Wednesday, February 27, 2008

shipwrecking the u.s. economy

Hey, everyone! It's time to ruin the U.S. economy.

As President Bush and our congressional representatives repeatedly have reminded us, it's our patriotic duty to keep on spending money so our economy can stay afloat. That's why the government is issuing $12.5 billion in tax rebates: so we'll spend it and stimulate a sluggish economy.

It follows, then, that if you're honoring other economic principles of thrift, investing and saving money, adopting a pay-as-you-go attitude, do-it-yourself-ing, and delaying needless purchases, that you are unpatriotic and working to undermine the economy further. So, it's time to list ways that each of us is hurting the U.S. economy. Tried and true, or bold and experimental, it doesn't matter. Just list away.

1. Thrift. I love to read. Always have. I've been known to go to a bookstore and plunk down $60 or $70 in a single visit to feed my addiction. Alas, in my zeal to destroy the U.S. economy, I am no longer buying books for myself. I'm borrowing them from the library, and from friends who I know have them. Worse, I'm encouraging others to follow my footsteps in irresponsibility. I recently started a book club, and lent my copy of our first read to two other people so they didn't buy copies. That's $14 I kept away from economic stimulus. I do the same with movies too.

2. Delaying needless purchases. I have no cable or satellite TV, nor high-speed Internet. I probably keep about $80 to $100 of economic stimulus locked up in savings, debt reduction or utilities by skipping out on these. And that's just the immediate loss to the economy. When you consider that I also miss all those commercials for movies to see, restaurants to eat at, cars to buy, wireless phone service to subscribe to, and everything else, I'm probably withholding thousands of dollars from retailers and service providers each year. True, we do occasionally buy a season of a favorite TV show -- we just bought Season 3 of "Battlestar Galactica," for instance -- but since a season of a show costs less than a month of cable TV, it hardly works out. (On the other hand, the lack of commercials makes the show much better to watch.) I also have no cell phone, none at all.


3. Do-it-yourself . I can bake pizza for eight for less than $6, make two loaves of bread for less than $1, and make more than 200 chocolate chip cookies for less than $5. Food even tastes better this way. By not buying from Pizza Hut, I save around $30; by not buying bread at the supermarket, I save more than $4; and by not buying Chips Ahoy, I save about $23, give or take. And there's not even any high fructose corn syrup in my baking, which means I'm saving even more money on medication by not developing diabetes or other weight-related health problems. I have a date with the bathroom sink this weekend to fix an annoying pipe leak; God only knows how many hundreds of dollars I may be keeping from the economy if I fix that by myself. Admittedly, this isn't all it's cracked up to be if you don't know what you're doing, but it's still a good place to start.

4. Savings and investment. When we get our tax rebate, we plan to invest some of it for retirement, and use the rest of it to pay down our debt. Similarly, once the car is paid off, we plan to redirect those car payments toward debt. (For the record: mortgage, college loans, and a home-equity line of credit we used to repair the roof and add insulation to the house. No month-to-month credit card debt.)

All things considered, I am extremely unpatriotic.


I tag the following people to share how they're wrecking the economy:
Indigo, Zero, and Anthony



And because I'm sure Canada must have an economy worth wrecking, I also tag JJ

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