It was Saturday morning and I had just returned from yoga class and a few minutes shopping at the local farmers market. I poured myself a cup of coffee, picked up the newspaper and went to sit on my back porch to enjoy a few more minutes of relaxation before I started in on the day’s chores.
I took a sip of coffee, opened the Washington Post , and totally lost my hard earned karma! The headline read: “Economy Turning Out of Steep Dive: Slow to Spend Again, Consumers Could Be Holding up the Recovery” (emphasis added).
Excuse me? I thought consumer spending WAS the problem! For months, we’ve been told that we were the ones who overextended ourselves, failed to read the fine print in our mortgage documents and home equity loans, bought LCD TV’s when we should have saved, etc….
And just when we’ve started to learn our lesson and cut back on our spending, we’re supposed to spend more and take on more debt?
And even if that was a good idea, exactly how are we supposed to spend more? Clearly, Neil Irwin and Ylan Q. Mui, the authors of this article, failed to talk to Michelle Singletary, who only the next day in the business section of that very same newspaper, exhorted the unemployed to “take charge” of finding a new job,  and listed out the “very sobering and very real” jobless numbers:
-- 584,000 people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended July 25. That was an increase of 25,000 from the previous week.
-- 6.2 million people collecting unemployment checks.
-- 6.5 million jobs slashed from the labor market.
This is the only recession since the Great Depression that has wiped out all job growth from the previous business cycle, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. Further, with less than one job opening for every five job seekers, unemployed workers are getting stuck in unemployment for long periods. Twenty-nine percent have been jobless for more than half a year.
And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of unemployed people in June was actually 14.7 million people  -- in other words, another 8.5 million people are unemployed and don’t even have unemployment insurance checks to help them out.
So, with almost 1 in 10 people out of a job, and the rest of us taking furloughs, pay cuts, and looking at 401Ks that are worth only 2/3 of what they were 18 months ago, you have to wonder what world Irwin and Mui are living in to write that headline.
And then I remembered Bush’s solution to the 9/11 crisis:  "Get down to Disney World in Florida," he said two weeks after the attack. "Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed."
So much for change…...