New York Times columnists lately have been channeling the George W. Bush of 2001. Michael Kinsley urges us (with tongue only a bit in cheek) to “Show your consumer confidence. One last shopping spree. Buy that coffee maker whether you want one or not.” Thomas Friedman exhorts with greater force: “Now is when we need a president who has the skill, the vision and the courage to cut through this cacophony, pull us together as one nation and inspire and enable us to do the one thing we can and must do right now: Go shopping.”
Tell that to the graduate student I know who has done everything she was supposed to do, studying for eight years, gaining specific knowledge and earning a higher degree, only to find that universities are cutting back on hiring. Corporations won’t hire her either because they say she’s “overqualified” and think she won’t stay in her job. She’s done exactly what’s been expected of her, delaying the gratification of earning a quick buck and spending like a demon in the easy times in order to increase her human capital. Now that she doesn’t have a job, Michael Kinsley and Thomas Friedman are telling her to go shopping.
Tell that to my middle-aged neighbor, who has entrepreneurially built a career out of corporate consulting. He has worked like a dog, and now the corporations who he consults with have cut him out of their budgets. He went to the food closet yesterday, and Michael Kinsley and Thomas Friedman are telling him to go shopping.
Over the past decade, Americans have been more productive than any generation, but their paymasters are paying them less if they are lucky enough to still have a job. And some cushy New York Times columnists are telling them to go shopping???
Insert expletive here.