Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Notes on an Evolving Season

As of this writing only the lights and tinsel
are on the tree. We’ve got 24 years worth of
decorations to put on, so we will take our time.
It’s been a very subdued start to Christmas so far. I actually noted a little more deference, in the form of actual notice, of Thanksgiving in the US media this year. I suppose that’s to make up for the fact that we’ve turned it from a semi-sacred national holiday to the First Official Shopping Day of the Christmas Season.

Interestingly, I’m not the only one who took notice of half-empty parking lots on Thanksgiving Friday (I refuse to smear the day with the media-designated name). Sure, there were scenes of mayhem in some stores, but for the most part all the rancid greed and gotta-be-there-first stupidity of the participants got bled off on Thanksgiving evening.

If the stats are to be believed (I just know what I see with my own eyes), shopping is actually down altogether this year—and in a year in which the Powers That Be so graciously bestowed a break on gas prices upon us ungrateful peasants. This last time we got a break this dramatic was in  2008, the Year of the Collapse. I don’t think it’s at all coincidental this also happened during the Christmas shopping season.

What comes of all this, who knows? All I know is, that like most people—the Great Overlooked Majority in this country—we only have so much money, period. Thanks for the break on gas prices, Mr. CEO, but we’re still paying off credit cards from last year. 

Pay people more, and they’ll spend more. It’s that simple. Households in which either working adult makes $10 to $12 on average—and I feel this is the Great Overlooked Majority of people—can only spend so much, even in the not-so-bad times. And, by the way, it’s not enough that times are not so bad. We need to have some genuine Good Times again. 

George Orwell correctly observed in his novel 1984 that a society can run perfectly fine on hate and fear. Every day in the USA since 11 September 2001 has been exemplary proof of that. 

There might be more money in happiness, though. Just a thought.