Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Economic Recovery Equals Babies

Barack Obama said last week that the worst may be over for this country and the recession. He said this after new unemployment figures revealed that the nation’s loss actually went down from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent. Not exactly a precipitous fall, but the president was optimistic nonetheless.

The Obama Administration, economic experts and everyday citizens all want to know when our economic prosperity will not just return, but will it last? Jobs are a lagging indicator of an economic recovery, consumer confidence is an inexact science; but one factor that can be counted as an economic downturn or recovery has nothing to do with pie charts, GDP results or a stimulus package.

It’s a simple as procreation.

The correlation between United States’ economic prosperity and recovery comes down to babies – whether we have a baby boom or baby bust.

Since we began our downward spiral into a recession in 2007, it’s impacted many different aspects of our lives. Obviously, the job sector has been steadily eroded to the tune of 7 million jobs lost – so far. That, along with a loss in consumer confidence, has had a trickle down effect on spending, savings, retirement, business, travel, recreation, as well as one part of our lives you wouldn’t expect: babies.

Since this recession is more than a year old, a new report says we are having less children. This is the first annual drop in births, since the beginning of the 21st century.

According to the National Center for Health, births were down about 68,000 babies to 4,247,000 after climbing steadily from 2002. But can the economy be blamed on people planning to postpone maternity? Experts have varying opinions but if you look at birthrates from the Great Depression in the ‘30s as well as every recession since the Post War era in our country, one thing is for sure. Birthrates go down as we pull back on our purse strings, weathering economic recessions and depressions.

So when the president comes out in a press conference with a tepid statement about how we may be back on the road to recovery, I remain skeptical.

I will be paying attention to the maternity ward at Valley hospitals to tell me when our long national economic nightmare is over.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

AZ Cardinals: Why Not?

I don’t care what the naysayers loudly proclaim on sports talk radio or the constant blathering on their blogs, I am excited for this upcoming football season.

I am aware of the devastating statistic that the last 8 out of 9 teams who went to the Super Bowl didn’t even make it into next year’s playoffs. I am not delusional.

But there is an undeniable quality to last year’s dream season for the Arizona Cardinals that cannot be denied: why not?

Why not again this year? Why can’t Coach Wiz and the crew get it done a second year in a row? Sure, I understand that the NFL has parity and that there really hasn’t been a dynasty of sorts since Jerry Jones’ Cowboys in the 90’s, or maybe you’d like to include the Pats in the 21st Century.

But not a lot was expected last year of the Cardinals. In fact, there was a caustic, almost snide arrogance that the Cardinals would find interesting ways to LOSE games, so that’s why you rooted for them. Not because they had a chance, but because they would find the most interesting, sometimes baffling ways to let a lead slip out of the jaws of victory.

But not last year. Last year we went to the Super Bowl. Last year we took all the Doubting Thomases under Big Red’s Wings and said, “Let’s show you how we win.” And slowly, but surely, we kept winning, beating teams that surely should have pounded into the ground the year before. We made teams look like they were JuCo football programs that had been to the playoffs the year before.

Last year, we turned the NFL on its head and defied all logic and convention.

So this year, I am not going to side with people who are already tempering expectation when they report from Flagstaff about training camp. I am going to say it loud and proud: “Why not?”

After all, we weren’t expecting to go to the super Bowl last year, WHY NOT this year?