May 20, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Go Spend Money

Another Orange Alert. Such terror warnings no longer have a great impact on me—nor, I suspect, on many Americans. This is the fourth time the nation has been at this "High" level of terrorism risk since 9/11/01, and so far (knock on wood) the threat hasn't materialized. Meanwhile, the media have flooded our senses with 24/7 wartime images from Iraq and nonstop coverage of the continuing waves of homicide bombings and other terrorist acts overseas. It's not complacence that has set in, but rather overload. It's hard to get scared by someone saying "Boo!" when others constantly shout into both your ears at the top of their lungs.

But all false alarms and military victories aside, it seems like we're continuing to lose the War on Terror. We've rounded up terrorists worldwide in droves, and have sent many more to Allah. We've overthrown a terrorist-supporting regime in Iraq. But the U.S. economy continues to slither along face-down, like a hemorrhaging man close to death trying to crawl to a telephone to call an ambulance. Terrorists murdered more than 3,000 people on September 11 and caused untold millions of dollars worth of material destruction. But the long-lasting effects of that bloody day have inflicted even more damage on our country. The 9/11 attacks sent an already woozy economy to the mat, and the referee is about to finish the count.

It's too easy to blame the economic problems of our country solely on 9/11, just as it'd be naive to say the dot-com bubble burst was the only cause. But like many Americans who have wiped out their savings to make it through the recession, the country has spent billions as a direct result of the terror attacks. Military strikes, law enforcement operations, the creation of a whole new Homeland Security department... that's some serious spending in hard financial times.

And it seems like every time the economy raises its head, it gets kicked in the face again. The SARS crisis in Asia has had an effect on the major airlines rivaling that of the post-9/11 meltdown. The stock market limps along like a drunk schizophrenic with no sense of direction. Now, on the brink of a national holiday, the government declares another Orange Alert, likely causing many Americans to tone down or cancel some or all of their holiday plans.

This is just the kind of thing our economy doesn't need. Times are hard, but unless we all start—and keep—spending money, the economy isn't going to get any better. If you feel even the slightest twinge of nervousness about this Orange Alert, shrug it off. Go buy an extra case of beer or package of steaks for your holiday cookout. Fill up your gas tank and take a long drive out into the country this weekend. If you've got the time off, hop on a plane and go visit relatives or long-lost friends. It may seem foolish to spend money on non-essential things in the current state of economic affairs, but if we all keep our purse strings tight, then the economy's purse strings won't loosen anytime soon. What better way to memorialize our fallen on Memorial Day Weekend than combating the enemies of our country with our greatest weapon: our wallets.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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5/18: Couch
5/17: Armed Forces Day
5/16: Reload
5/15: Temporary Defeat
5/12: What, Me Write?
5/11: Rockin' Out
5/10: Van Halen at the Tokyo Dome
5/9: Your Tax Dollars at Work
5/8: Yes, I Am a Nerd
5/7: Still Writing
5/6: A Different World?
5/5: Sponge
5/4: MacGyver
5/3: Mike's Sky Ranch
5/2: Baja Bound
5/1: Ice Moon
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