Americans Don’t Save Enough or Spend Enough

Experts ponder whether we’ll be screwed in the future

Inebriated Press
February 4, 2008

Consumer spending slowed in December and inflation continued to rise, the Federal Government said last week; and the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by one-half percent hoping to stimulate borrowing and spending.  U.S. lawmakers continue to press hard for a Federal Bill that will return $161 billion in collected tax revenues to Americans, hoping they will spend it and spur economic growth by increasing demand for stuff.  At the same time, experts continue to complain that Americans aren’t saving enough and say Japanese save around 25% of their pay and Europeans save around 20%.  Purportedly Americans save 0%, although the rate moved up to 0.2% during December.  Experts tell us that if we don’t save, we’ll be unemployed and broke when we retire; but if we don’t spend money now the economy will collapse and we’ll be broke and unemployed by this August.  Experts aren’t saying it, but it sure looks like we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

“I’ve become a strong advocate of the ‘live for today because tomorrow we die’ philosophy,” said a drunken hoot owl, once known as a well-educated hard-working U.S. citizen who sacrificed his health and marriage for business success.  “I used to try and follow the experts and would save all my earnings and then spend to the max on my credit cards.  As near as I can tell it was terrific for the economy, but after my ulcer surgery, nervous break-down and bankruptcy for reorg filing, I turned over a new leaf.  Now I don’t watch the news or take anyone’s advice about anything.  I do whatever I want and have felt terrific ever since.”

Economists say people who act like drunken hoot owls aren’t good for the long-term strength of the economy or the country.  “It’s critically important that Americans save more of their income and spend more of their income,” said Celestial Body, a lithe blonde Keynesian economist and an expert in Kinsey sexual research.  “Unless we spend more than we make and save more than we spend we won’t be able to sustain the U.S. and world economy and be able to retire wealthy and sexually active.  I’m a strong advocate of giving kids condoms and credit cards and have recently created the ‘Keynes-Kinsey Foundation of Sex and Money’.  I haven’t raised a lot of financial support yet, but I’ve got a bunch of volunteers for experiments.”

Spending by consumers, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s economic growth, rose by an anemic 0.2 percent in December after jumping 1 percent in November.  Adjusted for inflation, spending was flat for the month.  Economists have predicted a significant downturn in spending as consumers grapple with record-high oil and food prices.  Because the increase in spending was smaller than the gain in incomes, the savings rate rose to 0.2 percent, from zero.  A positive rate suggests consumers are putting money into savings.  Emerging from a hastily called meeting on efforts to aid the struggling economy, Senate Democratic leaders said last Thursday that they were short of the 60 votes needed to advance a $161 billion economic stimulus package toward approval in the Senate.  Lawmakers are concerned that too slow an injection of additional cash may not speed up the economy adequately.

“When the effects of heroin begins to fade, it’s important that an addict get another hit as quickly as they can so that they can stay high, and that’s kind of what’s going on with the current economy,” said Ben Bernanke, head of the U.S. Federal Reserve and a former drug user who recently volunteered at the ‘Keynes-Kinsey Foundation of Sex and Money’, so he can take his mind off things.  “A number of economists have begun to think that we’re screwed no matter what we do.  That’s why I signed up at the Foundation so I can have some control over who I screw and who screws me.  It’s no wonder the Japanese population rate has been falling so much.  With a 25% savings rate nobody is getting a piece of anything over there.”

In other news, Senator Barack Obama raised $32 million in January in his bid for the U.S. presidency.  No word on whether he plans to save it, spend it, or try to screw somebody if he gets elected.  History tends to favor all of the above, which probably bodes well for the economy but not necessarily for the American people.

(C) 2008

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