How to destroy an economy

Published 10:38 am Sunday, September 1, 2019

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Economies are fragile things. When people think things are going to be good, they tend to spend more money. When they spend more, it means that businesses earn more. From the owners and employees of the store that sell to you, to the manufacturer and his employees who produce the product, packages them and ships them, they will need to hire more employees or pay overtime. In turn, the company for which you work will be more profitable and is more likely to give you a raise or other extra benefits.

However, when people are concerned about the future, they tend to spend less and the cycle works in reverse, causing many jobs to be lost and hopes dashed. These cycles come and go in every economy worldwide every few years.

The question that you should ask, considering the negative effect on our families and neighbors, is why anyone would wish for our economy to go into a recession. That is exactly what one cable personality hopes will happen. Because of his hate of President Trump. It appears that he must have a long-term contract that will assure him that he and his family will not be impacted.

The media has tried to put a damper on the good economy for the last couple of years, however, they were more discreet than they are now. They wrote and talked about the fact that most economic expansions usually last on average of eight years before the economy slows to a recession. They point out that the current expansion began in 2009 and would soon end. What they don’t say is that the recovery that began in 2009 was so slow and weak that most people never felt it. In fact, the so-called recovery puttered along at about a 1 percent growth per year average for eight years. Therefore, when President Trump pushed through tax breaks that helped every taxpayer, people and businesses once again feel positive about their future. The economy took off.

Now, we are hearing from two dozen wannabe presidents who understand that, if the economy continues on a positive path, they will have no chance in 2020. Therefore, they and their allies in the media have shifted into full throttle to scare the public. Despite the fact that the stock market is way above the 2016 level, the headlines are claiming the end is near when the market drops a percentage or two. For some strange reason, they seldom or never point out when it goes back up bouncing near record levels.

Almost never do they notice that businesses are desperate to find good employees. The one thing that is holding many businesses behind is the lack of applicants for job openings that have the training needed and/or lack the desire to work. This is the reason that I have focused on skills training the last number of years. As for the lack of work ethic, that is a challenge if government continues to provide services for free.


Returning to the issue of talking the economy into a recession. This will not be the first time that this has been a political ploy. Back in 2008, there were concerns about the real estate market. Many loans for homes had been made with little or no background check to determine if the individual could afford to pay the mortgage. Democrat presidential candidates in early 2008 campaigned on the issue of coming economic doom. As my sociology professor used to say: “If something is perceived to be, it will be.” They successfully scared the public into believing a recession was imminent. As we all know now, they were successful in this ploy, but in the process, they drove us into the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

Whether this year’s candidates and the media can accomplish the same thing again depends on us. Will we allow ourselves to be tricked into stopping buying, and will our businesses be tricked into stopping hiring and stop expanding? If they are successful, they may win but at the same time drive us into a four-year recession.

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Charlotte in the state Senate. His email address is