Monday, October 13, 2008

Stop freaking out. Please.

Just a few weeks ago, economic leaders were predicting the end of civilization as we know it if we didn’t pass a $700 billion blank check RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW!

The deadline passed. So did the extended deadline. Meanwhile (disturbingly) an entire nation (Iceland) loomed on the edge of bankruptcy.

Yet we’re still here.

My bank (Wachovia) changed hands what seemed to be at least half a dozen times. Guess what?

My debit card is still here – and it still works.

For months now, we’ve been in a recession that people have been afraid to actually call a recession. During this time:
• I’ve seen plenty of sports fans line the stands of RFK and Verizon Center - not exactly Depression-era, penny-movie venues.
• And just this weekend, two soccer players from Cuba decided to stick around to enjoy our crappy capitalist economy.
• The only bread line I’ve seen has been outside of Panera on a busy Sunday morning, for $2.99 asiago cheese bagels with gourmet cream cheese.

Granted, times are far from rosy. You have to budget. You can’t lease a $70k hummer or buy a $700k house with $2k a month income. And, thanks to the skyrocketing costs of education, housing, health care and child care, millions are truly having difficulty making ends meet. This all truly needs to be fixed on a nationwide level.

But I think it’s a little early for CNN to be talking about recipes for squirrel-meat soup.

And it’s counter-productive. Guess what happens when fear gets the better of us? There's a crisis in consumer confidence because the consumers are no longer confident. Crazy stuff like runs on the bank happen. Or, as we saw last week, the stock market tanks. Doom and gloom becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My retirement is invested in that crazy roller-coaster stock market. And I'd like to spend my golden years on a beach, fanned by pool boys feeding me grapes, rather than in a refrigerator box under a bridge, even a deluxe sub-zero box in the fancy part of town. So, quite selfishly, I must ask all you media to quit freaking out.

I (and the squirrels) sincerely thank you.

(Read more commentary about the fear-mongering here.)

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