Bing Blog

The high cost of screwing up

Sick Couple

USA TODAY reports that this ferschlugginer economic crisis is hitting us where it really hurts: in our bodies. They say if you have your health you have everything. Now, thanks to all those idiot risk managers, bankers, real estate brokers, and assorted members of the $500 million exit-package club, we won't even have that.

Since last year, when the spectre of all this nonsense began spoiling our lunch, polls reveal that:

  • Irritability and anger is up 10% - some 60% of all respondents are more pissed off than they were last year;
  • Fatigue is up 2%, with more than half staying awake long enough to report a problem;
  • Sleeplessness is up 4%, which is a shame for all those fatigued people;
  • Unhealthful eating is up 5%, and why not? We have to enjoy something, don't we?
  • Stress around relationships, family health problems, housing costs, personal health, job stability and of course money and the economy are also up, in some cases dramatically.

At the same time, the paper reports that 65% of all people now check their BlackBerry at least once an hour for their e-mail, with more than 40% dipping in every 30 minutes or less. I know what they're talking about. It took me 20 minutes to write this and I checked my e-mail three times. Yes. I'm demented.

What do we do to manage this stress? As far as I can see, nothing fundamental is going to change any time soon, so management of the unacceptable, unpalatable and unpleasant becomes a crucial life issue.  Nothing seems to work very well - hence the climbing numbers in all negative categories - but solutions reportedly include:

  • Listening to music
  • Exercising
  • Reading
  • Sleeping
  • Watching TV
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Going to religious services

It seems that more people go to their local church, synagogue, mosque or yurt (21%), than drink or smoke (18% and 16%, respectively). Of course, eating to reduce stress beats out all of those, at 34%. The effects of having a big sandwich with a couple or three frosty ones followed by a big, juicy Macanudo has yet to be ascertained. Want to join me?

Perhaps most interesting, in the end, is the fact that in spite of all the turmoil we are now experiencing on the macro scale, most Americans cite a thoroughly non-economic source as the top source of their stress. Can you guess what it is? Their spouse.

I find that kind of encouraging, don't you?

8 Comments Add Comment

It seems the daily news makes a person wish they had gone the hippy route and had taken up smoking the wacky weed.

Think about it, just sitting there with a silly grin and a glazed look in your eyes watching the whole world unravel like a slow motion replay of the titanic sinking. Ooops I just described George Bush's demeanor.

Of course theres always the regular way of handling todays bad news, check your email, yell at the kids, argue with the wife, and generally get high blood pressure as you hear about one exectutive after another testify how he was able to sell his stock and save his money but not the investors money.

Look on the bright side, years from now when you are dead, all of this will mean nothing.

So, back to drinking yet, ol' buddy?

Sad, but not shocking. Encouraging? I guess so. My spouse just started back to work after a month and a half in between jobs, and we almost killed each other. In fact, we still might.

I'm with you on the Macanudo, Bing. Once around the block with the hound dog and a cigar does wonders for the spirit.

Besides, my health deductibles are now so high, there'll be no doctor to tell me otherwise ... and my 401K is evaporating this week, so if the cigars take me before retirement, so be it.

Before it gets too late why not do, what some will do later on. And it’s scary …
We need a scapegoat that is not a true scapegoat. And right now. FBI will find one as they did it after the Telecom bubble burst and after Enron vanished into void but this time it could be too late. It’s better to do it right away and under control to prevent the blood bath in the coming spring of 2009.
I’ve already heard a stifled and menacing whisper coming from some grey mice living in Paris Montsouris Park: “the next spring is coming …”. Isn’t it the best cure for all that malaise ? And by the way, why shoud we care about some golden heads that keep all that shine only for themselves ?
“Shine, shine, shine , shine on me” (from Waylon Jennings hit song)

Blame the accounting rules for the melt-down? Who changed the accounting rules, men from Mars?

Conseco, Enron, Tyco, and Worldcom were merely mutated corporate models subject to bogus accounting rules? Unbelieveable!!!

O.J. Simpson, in his glory days of making commercials for Hertz, featured his brief case, which portrayed him as Mr. Executive.

How many excutives are guilty of carrying "HUSTLER" and "PLAYBOY" and possibly "COMIC BOOKS" in their brief case? Only their mothers know?

Somewhere over the rainbow goes the golden parachutes?

All the pension funds are simply retreating to money heaven?

If the lie works once, will it work again, sure looks like it.

From amazement to disbelief.

Milton Friedman lays the Great Depression at the feet of Fed Governors who clung to a flawed theory on money supply.

Today's depression lies with Ben who came to power based on another flawed theory -- inflation rate targeting. His problem is that his inflation metric is flawed. Among other problems, it excludes housing. The price of eggs and oil were rising because of scarcity. The price of housing was falling because of over supply. The market was in the process of rotating capital. But Ben and Bill Poole pegged to the price of eggs and ignored housing, despite dissent from Geithner.

The evidence is now plentiful that Ben is on the wrong track - he remains wrongly calibrated. M2 has contracted for 7 months. The spread between treasuries and the fed funds rate is ridiculous. I could go on.

Ben is setting up all new instruments so he can put money into the system without increasing the price of eggs and oil. That's a fools crusade. He's fighting the laws of supply and demand.

Milton spent his life fighting the Depression's lesson that central government regulation was the answer. Today, once again, free markets are demonized and the populists are clamoring for communist ideals of central regulation. The Fed IS the regulator. The Fed failed. No other regulatory failure is of consequence.

Well, our 401Ks have been reduces to 01Ks and, as usual, the little man is paying for the mismanagement of others. What ever happened to being responsible for your mistakes and paying for them? The CEOs of all the companies involved, need to be fired and made to pay back everything they've been paid in the last 3 years in bonuses. We should also include our esteemed (not) leader and his cronies who helped create the current situation.