Thursday, October 15

Duluthians offer differing perspectives on the economic crisis

Economic crisis. Wall Street bailouts. Stimulus legislation. Stock market crashes. Toxic assets. Record high unemployment. And now dozens of various statistics indicating an economic recovery is on the way. Every form of media is littered with "expert" analyses. But what do average Duluthians make of it all? We wanted to find out, so we asked a few passersby some open ended questions about the US economy. The results were, for the most part, nonsensical. 63% of our interviewees were functionally illiterate. But some common worries, hopes, and observations did become apparent.

A clear majority did not have a problem with bailing out large financial institutions as much as they despise US currency itself. Duluth resident Michael Duncan, 43, who actually thinks that Coke Zero and Coke taste the same, believes that the design of the US dollar is partially to blame for the financial collapse. "Who even cares about having money when it's so plain and ugly. US Dollars are totally unappealing. Do you care about having them and keeping them? They're so blah. Pale green and boring."

Former 5th grade after-school volleyball participant, Emma Gustafson, 34, agrees. "If our money was prettier, and like, maybe had some pink or peach tones, maybe people would be a little more careful with it. And seriously, can we not put cuter pictures on there?"

Semi-professional curmudgeon, Greg Olson, 29, blames the recession on materialism and a culture that glorifies excess. "It's people needin' to be so fancy that's the trouble. Everyone trying to outdo each other. Remember when everyone just wore Starter jackets. What was wrong with that? It was good enough for everybody."

Mr. Olson was not the only one to recall the halcyon days of the 1990s. When asked for his thoughts on the economic crisis and recovery, Lucas Anderson, 26, responded, "Remember that show, Dinosaurs? When the baby one would yell 'Not the mama!'?"

Perhaps there is a lesson in Mr. Anderson's musings. Dinosaurs were powerful beasts that were completely wiped out of existence. (Not the Dinosaurs dinosaurs -- they were a blue collar, working class family.) But most likely he is a crazy person.