Monday, January 12, 2009

Playing Ostrich

Just after the US elections, a friend and I were sitting having a pint and discussing US politics, as well as the international economic chaos that's been going on over the previous month or two. He adopted the catch phrase "We'll see" and stuck to it for most of the evening. Not a big follower of news in general, aside from listening to sound bites here and there, he had an interesting spin on what had been going on. "It's just the mainstream media making it up to scare people," he said. "The economy is fine. Once Obama is in, everything will start to turn around." I told him that I wasn't so sure and that even with the bailout that the prediction by many economists (as reported in mainstream as well as indie media) was that the US (and along with it, a significant chunk of the world -- including our own country, Canada) was going to wallow in something resembling a depression more than it does a recession for at least the next year or two. "We'll see. I have confidence that Obama will change things," he said. "In fact, I wish we had one of him in Canada."

I cited stories about holiday sales predictions (
which are now proving to be true -- retailers in the US experienced the worst sales in decades), about unemployment skyrocketing and all the rest of the stuff that's being discussed online, in newspapers, on the radio and on television. "We'll see," he said. "I feel really good about this. Let's have this discussion again after the inauguration and see how better things look then." With a little over a week to go, I'm thinking that that everyone else -- especially in the United States right now -- holding his or her breath for big change is going to end up a little dizzy and disappointed.

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