Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On Media and Recessions

There is a story that goes back to the time of the Great Depression.

An old man ran a hot dog cart in Chicago. He pushed his cart through the city each day selling about a hundred hot dogs to the passersby. He was happy. And his customers loved him.
One day his son stopped by as he prepared the hot dogs for the next day's service. "Father" the son said horrified, "Don't you know there is a recession going on? You are spending too much money on hot dogs and buns." And the old man listened to his son for he was a journalist and knew these things.
So the next day the old man only bought three quarters as many hot dogs and buns as he had been buying. And that day he only sold seventy-five hot dogs. He went to see his other son who said "See, there is a Recession going on, and your sales are trending down, so you had better be even more careful." And the father listened to his other son for he had saved and scrimped to send his son to the University of Wisconsin for seven years so he would not be a poor pushcart vendor.
The next day he ordered only half as many hot dogs and buns as he did the preceding day. And surprise of surprises he only sold thirty-seven hot dogs.
The following day he sold his cart for the Depression was just too much for him to beat.

Does it strike you that our press and academics are doing their blooming best to convince us the there is or will be a recession. To me they sure seem to be trying awfully hard.

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