Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Upturns with no downturns

Jerry Stratton, January 3, 2009

I have to say, I agree with with those who think that the media is exacerbating the economic downturn. I hear people who are doing extremely well complaining continually about how bad the economy is. They’ve been doing this for years, even when unemployment was at a record low and buying was at a record high. Now that things really are down they’re in a frenzy of self-desolation. When I wrote about how reading the New York Times and similar news sources makes people more ignorant, this is one of the things I meant. For the people who read it, every piece of news that supports their pessimism is used as ammunition for saying that the economy is doing poorly; any news that indicates otherwise is ignored or twisted.

Stores reporting a 3% holiday spending drop before all sales are in—and after seven years of holiday spending increases? The economy is collapsing. Amazon doing record business? People can’t afford gas. Gas prices down? It’s the failing economy that’s causing it.

It’s gotten to the point where anyone who says we’re in a recession isn’t trustworthy enough to believe. We probably are in a recession right now, but even that gets twisted. What economists call a recession isn’t what most people call a recession. Most people think a recession is when the economy is doing poorly; economists go back to when the economy was at its best, and mark that as the start of the recession.

People want upturns with no downturns. But downturns are where we get innovation and growth. If the auto manufacturers, for example, are propped up when they would otherwise fail during this downturn, what we’re really doing is blocking innovative new companies from entering the automotive market. If people who can’t afford houses are given loans they can’t afford, what we’re really doing is making house prices artificially high, keeping people who are fiscally responsible from buying new houses. Now the newspapers themselves want a bailout. All that will do is prop up a failed business model, and reduce the likelihood of innovative new media sources from arising.

When we bail out companies that can’t otherwise survive, we’re hurting—and probably aborting—companies that could survive if the market wasn’t filled with government-funded competitors.

  1. <- Obama Canticle
  2. Farewell Mr. Bush ->