The Wall Street Journal trolls the Internet
Here's a humorous-except-not posting from the Wall Street Journal's Daily Report on Global Central Banks, written by one Jon Hilsenrath. You really have to read the whole thing -- here is it, I'll wait, but put down your coffee -- and I'll quote some of the unfunnier bits just so you can get the flavor. The context is consumer spending, which has been anemic since the crash of 2008, important because "the consumer is the engine of the economy," and since every other aspect of the economy is doing so great [waves pom poms], how come people aren't out at the Mall cheerfully demonstrating their collective, aggregate demand by blowing their paychecks on cheap goods from China? Anyhow:
Dear American Consumer,
This is The Wall Street Journal. We’re writing to ask if something is bothering you.
The sun shined in April and you didn’t spend much money. The Commerce Department here in Washington says your spending didn’t increase at all adjusted for inflation last month compared to March. You appear to have mostly stayed home and watched television in December, January and February as well. We thought you would be out of your winter doldrums by now, but we don’t see much evidence that this is the case.
Yes, that's all true, modulo the faux jocularity. (And the brutal winter was the alibi for a lot of bad economic numbers in the first quarter, until spring finally came, and then numbers were still bad.)
We know you experienced a terrible shock when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 and your employer responded by firing you.
But they didn't fire you, did they now?
We know stock prices collapsed and that was shocking too.
Particularly for people who bought the 401k malarkey you guys pushed, and then saw you guys flush their retirements down the toilet.
We also know you shouldn’t have taken out that large second mortgage during the housing boom to fix up your kitchen with granite countertops.
You’ve been working very hard to pay off this debt and we admire your fortitude. But these shocks seem like a long time ago to us in a newsroom. Is that still what’s holding you back?
Well, I think I'll just stop there before I have an aneurysm. Comments are open; you don't need to log in. Here's mine (from "Ticked Off Mainer"):
You guys cr@pified all our products and then stole our houses in the mortage crisis. Then you crashed the economy, took trillions in bailouts, and paid yourselves bonuses. But the average American lost 25% of their equity in the crash you clowns provoked and were never made whole. The streets are full of cops in Darth Vader uniforms and you’re recording everything we say on the phone, and everything we do on the Internet. The labor force is permanently smaller. And if you get a job your boss knows you’re terrified to lose it, and so the wages and working conditions are cr@pified, too, along with the products. Anybody would be nuts to put their money into financial products, because the entire field is full of grifters and fraudsters, and the market is rigged against the little guy anyhow. It’s even nutty to put money in a bank, because the fees are gamed, and that’s before we get to the chance of a bail-in in the next crash that’s inevitable because you never put the guys who caused the first one in jail. The only thing it makes any sense to spend money on is an expensive tangible that lasts a long time and that repo can’t take. Unless you’re a Brooklyn hipster with an iPhone. You want us to spend? Are you demented? Just for grins, why don’t you guys stop yammering into your cellphones on the Acela, open the window shades, and look out? The answer is right there.
All in good fun. I found it rather enjoyable!
NOTE You can also use email. Hilsenrath's humorous article ends:
Please let us know the problem. You can reach us at any of the emails below.
Here are those addresses:
FEEDBACK LOOP: Send us your tips, suggestions and feedback. Write to: Jon.Hilsenrath@wsj.com; Victoria.McGrane@wsj.com; Pedro.daCosta@wsj.com; Michael.Derby@wsj.com; Nell.Henderson@wsj.com; Brian.Blackstone@wsj.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Ben.Leubsdorf@wsj.com; Paul.Hannon@wsj.com; Jacob.Schlesinger@wsj.com; Sarah.Portlock@wsj.com; Kate.Davidson@wsj.com