If you've picked up a paper, turned on the radio, or browsed a news organization's website lately, you know that the recession is on everybody's mind. You can't get away from it. There are insurance companies touting their recession proof history in commercials, financial analysts telling you what to do with your money now- if you have any, (Although, aren't they part of the original problem?), and even Jon Stewart has his ClusterF@#K to the Poorhouse segments.
Of course what's often missing from these places is the reality- how the recession is affecting you, your neighbor, or your business. I was listening to This American Life on Friday evening. Ira Glass was spouting off some interesting and indirect effects of the current economy. Like these.
- The amount of shark attacks is at its lowest in 5 years. People just aren't vacationing.
- Dentists are seeing more and more cracked teeth. People are taking their stress out on their teeth.
- Vasectomies are on the rise. Who can afford more kids?
Though my husband is still employed at his company despite recent lay-offs, he will have to start footing his own internet bill. Nevermind the fact that he couldn't do his job without internet, it seems the company feels he'd have it anyway. There's another bill we have to start budgeting for.
My brother-in-law and his wife lived with us last summer while he sought employment, not an easy thing in the slow market. Thankfully, he is employed, though sadly we lost our perma-sitters.
Of course, there's also the nearby mall that was struggling to stay afoot before the slowdown. Now, it is becoming a barren wasteland of storefronts, a half finished remodel, and strange fillers (inflatable jumphouse anyone?).
Of course, there's also a silver lining. All the neighborhood sidewalks just received a remodel to include ramps (a requirement of ADA). This makes getting my stroller down to the park a lot easier and safer. Thank you, stimulus plan.
It's kind of strange though. I remember back in high school history class, my dad telling us (yes, he was my teacher) that he was pretty sure our generation would find ourselves struggling through the next Depression. He told us that history is cyclical, things always swing back and forth, and that we were due. Seriously, if my dad could see it coming then why couldn't our government? They're the ones that went to Yale and Harvard. My dad was an Oklahoma State Cowboy, yet he saw it coming. I guess, wisdom doesn't always come at a high price tag. A good lesson to know as our economy continues its downward spiral.
What are some the signs of recession your family is seeing? In what ways have you tightened your belt or changed your habits to adapt? I want to know (like many an NPR reporter), how's the economy affecting you?