Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The sky has fallen! Not!

For months I've been reading that the sky has fallen. For months we've been in the midst of a great depression if you go by the news media.

But I'm having trouble understanding something. Yesterday when I stopped by the Wawa for a lunch sandwich I found a help wanted sign on the door, and a few days ago I saw a help wanted sign for about five jobs on the door of the supermarket. And every time I go to a Wawa near lunchtime I find myself in the midst of a congregation of neatly dressed young working men who could have stepped right out of a novel about the Aztecs or Mayans if you go just by their faces. They're all buying lunch, just like me, so presumably they're working at reasonable paying jobs despite the fact that most of them probably have the equivalent of a grade school education.

And it's not just manual workers who are employed. I have a friend, a sophisticated and highly paid computer programmer, who was given notice in August that he would be laid off by his long term employer effective September 9th. He was settled in a new job at something at least reasonably comparable to the same pay level before the layoff date rolled around. And then my Florida cousin who is sixty-two years old told us a couple of weeks ago that he had decided to leave his mid-level Human Resources job effective December 12th; but Saturday morning he told us that he had to move up his resignation date because he found another mid-level HR job that starts late this month.

And then there is me. I started seriously looking for work in early September; and I started on a reasonable paying job in late September; and I'm no spring chicken. Also, I happen to work in a field - recruiting - which is as exquisitely sensitive to general economic conditions as any that exist. All of my professional acquaintances in recruiting are working as well, and I would know if they're not because I'm as networked as any.

So where's the depression if everybody is finding jobs when they want them? Where are the bread lines? Where are the old pickup trucks loaded with families of Joads migrating across the country to find work and food? Where are the jobless recruiters in threadbare suits selling apples on street corners?

Could it be that a big scare about a depression is a clumsy transparent lie manufactured out of whole cloth because it fits in nicely with the news media's almost comical bias in favor of the great messiah that they want to see elected in a couple of weeks?

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