Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brother, can you spare a smile

I'd rather not be writing this but I've just about had it up to here with this media blitz on the U.S. unemployment figure. I'd rather not be writing this but I've just about had it up to here with this media blitz on the U.S. unemployment figure. Today the specter of 13% was raised on the morning network news. What is with these fear mongers? If you live in an industrialized nation, especially the U.S., you know things are bad. And if you don't know someone who is unemployed then you probably shouldn't be reading this blog.

I realize that certain media personalities are having a field day with the persistent negative news and I think I know why, insecurity. Problem is they and other naysayers just don't want to give the stimulus a chance. It was not intended to be a panacea for all the economic woes being experienced, but it did serve to stifle the bad news for a while and some good has come of it, especially if you work in the stock market, among the first beneficiaries of the stimulus along with banks and other financial companies. I've said all along that it’s not a recession until it hits Wall Street, then look out.

My focus is on the manufacturing sector and I can say, with fingers crossed, the bleeding has at least been staunched. Not over by a long shot, even though the ever-moving horizon for the turnaround seems to be in sight. But every time I see some good news it is offset by some media hound trumpeting the lack of results from the quick stimulus package.

For what purpose, I ask. Do they, and their ilk, want the U.S. to flounder for another year? Do they want the economy to dip again just for the sake of embarrassing a sitting president? Are they so upset by the actions of a popular president that they would see a rising unemployment rate as a bolt of lightning from above? Weren’t they happy with a recession, preferring a depression instead?

I hesitate to say this but last week's media blitz on Michael Jackson was to some degree a relief as it drove the naysayers off my Internet home page and the evening network news.

Even the sage of Omaha, Warren Buffet, came across as on old curmudgeon last week as he tut-tutted the administration, opining that the recession was far from over. Thanks Warren, you did your country a great service by speaking out. You're so smart you only lost a few billion last year.

I'm not a Pollyanna clone. I know things are bad; I need look no further than the industry I work in where publications are feeling pain never experienced before. But I don't need to be reminded about this every minute of every day. Give it a rest folks. Say something nice to the next unemployed person you meet. Give him or her a smile, a pat on the back, and maybe a piece of good news – however small. They will feel better and so will you, if only for a short while.

And here's a postscript for you Mr. President. With all due respect, you might want to listen more to the millions of unemployed here in the U.S. than to the entreaties of Wall Street. I don't speak for them but it does seem to me the jobless are getting restless waiting for the stimulus to trickle down. Watching green shoots growing is an OK way to spend a hot summer afternoon but unless these turn to food quickly they are not helping to put nourishment on the table. Put simply, Mr. President, act to get people back to work now and a lot of your critics will have their arguments tempered.

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