Foreclosures, lavish lifestyles fuel U.S. economic downturn

I don’t know why the thought of recession surprises people. News networks like CNN have been conducting polls and bringing in all kinds of so-called economic experts and business specialists to explain why America’s national and global economy are so messed up.

These experts, who are usually balding white men in a conservative suit and obnoxious tie, use all kinds of $10 words for $3 phrases. In no way, shape or form do they answer our questions.

So, let me, a lowly undergrad with nothing better to do than watch those stupid talk shows, tell you how it is.

Is the nation really in a recession? Yes. Should we be worried? Slightly. As far as the global economy is concerned, the United States has a history of recession.

We seem to go through a six- to ten-year period in which the economy booms and then falls into a period of recession, which usually lasts from six months to two years before the cycle begins again. We are currently on year two.

How did we get in a recession? The U.S. is a nation of conspicuous consumers. This means people who buy things to display their income or wealth.

Each year, Americans spend ridiculous amounts of money on lavish things like cars, yachts and mansions.

The problem is, some people who conspicuously spend, don’t have the funds to conspicuously buy, so they depend on loans in order to “keep up with the Joneses.”

These loans are usually home loans and that is one of the main reasons our country is in recession. A lot of people went out and bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford. These homes were eventually foreclosed.

This happened in massive numbers, causing a serious national problem. When the news got to our wonderfully brilliant president, he decided to default all these loans. What does that mean? These people don’t have to pay that money back, and we’re not talking a couple hundred thousands. We’re talking millions, according to a Dec. 6, 2007 online report.

On a national level, the U.S. does the same thing. We don’t really manufacture anything, especially luxury items like cars. We’re consumers. Most of the things we buy are not made in the U.S.

Just about everything in any given store is either made in China, Japan or Korea. The well being of our economy is dependent on our conspicuous spending. Because people realize we are in a recession, they are saving money, which is hurting – not helping – our economy.

Our president, in an attempt to reverse this saving habit, is considering giving people an extra $300-$400 on their tax return for people who make less than $80,000. Is he serious?

I don’t know about anybody else, but $300-$400 hardly covers rent. The president is going to have to do a lot better than that if he’s talking about resurrecting the economy of a super power.

Kiffani Jones is a senior elementary education student from Quincy. She can be reached at