Every time I say or write anything about the economy, it occurs to me that I know next to nothing about it.  I mean, I understand the basic ideas behind economics, like how profits are good and deficits aren’t, and how debt works (believe you me, I know this very well), and how groceries in Boston can and do cost more than groceries anywhere in New Hampshire.  But I have only a beginner’s grasp of the big picture ideas and how they change my life.  Often I feel like the news doesn’t address the individuals and how they’re dealing with our economic tailspin—instead, we read about “Banks” (not our local banks) and “Trade” (but not like pokemon cards) and “Bailouts” (but not like a flooded rowboat), and we nod wisely at our newsprint and mumble, “Yes, yes, such a tragedy,” as if we’re mourning a deceased childhood friend.

None of this directly changes my life in any way.

So indulge me, please, for one more page-long rant about the job market and economy.  No facts or statistics or theory, just the latest from the trenches of the Phreelance Writers.

Recently I read a blog on the Washington Post website.  It was written by someone who knows about the economy, so the words meant nothing to me.  I thought that I would revise it to make it more accessible to our readers.  Enjoy.

Five Reasons to be Pessimistic About the Economy

1.)   Savings.  The last time my savings account had this little money in it was when I was 11 years old.  I spend every cent that I earn, and so according to Economics 101, I am not saving money.  Now, I could be saving some money if I left my apartment in Boston and moved back home, but that would solve one problem and create another: where would I work?  I currently have a job that makes me some money, and I’m not about to look that gift horse in the mouth—even if it does need braces.  If I move away from this job, it’s unlikely I’ll find another one in time to keep myself from going bankrupt.

2.)   Credit.  In an effort to avoid the possibility of debt, I stayed away from credit cards throughout my college years.  Recently, inspired by the fact that I had a paying job, I applied for some new plastic.  It turns out that I can’t get a decent credit card because my income is too low compared to my debt.  I know enough about economics to understand that credit card companies make money when people buy things they can’t immediately afford, but will eventually be able to.  I’m a bad investment because I have no money right now, and they don’t see me ever having enough to pay them back.

3.)   Manufacturing.  Whatever, don’t care, not relevant.  So what if manufacturing went up by one percent?  I took enough high school science courses to know that a one percent change in anything is within a margin of error, which is a fancy way of saying that some things are just plain random.  I’m not encouraged by random.  I’m encouraged by positive trends.  Come back when the numbers improve steadily for eight months.

4.)   Housing.  My apartment costs me a little less than my student loan payment.  My fridge is so old I have to freeze stuff to keep it from rotting.  Both windows in my living room have holes in the glass such that keeping the hot air out is just as futile as heating in the winter.  I’ve only just started to make headway against the hordes of mice that frequent my countertops at night.  My bedroom ceiling sprung a leak when the upstairs water heater exploded.  My landlady seems to think that the structural failures of my apartment give it “character.”  Optimistic about housing?  I think not.

5.)   Trade.  Again, you want me to be optimistic about the possibility that a drop in US profit might only be a “one-time anomaly.”  What did we just say about trends?  Come on.  But all logic aside, here’s an effort to make this relevant to our readers.  Stay with me here.  If the US companies sell more stuff to other countries than we buy from them, theoretically those companies will have more money in their pockets.  That means they can afford to use that money to buy things from other companies, or hire more people to work.  Repeat for three years.  That means eventually our next door neighbors will have enough money to buy a lemonade from our lemonade stands.

That’s everything I know about economics.

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