For over a year now, the economy has struggled, and our American government seems to have equally struggled to get it jump started. The President and Congress have tried just about everything...spending hundreds of billions of dollars on programs to reduce foreclosures, aide home purchases, stimulate job creation, promote lending to small business, and the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, the economy takes two steps forward, and then one or two steps back again.
Well, after experiencing the evacuation that took place today on the island of Kaua'i for the tsunami that was bearing down on Hawaii, it hit me what can be done to pull the American economy out of this continuous slump. The solution is really quite simple.
Let's start at the beginning. At 6:15am this morning when I discovered that our area outside of Kapa'a on the island was being evacuated, we were ordered to pack "as if you you're not coming back" and get to one of the designated evacuation centers. There were several schools and a community center serving as safety zones for locals and the droves of clueless vacationers, like us.
But the thought of spending countless hours with a four-year old and a 16-month old in a school gymnasium crammed with lots of other tired and cranky holiday goers sounded to me as scary as tying ourselves down in the condo and riding out the storm. Kristin ruled out riding out the storm. I ruled out going to the gymnasium. So, we came up with a compromise. Turns out most of the island came up with the same compromise - head to the shopping mall in Lihue.
What would have been most likely a slow and mundane shopping day at the mall turned into a boom that rivaled any day of Christmas season. There were thousands of people with no place to go or nothing to do and held hostage at the mall by the tsunami. The stores and restaurants were packed, and people were spending.
This is when it hit me. We don't need expensive government programs spending billions of dollars on programs that don't seem to be working. All we need is several surprise days of a "national emergency" spread out over a couple months in which the shopping malls of America are declared evacuation zones. Force Americans to the shopping malls, and most of our problems will be solved.
Americans start spending again, which gives a boost to retail. Inventories begin to drop which will spur manufacturing to make more goods. Business start hiring again which gives banks confidence to begin lending again. Restaurants get a boost because people have to eat while at the mall. With steady jobs and business doing well, people will begin shopping for homes again which will spark the housing market. This really does seem like the perfect answer to our economy blues.
Plus, we get the added benefit that when Americans go into crisis mode, they get really nice, friendly and helpful to their fellow citizens. A society where people have more patience, more sympathy and understanding, and want to give a helping hand is surely a society from which we would all benefit.
Now, President Obama, we don't want any real natural disasters. Thinking of the human and economic losses of recent events like Haiti or New Orleans is a tragedy. So, let's just define it as an Economic National Emergency. If you would like help constructing the program and implementing it, I am available as a consultant for a modest fee. Just one requirement, though, I need to be able to work remotely because I am doing my best to be a good citizen and continue my contribution to help jump start our economy. Total tally for today at the mall, about $250.