Retailers are offering deep, deep discounts on virtually everything, which is really really great. Except that it’s not.
Pointing out that everything’s getting cheaper is the flip side of pointing out that everything’s actually getting very, very bad for the people whose livelihoods depend on selling those things. I can go to Circuit City and pick up a lot of things for much cheaper than I could a few months ago, which is a direct result of the fact that the store’s making very little money and will likely shut down in the near future. GM cars are really, really cheap now, because they haven’t been selling and the company’s about to go under. I can get cheaper meals at restaurants, because they aren’t selling any food and have to sell something to stay open.
I stand down to nobody in my love of cheap things. And I’m perfectly happy to take advantage of good deals on said things which have become cheap. But promoting the “deals” of the recession, while potentially aiding in consumer spending, also tends to obscure the deeper issues behind low, low prices, like the fact that our economy is in terrible shape, in no small part because of the bad consumption habits that so many of us have. The other problem is the specter of deflation (warning: someone got wingnut in my point) – discounts are nice, great, fantastic. But falling prices as the norm (which, if this recession lasts long enough, we run the risk of) becomes deadly to an economy.
I don’t know what the solution is, necessarily. But it’s probably not the best idea to be talking about what a great idea it is to buy new stuff in the middle of a recession and credit crunch.