Bloviation

Recession? Inflation? Help is on the way!

June 23, 2008: 10:40 AM ET

I took a look around the blogosphere this morning, and it's clear we're in need of some kind of assistance. 

Half the places offer guides for how to deal with recession. The other half give us how-to's on what to do about inflation. The third half give us both. Do the math. Something's not right. 

The recession guides offer a bewildering array of interesting facts, approaches and common sense bromides. The take-away, pretty much, is that we're supposed to spend wisely, save with sagacity, hunker down and don't lose heart. 

The inflation guides often involve purchasing the right stuff in the right places, save what we can, and also do some hunkering of some kind. 

Frankly, the whole thing confuses me a lot. I've read a bunch of them, on both sides, and it's hard to differentiate between what to do in a recession and what to do in an inflation. Both situations seem to involve: 

  • Some balance of saving and spending
  • Some form of hunkering
  • Patience
  • Keeping your job if you have one and/or getting one if you don't
  • Eating a diet low in saturated fat and salt

I'm kind of doing all those things, but I don't feel prepared for a sustained inflation, for example. In an inflationary environment, the idea of responsibly saving seems counter-intuitive to me. If my money is dwindling in value, shouldn't I spend all of it while it's worth more? 

If we're in an recession, why should I put my money in a bank the way so many pundits, economists and assorted wisenheimers suggest? Shouldn't I be stimulating the economy? Isn't that my duty as a citizen? 

On the other other hand, why are we now required to read up on strategies for both recession and inflation. This seems unfair to me. I would like to be worried about only one economic Armageddon at a time. I realize these things come in threes, though. Recession. Inflation. What's next? 

Let me know what you think, if you have the time. What would you find more helpful in this space: 

  • More thoughts on what to do during a recession, from one every bit as capable as the next idiot; 
  • Additional wisdom on strategies during inflationary times, offered by an individual whose level of expertise is never in doubt;
  • A guide to the third alternative (please tell me what it is and I'll do the guide). 

In the meantime, why don't we all take the rest of the day off? Sure, it's summer. But that's a strategy that's never out of place at any time of the year. 

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