I was talking to another contractor in the office today. Both of us are information services contractors working temporarily. He’ll only be here for another month and then he’s moving on to another contract in another city. His philosophy is that as long as you have the flexibility to move around and go where the market is you’ll always have a job. I used to have that philosophy too until I started wearing a little more of my ethnicity on my sleeve. Now that my hair is locked and I have been able to avoid getting it cut jobs are running a little scarce. My associate is white. Companies wait in line to hire him. I have more hands on development experience. But he has project management experience that I don’t have. He says that he never had an employer check his references. I told him that I’ve never had an employer hire me without checking every single one of my references. It goes without saying that we have different experiences in the job market.
But we’re talking about the economy. This morning the market dropped four hundred points before it even opened. He had to do an emergency call to his broker to move some money around so that he can avoid anymore losses associated with the latest Dow Jones freefall. He’s already lost a pretty good chunk of change and he is trying to keep further losses at bay. But he is upbeat. There are some stocks that have just about hit rock bottom prices and he’s ready to capitalize.
I have to tell my associate that my cash flow just isn’t at a point where I can make stock investments just yet. But even if I could I wouldn’t play the market. Me give my money to somebody else so that they can lose it for me? I can lose my money all by myself, thank you. Right now my focus is to become as resilient as I can to this upcoming economic recession or, even worse, depression. My family and I have managed to minimize our expenditures. If everything continues to go well, we will be pretty much debt free in another month or so. Anything we purchase these days will be done with cash. That includes the minivan we will need shortly for our extended family as well as the house we plan to buy. It goes without saying that the house will be a fixer upper.
My associate and I were talking about vehicles and I told him I was in the market. His suggestion was to check out the new Toyota Highlander now with three rows of seats. He went to buy a brand new car just a few months ago and managed to snag a new 2008 Toyota cheaper than what a brand new 2007 vehicle was going for. It sounded nice. But I’m not looking for a loan and my wallet wouldn’t be able to take a thirty thousand dollars or so cash hit for at least a few years yet, and not until I have the deed to my completely renovated house. And more than likely I would be loath to take that kind of a hit for a car even then. I’m looking at spending a maximum of six thousand dollars on a vehicle maybe four or five years old. It goes without saying that my associate and I don’t shop in the same circles.
But anyway we are talking about the recession. We agreed that the sub prime mortgage market is primarily responsible for the woeful economic conditions of the global economy. We agreed that the tax rebates suggested by the federal government is only a Scooby Doo band aid to make people feel better about the economic ouchie that so many people are going through right now. However my associate admitted that he’s not happy about the steps the government is taking and suggesting to help so many consumers who are caught in the sub prime mess. When he was having trouble meeting his bills a few years ago nobody came and bailed his ass out. He and his family had to scratch and claw their way out of their mess. Now, these people are going to be bailed out of virtually the same thing. And you know who is going to pay for it, you and me and everybody else who pays taxes and pays their mortgages. I merely reminded my associate that unless we all work together no one is going to get out of this unscathed unless we all work together. He agreed. But he agreed just a little too quickly. The conversation was changed to something else. I think it was the weather.
I wanted to continue talking about the economy and how if he doesn’t help his neighbor when the value of his neighbors’ house slips then the value of his house will slip. If the economy continues to fall and no one else is able to come into the stock market his new rock bottom bargain stocks will fall through the floor and continue to plummet to a new rock bottom status. Everybody has something to gain by helping each other and everybody has something to lose if we sit back and wait for a fix that is fair for everyone. To take the attitude that nobody helped me so we shouldn’t help anyone without making sure everyone gets something out of it is pretty selfish and asinine. It is akin to saying that when there is an epidemic that can be contained by giving all the sick people medicine, we have to make sure that we develop a medicine that we can give to everyone to make sure the people who don’t need it can get a benefit out of it because nobody helped them when they were sick. This is American selfishness at its worst.
People want to make sure the rich and the well to do get an economic incentive as well as the people at the bottom of the economic pile that are doing their best just to get by. They pay taxes so why can’t they get the same benefit? But do they really need it? Will giving a millionaire an eight hundred dollar check get them to help stimulate the economy? I doubt it. Chances are the millionaire isn’t really hurting and trying to make ends meet.
The subject is a moot one to be honest. Even if everybody in America got a check from the government it is nothing more than a feel good measure to make people feel better about this economy that has the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The public will get their checks and the economy will absorb the cash infusion and turnaround to look for more. People will get a one month reprieve. But nothing is really changing. We will still have a sub prime mess. We will still have escalating unemployment. We will still have inflated fuel and oil prices. We will still have an entire sector of our population that will be economically subjugated. We will still have wages falling in comparison to household expenses. The cash infusion is nothing but a Scooby Doo band aid trying to stop the bleeding from a major artery that has been severed.