November 27, 2011

Can't afford not to spend this Christmas


---- — The Christmas shopping season is here, and the pressure is on. On all of us.

Our economy, frankly, still stinks. Too many people are out of jobs, too many companies are slashing benefits, too many banks are hoarding their money so that their CEOs can roll around in dungeons full of crisp $100 bills.

Congress refuses to make rich people and corporations pay their share. The president wants to waste our money on helping sick people. Desperate people around the country have begun occupying parks and street corners, hoping without hope that someone will just donate a Port-a-Potty.

This is how I understand the problem: People are worried about the economy, so they don't spend any money. Since they don't spend, businesses don't make money, so they cut employees, who then don't have money to spend. Then people get even more worried, they spend even less, businesses go bankrupt, everyone loses their jobs, and the Great Depression II rolls in.

It's a vicious cycle, which eventually ends with the United States selling Epcot Center and Mt. Rushmore to Kuwait; 200 million people boarding inflatable rafts, dugout canoes and water skis and floating toward China; the election of a new president who thinks it's a good idea to declare war on Germany, since that worked last time around.

We are the only ones who can end the cycle.

We must buy and spend and spend some more. It is our patriotic duty to make Christmas 2011 the season of giving and giving and giving. It's the best Christmas ever, kids.

If you did not wait out in front of an electronics store at 3 a.m. on Black Friday to get 5 percent off "Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3," shame on you. If you've been waiting for the price to come down before you purchased that trendy cocktail dress, well, you may be a communist.

There is still time to save the country, however. Tomorrow is Cyber Monday. I want you to call in sick from work, sit down in front of your computer, and start ordering. Maybe start by ordering a new computer.

If you can't get out of work, I give you permission to cyber shop from your cubicle. You can easily justify this — if you don't shop now, sooner or later there won't be a work to go to.

I know that you'd rather spend wisely and judiciously. You don't want to spoil your kids. You don't want to get crazy Aunt Sally any gift at all. Uncle Sam, though, needs you to take out your checkbooks. Pull the money out from underneath the mattress. Shake the change out of the children's piggy banks. Get some more credit cards. They're free … you might want to give some of those out as gifts, too.

Feel free to siphon money out of the kids' college fund. If this doesn't work, there won't be any jobs for a college graduate to get anyway. Cash in those 401(k)s. The huge tax penalties will bolster the government, and anyway, do you really want to spend your Golden Years in a financially devastated wasteland?

The holiday season is a perfect time to get that second mortgage on the house. Mortgages are cheap right now. Heck, get a third mortgage at the same time, and your bank will probably give you $50 off.

This is the time to finally spoil yourself. Get that boat you've always dreamed of. Buy some stock in an American car company, then buy an American car. Buy a monkey. Haven't you always wanted a monkey?

In our house, we're already planning on getting a Lexus for my oldest son, who will be able to drive in just five short years. That, of course, will be his main gift, but it would look awfully lonely under the tree by itself, so...

Every day we seem to get another four gift catalogs in the mail. At first the kids just went through them all and circled everything they wanted. Now I've given them my credit card number ("This is Santa's special order number for good little boys!") and told them to order the stuff themselves. Maybe they'll get me something nice, too.

Can I afford all this stuff? Of course not; the economy is terrible, especially for writers. But can I afford not to buy all this stuff?

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