Monday, November 17, 2008

The Cool Kids Are Saving

The USA Today is really good at two things:
  • Stating the obvious in its articles
  • Finding average people to interview who perfectly back up the paper's point

In today's article "Americans are digging deep to save money" the paper trots out examples of folks who are selling old jewelry, carpooling for the first time and even feeding their kids less food. That's right, feeding their kids less. Say it ain't so.

It's true that lots of consumers are hurting. It's also true that if things pick up a bit, the most likely behavioral outcome will be for people to go right back to exactly what they were doing.

One concept that is getting more play this year, for the right reasons, is the Paradox of Thrift. The Paradox is a Keynesyian concept that illustrates that in a recession/depression, if everyone saves more, that will translate into less spending overall and more job losses, which will further hurt the economy. Coordinated savings increases can not happen in a weak economy.

Don't worry of you don't know what next year's earnings will be for your favorite retailer. Nobody else does either.

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