As the U.S. economy sinks like an ashtray on The Titantic, consumers wonder what they should be doing to cope. As a public service, here are some of the most frequently asked questions — and their answers.
Q. What in the &%#@ is going on?
A. This downturn is what vastly over-compensated economists, hopeful of retaining their jobs, like to call “an adjustment.” The biggest adjustment is in your stock and mutual fund holdings, which are down by 50 percent. We all have to adjust to being poorer.
Q. Is the money in my investment account safe?
A. Yes, what little is left. The CEOs of major failed financial institutions have it in big suitcases where it will be crafted into golden parachutes.
Q. Will the government do anything to help me?
A. It already has. It spent $700 billion of your money to repay huge financial institutions for the money that they squandered. The money will fund bonuses for CEOs for talking Congress into the bailout.
Q. What is a 401K?
A. An investment account that, because of the ongoing financial crisis, is now called a 201K. Generally, they are used to save for retirement, but, of course, now no one is going to be able to afford to retire.
Q. What bank stock do you recommend I buy?
A. Anyone but the one I own, which has tanked.
Q. Why can’t I get a loan from my bank?
A. Two reasons: you defaulted on the last loan, and all of the bank’s money has been taken to bail out AIG.
Q. Should I take all of my money out of the bank and hide it under my mattress?
A. No. It would be much safer to hide it under my mattress.
Q. Is there any safe place where I can invest my money and get a good return?
A. Absolutely. Buy The Commerce News for 50 cents. It comes with a coupon worth $5 off at La Hacienda. That’s a 1,000 percent return, it’s legal, and there’s no limit to how many you can buy. You don’t even have to claim the profit on your state or federal income taxes.
Q. Are your opinions compromised by any fiduciary connections to major corporations?
A. No, but I’d be willing to listen to offers.
Q. How do you feel about investing in lottery tickets?
A. Well, the Georgia Lottery is doing a lot better than the Dow Jones Industrials.
Q. Are we headed for another Great Depression?
A. There was nothing great about the Great Depression, and this one doesn’t look so great either.
Q. Buddy, can you spare a dollar?
A. No. Go away.
Mark Beardsley is editor of The Commerce News. He lives in Commerce.