Tuesday, September 23, 2008

American Economics Recession 101

American Economics Recession 101

Okay, I know what you're all thinking. Why would I write an article on the economy and the recession? What do I have to offer that isn't simply CNN's Business section poorly paraphrased, with curse words and meme references peppered throughout? If you came here expecting that, you'd be exactly right. But I know more about economic downturns than one might expect.

When I was a kid my grandpa used to tell us about how he lived through the Great Depression. It was a time of financial prosperity. My grandfather lived in a three story mansion and sampled the finest delicacies from all over the world. Of course, my grandpa was a noose salesman and the thirties were a boon for his industry. Sure, you could build your own noose, but nothing hangs 'em like a genuine Johnson Noose, 100% guaranteed to hold firm or your money back.

These things got our family through some tough times.

The feelings of that era linger above us once again as a recession rears its ugly head. I'm not worried since I've inherited my family's line of rope, toaster, and 20th story window manufacturing plants. But for others the prospect of a recession means that the era of living beyond your means is at an end. For the first time in a long time Americans will simply have to live at their means.

Okay, so a recession isn't as bad as a Grape Depression, sure, but what is a recession? Has it started yet? Luckily for you I took exactly one economics course and suddenly I know everything there is to know about the economy.

But I didn't take microeconomics. That's small-time economics for losers. That's balance-your-checkbook-and-see-how-you-did-in-the-class-faux-stock-market-game shit. Ooo, you made a 23% return on your monopoly money, you get an A+! I took macroeconomics, where the big boys play. We're talking international currency supply and demand stock market shit. Ever hear of something called a Euro? Heh, I thought not.

With my superior knowledge of all things finance I have amassed a vast fortune of pogs and Pokemon cards. My brilliant investing and Dragon Ball hedge funds ensure that I never have to work another day in my life. Never bet against Goku. His charged spirit ball exploded in a blast of dividends and defeated the fiscally conservative Vegeta once and for all. That was the day I made my first million, but I threw half of it away on Gohan municipal bonds. Gohan sucks and was never as powerful as Goku. Never.

If you ask a bunch of economists whether or not we're in a recession they'll all have the same answer, "Get the hell off my property." The fact is that no one is really sure whether there is a recession or not. There may be signs of a recession. It may feel like the right kind of weather for a recession. But no one really knows for sure because while everybody on Wall St. talks big, very few of these guys are in it to win it.

There is nothing you can say in a political cartoon that you can't say in an unreadable 1,000+ word blog update.

The man who paid the cost to be the boss is Ben Bernanke, the King of the Federal Reserve. Let me tell you about this guy. This Bernanke is watched like a hawk and anything he says or does can influence the market in wild ways.

If Bernanke takes a dump in the morning and it smells a little worse than usual and has peanuts in it, the DOW will drop 300 points in a day. In fact, it did just that on Monday. Shouldn't have had PF Chang's over the weekend. If his dump clogs the toilet and he has to grab a fork to break it up so it'll go down the toilet the S&P 500 might land on the whammy spot. If Bernanke emerges from his nest and sees his shadow we might have eight more weeks of winter. Who the hell knows?

I make sure to watch all the financial channels like CNBC and Bloomberg so I know what's going on, during the commercials of Scooby Doo and Small Wonder of course. One thing I'm sick of is all the hyperbole spewed about this massive, devastating recession that will end civilization as we know it. "IT WAS A BLOODY DAY ON WALL ST. TODAY", I heard on one channel. You'd think they were holding cockfights in there or something.

I watch this show called Jim Cramer's Mad Money, the finance guy who is infinitely smarter than every other finance guy because he had the good sense to develop a gimmick, always give financial advice as if you're my dad. I swear to God I can't watch that show sometimes because I feel like he's going to jump out of the screen and slap the shit out of me and I get flashbacks to when I was a kid and I start seizuring in front of the television.

But anyway, Jim Cramer is so good at trading that they don't let him own stock. He has pretty much figured out the stock market. He's like that guy from Press Your Luck who figured out the sequence of the board and if he were allowed to trade he would singlehandedly bankrupt the country. At least that's what my friend Jimmy tells me. His dad is an economist and doesn't let me come over his house when he's home but I go over there anyway. His dad hates Jim Cramer and wants to beat him up so bad haha.

There are several factors that caused a recession, but it's mostly this subprime lending thing. Basically it went like this based on what I could piece together from Wikipedia and comical YOUTUBE videos.

Home Buyer: So you're saying I can own a home?
Mortgage Guy: Well, yes, but the rate can go up at any time so-

But it's kind of hard to lecture people while they are being evicted, so much of the blame falls on lenders with predatory business practices. I mean, yeah, they're predators, but that's their job. And it's not like these people couldn't read the fine print on the toilet.

I can't fault somebody for not reading the license agreement before they install World of Warcraft, Steam or sign up for a BangBros account, but we're talking about buying a house for Christ's sake, a purchase one should spend more than six minutes thinking about. But we'll finally be able to get a dog, honey! And a backyard, oh... it's our dream come true!

Here's some generic clipart for some generic content.

The presidential candidates won't blame home buyers who took loans they knew they couldn't repay. They got votes to harvest, damnitt. "Yes, yes it's those damn lenders, like cougars they are, stalking their prey, THE AMERICAN HOME BUYER. I propose a ban on taking advantage of dumb middle-class Americans." So that's that...

The only real way to know if a recession is here is to look at your portfolio and if there's no money left there is a recession and it stole all your cash. Make sure you look at your financial portfolio and not your art portfolio that every studio rejected before you gave up on your dreams and became an accountant and women won't even talk to you so you read The Game to try and become a pick up artist but when you tried to pick up on some chick she went home with the sensitive artist instead and you contemplated taking your own life. All accountants have gone through this and there are no exceptions.

There are other guidelines that help you determine whether or not a recession is here. For example, if you're climbing up a ladder and you hear something splatter, recession, recession. Another good sign is if you're walking down a hall and you feel something fall, recession, recession.

You can usually see signs of a recession all around you. When my accountant was driving in his Chevy and he felt something heavy, recession, recession. The other day the recession hit me while I was climbing a tree and it dribbled down my knee. Yeah... I love grade school rhymes about poop, you know it.

What's the best way to ride out the recession? Burn your money of course. If you can't have it, no one will. You could also send it all to me and I will invest it properly. Most traders talk about diversity, diversity, diversity, but my portfolio isn't a mixed-race marriage for God's sake. I want action, and there is nothing better than putting it all on red, or good and honest white-owned corporations like AIG and Lehman Brothers... oh wait. And once you do that you let it ride. I'm telling you, the best financial advice comes from Stormfront.org.

Don't worry, the government has cooked up an economic plan that rivals that of the death star. The goal is to take out 700 billion dollars and bail everyone out. So while you might have been smart enough not to get that loan, you will be paying for those who weren't in the form of taxes. You better get out there and try to apply for loan real quick, it's like free money. Here's to hoping they do what they do best, spend it on stupid shit. And by throwing money at the situation we're gonna fuck, that, recession, up!

God bless America.

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