Friday, July 10, 2009

Recession Starting to Get Scary

A few months ago, I scoffed when people guessed that economic recovery might be within sight. I'm pessimistic about our escaping this anytime soon. But some recent experiences leave me feeling like we're downright drowning.

First, in the last few weeks, I've been noticing retailer desperation ratcheting up to an unprecedented degree. My local supermarket's shelves are suddenly filled with cheap meager items. For example, I found a box of eight small kitchen garbage bags for a mere $1.75. Eight small garbage bags! In better times, such micro-portioning would be found only in convenience stores, and sold at obscene markup to those needing a quick few this or that. But eight bags for $1.75 isn't convenience store pricing. It's more "Jesus-Christ-does-anybody-out-there-have-a-lousy-buck-seventy-five-in-their-wallet??" pricing. And that's scary.

Then there was Warren Buffet's announcement yesterday that his data shows consumer sales to be "very, very soft". When speaking Nebraskan, the use of two "very"s in conveying bad news is the local equivalent of pitiful shrieking and sobbing.

And, as I mentioned yesterday (sorry, I can't stop thinking about it), UK's Daily Telegraph reports that American authorities are thinking about bulldozing the downtowns of a bunch of cities - the better to concentrate remaining survivors. Naturally, we're talking about cities like Flint and Detroit. Oh, and Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis. Perhaps you've heard of them.

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