huge houses, and their fifth generation iPods. Yes, I know these are almost necessities these days, but the recession hits us all very hard.

Second, it means fewer jobs will be available, because we simply can't expect a corporation to get by with a profit margin one or two percentage points below what it would normally be. While our system is already set up to function with a level of unemployment, a recession raises it a little too much. It's good if hundreds of thousands of people have no jobs, but not millions. Any attempt to fix this with government regulation would turn us into an evil socialist state as well, so we all just have to trust in our corporate executives to do what is right.

And third, a recession often causes inflation, which makes our dollar worth less. You remember when the Canadian dollar briefly surpassed the U.S. dollar several months ago - we can't repeat that debacle, now can we? If we can't beat Canada, then who can we beat? Just imagine if we had to cooperate with other nations.

But remember, we're all in this together, so show your unity by looking out for number one.

Now, recession is usually defined as a drop in gross domestic product over two or more consecutive quarters. In plain terms, the economy needs to keep growing in order to sustain itself. To illustrate this concept, take the Roman Empire. When it began to have difficulty conquering new lands and acquiring new slaves and wealth, it declined and fell. Or take cancer. It grows very fast and eventually kills itself once the unfortunate cancer patient's body can't support it anymore. This is the beauty of our great capitalist system; as long as it keep growing, it should be fine.

The solution to a recession is easy. Buy more stuff. The more people buy, the more corporations will produce, which means more economic growth.

I know times are tough. A recession means less money for all of us, which makes buying stuff harder. However, I have good news. One doesn't actually need to have money to buy things! Most of us receive countless credit card applications in the mail, so helping this great country pull out of its recession (or stave off future ones) is as easy as filling out an application and sending it back to the corporation it came from in a prepaid envelope!

After receiving your credit card, simply spend, spend, spend! Once you've filled up one credit card, you can transfer the balance to another one with a higher credit limit. In this way you can contribute thousands of dollars to the economy without actually having that money to begin with. Many Americans actually already know this secret and have been faithfully practicing it since the 1980s. If you find yourself unable to pay back the credit card companies, simply declare bankruptcy. About a million more people a year declare bankruptcy than twenty years ago, so get in on this trend before it becomes unpopular again!

Basically, the important thing to remember, in the midst of a (possible) recession, is this: The American way is to spend money. So go out and buy that iMcHummer you've always wanted. To do anything less is unpatriotic.

• Josh Carter is a Juneau resident.

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