SGVJOURNAL, West Valley Journal, Monterey Park News

Switch to desktop

Beachcomber March 09

  • By SGV Journal

By Dave Barron
A national magazine has a cover this month with a drawing of Uncle Sam. He is urging Americans to Spend.
“We Want You …. To Spend.”

By Dave Barron
A national magazine has a cover this month with a drawing of Uncle Sam. He is urging Americans to Spend.
“We Want You …. To Spend.”
The idea of course is to get Americans out to buy what they need and circulate more money into the economy. I am not talking about expensive stuff, just ordinary goods and services that we use every day.
Men, have you put off spending the $15 on a hair cut? Women, how about your latest visit to the Beauty Salon? Was it on your regular schedule, or have you put it off another week or two.
Cars? They are not selling. The ripple effect is hitting cities such as West Covina where new car dealerships were a huge source of sales tax revenues for the city. But I gotta warn you, a new car is going to cost a lot more because the vehicle license fees and sales taxes are going up.
New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman recently suggested that American consumers are entering a new era of very cautious buying practices. He calls it “Inflection.”
On a recent visit to China he personally witnessed the downturn in that nation’s economy because Americans are not buying stuff. And you and I know that much of that stuff is made in China.
Friedman recently wrote:
“We have created a system for growth that depended on building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff, made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-Bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that employ more and more Chinese…”
I don’t believe he is completely right. For example, the most popular cars in America are made in Japan and the U.S.
But Friedman’s comment of what he calls Inflection kinda made sense. Our parents, who were either survivors of the depression or new immigrants, did without a lot of stuff. They did such things as cooking a home, because restaurants were only for special occasion.
Clothes were passed on and on to family members. New clothes were something we bought only for Easter or a special event.
They purchased a new car every ten years, and then kept the old one as a back-up, even if it was a gas-guzzler.
In recent years, some people have been trading cars every four years or leasing a new car regularly. If you have a long commute to work and put in 40-50,000 miles year, it might be necessary to get a new car regularly.
The dark side of the cloud, however, is that every dollar we don’t spend affects somebody else –maybe our own family members.
Barbers, hair stylists, dry cleaners, waiters, cooks, carpenters, engineers, plumbers, auto mechanics and salespersons, all have to eat and pay the recent. What happens to them?

2013 SGVJournal. Developed and Designed by Charlene on Green

Top Desktop version