Just back from an eight day trip to the US, I am underwhelmed by the effects of the financial crisis. My expectations were that people would be driving less, driving smaller cars, and there would be “For Sale” signs on the front lawn of every other house.
None of those things were true. In fact, I saw multitudes of brand new SUV’s and big pick-up trucks, their proud owners attracted by discounted prices, praying that gas prices don’t go up again. I did make one trip to a shopping mall, and it was almost deserted, but that was not at all the situation when I went out for food and drink. It seems people are eating out and drinking out as much as ever.
Everyone was talking about the dire economic situation, but it was not easily noticable. So where is it?
I decided to take a drive through one of the poorest parts of town. The number of “For Sale” signs was more, but that is probably always true. What was unusual–I think–was seeing many people just hangin’ out on the street, talking with their neighbors or walking slowly. Nothing wrong with hangin’ out on the street, but this was middle of a work day and few looked of retirement age. Most were black, a few were Hispanic. It was depressed and depressing.
Nothing much to conclude from such casual observations, maybe only that–like always–the marginally employed are the ones to suffer first, and suffer most.