Monday, August 31, 2009

Editorial: We need to start spending again

Just how out-of-touch with real life can the unnamed Courier editor really be? This takes the cake.

The editor seems to think that we're all sitting around in our "armchairs," presumably among greenback-stuffed pillows, waiting for a signal from him to return to the profligate ways of the last two decades, spending like sailors on leave and racking up unsustainable consumption debt.

Dear Editor, a large proportion of people across the economic spectrum are struggling to keep or find jobs and hold onto their shelter, praying they don't get sick and fall into the maw of the medical anti-insurance machine. That Chamber-cheerleader letter sweater looks completely ridiculous on you right now.

Prescott and the region are overbuilt with retail and services, and underdeveloped in terms of real value-generating industry. The business shakeout has been going on for over a year, and you've done pretty much nothing to report on that and its impact on City and county revenues. Spending has shifted to the cheap and the necessary. The ectoplasmic "success" of the automotive stimulus program didn't happen because of huge pent-up demand, rather because people are focused on price, and car prices are too high for the market. You can reliably predict that next month's car-sales reports will show the business flatlining without the subsidies. Every other business sector (save medical) is feeling the same pinch. People generally have more than they need already, and are trying to sell their stuff, not accumulate more.

What this area and the entire country should be focusing on is building up 21st-century, value-creating industry that will put our people to work and reconfigure our economy away from consumption and toward sustainable wealth. Our most obvious opportunity in that regard is renewable energy. Does the Courier care about that and other opportunities? It appears that the editor can't think of anything but rushing us back into a formula that has very clearly failed.

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