Is This A Depression??

The Face of the Recession
The Face of the Recession

How bad is the economy these days? If you read the New York Times this morning, you caught a sketch of a living, breathing victim of the current recession (depression):

Come Christmas, McKenna Hunt, a gregarious little girl from Safety Harbor, Fla., will receive the play kitchen and the Elmo doll she wants. But her mother, Kristen Hunt, will go without the designer jeans she covets this season. For Ms. Hunt and for millions of mothers across the nation, this holiday season is turning into a time of sacrifice. Weathering the first severe economic downturn of their adult lives, these women are discovering that a practice they once indulged without thinking about it, shopping a bit for themselves at the holidays, has to give way to their children’s wish lists.   “I want her to be able to look back,” Ms. Hunt declared, “and say, ‘Even though they were tough times, my mom was still able to give me stuff.’ ”

Come on, even Gawker called the Times out on this lame story. :

Notice that she seems to be nicely up-to-date with last season’s pricey denim; that she is standing in a garage larger than many apartments; that it seems to be furnished with an operative extra refrigerator; and that discarded toys (from prior Christmases?) are plainly visible in plastic boxes in the background. This typifies sacrifice in America today? The coming depression is so going to eat the nation alive, and the world will laugh, because we deserve it.

Couldn’t Times writer Stephanie Rosenblum find any poor people in Safety Harbor, someone who was two months behind on the rent and worried about getting evicted , or a mother who didn’t have enough money to buy groceries, never mind Elmo? Maybe she should have walked through the town of 17,000 and asked people about the hardships they are facing during this economic downturn; perhaps a stroll down to the Safety Harbor Marina and Pier would have been a good place to find people fearing the worst.

Possible Hangout of the Downtrodden
Safety Harbor Marina/Pier: Possible Hangout of the Downtrodden

If nothing else, a walk in the fresh sea air might have inspired Ms. Rosenblum to write a Thanksgiving story about the less fortunate who were, well, you know, less fortunate! Better yet, the Times could have saved on airfare (times are tough at the Times, after all) and sent this reporter to Hartford Connecticut, where many elderly people on fixed incomes are worried about having enough money to pay this winter’s heating bills, designer jeans be damned. Rosenblum could have stopped at Stew Leonards and got a yogurt shake on her way back to the city, too, so it would not have been a horrible trip or anything.

There are people suffering all over the world, living day to day and worrying about what tomorrow brings, even here in the United States; you wouldn’t know it from reading the New York Times this morning, though.

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