Unless you live under a rock you know the economy has changed recently. The question is; when did you know it was going to happen? The press likes to pretend that the economy suddenly tanked without warning but I disagree. The writing was on the wall years in advance. Like anyone else, I clung to the idea that maybe I was misreading things and a booming economy based on free credit and magic unicorns would last forever. Yet small deductions and minor observations piled up incrementally until I couldn’t help but get the point.
In any process of gradual learning there’s the moment when you give up all doubt and just know. For me, that moment was a minor observation. I was living in a large city which, as far as I could ascertain, was constructed entirely out of debt. With a certain amount of self deception you could ignore this. But one day the pizza delivery guy arrived in a brand new Cadillac Escalade. While chatting with him I determined that he had indeed “purchased” (i.e. financed) it specifically for his job, he was entirely supporting himself with a part time job delivering pizzas, and he thought his new glittering White Elephant was a wise “investment”. Nor was he a young fellow…he was in his mid twenties and more mature than the pimply faced high school student I usually associate with pizza delivery and fiscal cluelessness.
When the guy who brings your pizza is driving a brand new Escalade…something is terribly wrong. That was all you needed to know about the economy in early 2005.