Sunday, December 24, 2006

The biggest threat to America: The nuclear bomb? No, the dollar store!

This holiday season I got a whole bunch of presents. "What did you get, Jane?"

"Much to my surprise, this year I got a lot of gift baskets." Why is that? Why are people suddenly giving gift baskets instead of the usual stuff. I'll tell you why. Because suddenly there is suddenly lots of things that are available to put INTO gift baskets. Because in the last six months at least FOUR new dollar stores have opened up in my neighborhood alone. These are big stores, all full of STUFF. Stuff that you just HAVE to have. And every single item in every single store costs less than a dollar. These new dollar stores make even Wal-Mart seem overpriced. And when Wal-Mart has become the new Saks Fifth Avenue, you know for sure that America is in BIG financial trouble.

I was just reading an article by James K. Galbraith that said, "So here's the big question: is the age of the dollar economy lurching toward an end? Are China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other big holders of T-bonds about to start a rush, or even a stately promenade, toward the exits?" Who cares about T-bonds, James, as long as China doesn't stop loaning us money so that we don't have to stop buying all that crap from all those new dollar stores; crap that we HAVE to have -- at least until our next garage sale.

I just LOVED all my new gift baskets. I got one with a gardening theme. I got one with a hand-towel theme. I got one with a ceramic puppy-dog theme. And one with a ceramic kitten theme too. Gotta have it!

But sometimes I worry that these dollar stores might just be the secret enemy weapon that will finally bring America DOWN.

PS: WHY am I being so hard on dollar stores? After all, the American public has been taught to consume. Over a hundred times a day, we are told to go out and BUY! We're addicts. It's in our blood. Only now shopping doesn't have to be so financially painful. Now, for the price you used to pay for a new car, you can now buy out a whole store!

PPS: How can we keep America safe? By just buying stuff manufactured here at home. Home of the Brave? Could we possibly become brave enough to do THAT? No.

On KPFA radio today, they had someone talking about measuring America's economy by more important things than just the gross national product -- like how many college graduates we have. And how many healthy babies, cello players, dentists, schools, happy children....