Letter from the Editor

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You know you are in a recession when...

I notice where President Bush says we are not in a recession. It is a "slowdown." This is helpful information to have. A recession sounds so... so, well, recessive... while a slowdown just sounds like the economy has taken a little break to sit on a parkbench and watch the seagulls and maybe have a sandwich, and everything will be all good again tomorrow.

Can the president prevent a recession simply by denying it?

A major magazine ran a test this month to help readers determine if this in, in fact, a recession. I thought I'd expand on that a bit. Is your household in recession? Take the following quiz and score your answers below.

1. How are you reacting to the current economic situation?

A. Converting everything to euros and dipping into my huge stock portfolio to hedge the subprime mortgage on the mansion.

B. Putting off retirement until somewhere around age 128, which is also just about when my BVU student loans will be paid off. At least I've still got my new condo reserved.

C. Two words for you, bro - "Hamburger Helper."

D. You know, the good thing about already being dirt poor, I don't have anything to slowdown.

2. My most valuable personal asset is:

A. My lake view property.

B. The money in my 401K and IRA, though it now isn't making enough interest to pay for the paper they are printed on.

C. That would be the gallon of gas in my mower.

D. I've got a lake view too... that's where I have to bathe now.

3. My job is:

A. Paying me handsomely while somebody else does all the work.

B. Safe for another year, at least as long as I have those photographs of the Boss at the Super 8.

C. Unless I suddenly learn to speak Chinese and live on 8 cents an hour, there's trouble a-brewing.

D. I'm not sure that holding this sign that says "Will record your reality shows for food" really counts as a job.

4. This is how the economy has affected my children:

A. If they take the estate tax off, young Thurston Howell Larsen the XVIth is set for life and then some.

B. Sorry, son, I lost most of your tuition money playing the Iowa Lottery.

C. Look, daughter, I'm telling you that 2 is plenty old enough to apply for a job at Fareway.

C. What children? Sold them to the labs so I could afford to buy gas and Ashley Simpson CDs.

5. You have recently purchased stock in:

A. Offshore blue-chips.

B. Enron - you'd be surprised how cheap it was!

C. Lots and lots of smoking sections sign contracts for Iowa restaurants and bars. Sigh.

D. Did you say stocks, or socks?

6. You are currently planning a vacation in:

A. Aruba with the Trumps

B. The dude's ranch with the Bushes.

C. In the bushes with some dudes.

D. In the dumpster behind Wal-Mart.

7. Dear old dad's retirement years will be spent in:

A. One of those luxurious assisted living complexes where they treat you like a god.

B. One of those luxurious trailer parks where they treat you like an illegal alien.

C. One of those luxurious rooms in our basement where he will be assembling sneakers for third-world corporations.

C. One of those luxurious cardboard boxes over by the liquor store.

8. The song that best expresses my current financial situation would be:

A. "Money Money Money" by Abba

C. "Angry American" by Toby Keith

D. "Mister Can You Spare a Dime" by the Great Depression.

E. That "Freeeee Credit Report Dot Com" commercial song that you can't get out of your head. You relate to wishing you could have "seen it comin' at me like an atom bomb..."


* 14-16 points - You know you don't deserve this embarrassment of good fortune. Put your stimulus check in an envelope and send it to Save the Editor Fund in care of this paper. You'll feel better; I just know it.

* 10-13 - You're not in recession, but you can see it from here.

* 5-9 - We feel your pain. Recession, you bet. Let's just hope they don't repossess the IROC Camaro.

* Under 5 - Nope, this isn't a recession. You've got so many problems you'd have to look up to see the recession. Start your own corporation - you my friend have nothing to lose.