President Obama has gotten his first bill through, an $825B package of tax breaks, local government aid, and unemployment extensions. They call it an “Economic Recovery” bill because the term “Stimulus” is a bit passé now. What’s clear about it, however, is that this bill is designed to do little more than avoid Depression and turn it into an ordinary Recession, no matter what they call it.
What’s in a name? A little, and a lot.
With this latest infusion of cash, the cost of avoiding a Depression has jumped to about $1.7 Trillion, with a “T”. That includes the $350B not yet spent to prop up banks and perhaps as much as $200B more now that it looks like things are getting worse. Add to this the ordinary deficit we expect to run, another trillion, and about $2.2T in bonds will be floated by our government before October. No word yet on who will buy them.
All of this is aimed at jump-starting the credit markets and shoveling out the amount of cash the economy lost while they were down. That’s what a Depression is all about, and we’re determined to get to that stage. We’ll still have a Recession, which is to say a downturn, to contend with even if it does manage to work.
All this money keeping us out of Depression may be well spent, but isn’t there a point where we should just work on the marketing? After all, the last Depression was successfully branded the “Great” Depression, making it sound a lot better for those who lived through it. The oldest among us were the children of Greatness, after all, and if you ask them about it they’ll happily go on for a long time. Oh, times were bad, they’ll say, but people were tough and they stuck together.
Of course people stuck together – the alternative was dying. If you ask any of our seniors, the “Great” Depression built an awful lot of character. It made them Great just to be a part of it. Fantastic branding!
If there’s one thing we do in this nation, other than burn through money, it’s building the brand. Look at how we passed an “Economic Recovery” package that really only gets us back to treading water. Not drowning is a lot like recovery yes?
We need to get our best minds on the topic and brand the new Depression – just in case we can’t sell the T-Bills it takes to stop it from happening. Think of it as nothing other than a “new paradigm” that’s really “outside the box” and needs some “wordsmithing” before we all wind up “totally effed” (to be polite). If this were, say, the “Awesome Depression” we could forever be the Awesome Generation, a handle that beats the crap out of “Gen-X”.
I think the best idea is to sell naming rights. I’m thinking “Pepsi Depression”.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the name is terribly important when a society is as shallow as ours. If the word “Recession” is worth $1.7T to us (and the future generations that have to pay it back) what could we get with a properly developed brand name?
It’s always a matter of who will pay what it’s worth, of course. We appear to be counting on China to pick up the tab no matter what, so would it be a little easier if we came them rights to “Glorious People’s Victory Depression”? It might make all those T-Bills a little easier to sell. Let’s think this over a bit before we go about naming things, shall we?