Monday, August 8, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I thought about starting this post off with "so, when the US financial markets sucked" and then realized that after this past week, that sentence really didn't narrow anything down. Last week, I rode the elevator and saw that 3.4 miles away, the Dow plunged lower than a Pamela Anderson neckline. I sat at my desk and wrote for our website while 11,765 miles away, the Chinese government told the American government that the "good old days" were over, and we could no longer "borrow our way out of messes," or, presumably, expect an MSG-free version of beef with broccoli. I sat at my desk and assembled folders while the Italian government considered how to "front-load austerity measures."Today I opened an internet window to get to my email, and I saw the Dow had sunk lower than Britney in the K-Fed days.

In cheerier news, a weatherman swallowed a bug. Last week was full of gloomy news stories, and the weekend was even worse. Today capped it off with another huge drop in the markets, and more riots in London. For a humble microeconomics and fashion blog, these larger-than-life stories are a bit daunting. Still, a bit of news concerning the eurozone crisis caught my attention and I bring you my analysis now.

Italy is the latest country in the eurozone to ask basic questions like "where does money come from?" (the stork in this scenario is "Germany!" the real answer is "hard work!") Despite questions regarding elections and obscene amounts of debt, there is still a question surrounding whether Italy should "front-load" its austerity measures. (For those of you playing along at home, "front-load" is a word which here means "actually do something instead of starting that budgetary diet tomorrow.") Since it's an Italian question, I think it's appropriate to provide an Italian answer. Amidst exports like soft leathers, pizza, and Snooki's ancestors, the Italians also gave us that gem of the pre-Enlightenment, Machiavelli.

Machiavelli, known for a gritty realism (and for being such a charmer with the ladies), advised that whenever you had to do something unpleasant, it was best to do it all at once at then back off, rather than extending the misery (which, in Machiavelli's head, always meant killing lots of political enemies). Basically, his political advise for when something was unpleasant was similar to mothers' advice when their children are faced with the daunting and nauseating task of eating cauliflower: hold your nose, take big bites, and swallow fast. In other words, do what needs to be done as quickly as possible, and then move on.

Italy and the US (and most of the other countries in the developed world) have been smushing the food around on their proverbial plates for too long, and the cauliflower is still sitting there. S&P had essentially counted to three, and now we're in time-out. Just like Italy's never going to tackle its debt problem until it actually faces austerity measures, we're never going to tackle our debt problem until we start making actual cuts. New Jersey's Chris Christie did it—now perhaps the rest of the world ought to follow suit. If we don't start fixing this problem, I'm not going to be able to have any more Adventures in Business Casual, because I'll be stuck at my desk watching the world fall apart on Drudge.

One of the outfits I got terrible news in was:
Gray high-waisted skirt, black ribbed tank top, owl necklace, industrial flower ring, and black strappy ankle-bootie-inspired heels.