Non-stimulated economy

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 5:30 PM | comments: 0

Remember how at some point in the midst of my life reboot (moving/new marriage/parenthood) I realized that what I really wanted to do was experience things instead of acquire stuff? It was a big shift in thinking compared to my 20's and early 30's when I saved nothing and bought junk on credit. And certainly with all of the moving we did from 2009 to 2017 (six times), having stuff was a burden. But then Covid-19.

Obviously, I'm not doing stuff. In the simple scope, I don't go out for lunch, whether it's to Tijuana Flats or Epcot. But I'm also not going to the beach, or going for a weekend cruise, or rolling down to my in-laws', or returning to the Midwest for roller coasters. So basically, all of the things that make for a happier life, I can't do. Well, none of us can, but I don't presume the same things make everyone happy.

If for a moment, I wanted to buy "stuff" to make me happy, there are a ton of things that would get in the way. First, I need to have a job. While I'm fortunate enough to have one, the world seems too unpredictable to be sure that will be the case in the future. So even if you have income, you may be reluctant to spend money. This is why the federal relief money going to employed people last week strikes me as strange, because I can assure you that all we were ever going to do was save it. And finally, when stores are closed, assuming that some people still buy things at physical retail, you can't shop if you want to. I track every cent of what we spend, and our discretionary spending is about 10% of what it is in normal times.

All this makes for a pretty serious detriment to the economy, and simply "opening" it doesn't fix it. People aren't going to travel, and they'll be suspect of everyone they encounter until we have effective treatments and vaccines. It's a painful reality for places like Orlando.

I hope that if you can find a way to contribute, you'll donate to food charities, local and global, as a serious hunger issue is developing to epic scale. It's not that food production is at risk, it's that the logistics in distributing the food, combined with massive unemployment, mean a lot of people simply can't get food. If we can't grease the economic engine, hopefully we can at least help people who can't eat.


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