Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Say What?

I was reading the Strib online and they have a section called "Your Voices" and this week they are featuring feedback to Governor Pawlenty's budget proposals.

They feature Annette Meeks, Founder and CEO of the Conservative Thinktank "The Freedom Foundation", Andrew Eklund, CEO of small business Ciceron, Rev. Peg Chamberlin, Exec Director, MN Council on Churches, Doug Stone, former reporter for the Strib and WCCO and former press secretary for Paul Wellstone and a Matthew Stanford-- an author and yoga teacher.

Here are some of Mr. Sandfords musings on the Minnesota budget crisis titled "Trauma, the Economy and our Psyche":

My name is Matthew Sanford and this is the first blog I have ever written. In general, I will be writing about minds, bodies, trauma, loss, hope, transformation, and consciousness. These subjects have been defining features of my life, much of which is chronicled in my book, Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence. I come to this blog fascinated by the shift in consciousness that occurs when we integrate our minds and our bodies. I believe mind-body integration is more than a personal health strategy. I believe it also provides a powerful lens for social, political, and cultural issues, both as individuals and as a society at large.

Trauma is a subtle phenomenon and does not require physical or direct violence. In an interview in the Utne Magazine (August, 2006), I define trauma as a core loss of trust in the world, in the order of things. Given this broad definition, each and every one of us works through trauma in one form or another.

Here are two examples from my life this last week.

First, a colleague of mine came to the Twin Cities and had difficulty renting a car. When he inquired at our airport, Hertz had no cars to rent and Alamo had only six cars on their entire lot. He jokingly asked if Obama was in town. The reply he heard was unsettling. The Alamo employee said that car rental agencies are not renewing their leases. They are returning their leased cars to the Big Three without leasing new ones because they do not trust that the Big Three will be in existence to take the cars back in two years. Now, I do not know if this is true or if this really is the cause of my colleague’s troubles, but my psyche was ready and willing to hear it. That night I woke from a sound sleep and found myself feeling dread.

In another snippet, my wife Jennifer was – dare I say it – shopping. She came across a Lucky brand shirt that normally would cost about 90 dollars. It was marked down to what she thought was 21 dollars, but when she got up to the cash register she was told that it cost 42 dollars. She told me that previously she would have gobbled that shirt up at 42 dollars and felt great about it. But in this current climate, she hesitated and chose not to buy, citing that she could do without such a luxurious item. Listening to her, I called to mind a story I heard about the horrors of deflation, that is, a drop in prices driven by consumers’ unwillingness to buy because of the expectation that the price may drop still more. Apparently deflation is much more dangerous than inflation, or so I heard. That night I woke again, this time wondering if Jennifer’s choice not to buy the shirt is the innocent unfolding of this “awful” deflation. Worse yet, I was still relieved that Jennifer chose not to buy. I felt this despite knowing that she was exhibiting deflation-causing behavior. I shuddered with the worry that there are now forces at work in our psyche that are beyond our control.

I mean, seriously, what on earth is this? No wonder the Strib is going bankrupt.


Jim said...

lol, so you decided to make us read it too by posting it here?

Good for the goofy hippy trying to sell his book. Too bad reading that would probably turn most people off of all of his writing.

Regarding his content, I'd say the car rental agencies need more faith in the government's desire to keep the auto industry alive. They'll dump billions and billions to keep them alive as zombie companies, no matter how silly an economic model that is. Or they can start to lease other brands for their fleets. Kind of sad, but that's what happens when you let the unions milk you for decades. Seriously, it took a recession/depression for them to finally dump the jobs bank? (That move sounds like more of a plot to get the government to pay unemployment benefits instead of the auto companies, however.)

Regarding shirts, deflation is handy... think of all the cheap shirts you can buy. If your economy is based on producing over-priced shirts, maybe a recession is needed to straighten things out and force you into more worthwhile endeavors.

And if your hippy livelihood depends on selling crappy books by plugging them in online blogs on newspaper websites, you better hope your wife isn't buying too many "luxurious" shirts.

Sheila said...

Jim-you are hilarious and brilliant!

Jake said...

Love it. Seriously, what is this bill...besides crap.

Seriously, with the CBO estimates of 2.4 million jobs, that equals roughly $341,000 per job...

Since when is STD prevention equal job creation???