Misplaced enthusiasm for failure.
I was working security for a Drunken Barn Dance on Saturday, and an inebriated local businessman sidled up next to me.
"'D'd'ja hear wha' happened to our economy yesterday?" he asked me, with fumes of Bud Light stinging my eyes.
"You mean the downgrading of our loans by S&P from triple A to double A? Yep. Heard that," I said.
"Well, it means.... we're screwed," he wheezed. "'Cuz you know who owns us? You know what's gonna happen to us?!?"
"Are you implying that China, who owns a large portion* of our debt, is going to suddenly call in our markers, now that they see us at a moment of economic weakness?" I asked.
"Yeah! They got us by the short hairs! We're screwwwed!" he said, as he tipped back his coozy-covered can.
"Okay. Let me ask you: Who is China's biggest market?" I asked levelly.
"Huh?" he asked, with his beer still draining into his mouth.
"Think about it. Where is China's biggest market. Where do they sell most of their cheaply-made products?" I asked him, speaking slowly.
He looked at me searchingly with wet, rheumy eyes, before venturing, "The U.S.?"
"Right. Their best customer is the very country whose debt they hold. It is in their interest to see our economy do well, so that we can buy more of their crap, right?"
He slowly nodded, "Right. Right."
"And, honestly, when China does get paid back, they'd rather the dollar was a bit stronger than it is, so that those billions of US dollars would bring more value, right?" I don't think that he got this part, but the other part had hit home.
"Yeah. Yeah! Sir, I want to shake your hand. You're the smartest guy I know," he slurred.
I laughed out loud as I shook his hand. I didn't mean to insult the man. He had been worried, and now he felt a little better. "Not hardly, sir. Not by a long shot, I promise you." As he over-shook my hand, I began to worry about him having a sober ride home.
A self-confessed north Texas liberal (they exist, but they're rare, and most of them, unlike Barry Green, are rabidly irritating) wrote today:
"I don't think I ever seen so many people (who happen to be President Obama haters) so giddy about unemployment and a stock market crash."
I have to admit that I agree. Hey, I don't want the guy as my President, either. But he's got the wheel of the ship that we're in, so why should we be gleeful about him putting us on the rocks?
I believe that I've spoken to this topic before.
*Actually, only about 26% of our foreign-held public debt. Which is a lot, but it's not the Whole Enchilada, or anything.