A few years ago, I wondered if everyone simply had too much stuff. You, know, it felt like everyone had all the gadgets and I wondered where demand would come from.
Obviously that's an elementary way of thinking about things but sometimes simple is better than complicated. In any event, I still wonder if we have too much stuff and if one day we wake up and nobody needs anything.
It's never going to happen I guess because even when our wages aren't keeping up with inflation and we are dipping into savings, Americans will spend money. As consumers, we've carried the world on our backs (our back pockets and pocketbooks) for decades but at some point there will be a transition if we are not careful.
In fact many norms such as our AAA credit rating and Mexican-born immigrants leaving the United States are two things nobody ever imagined possible just a couple years ago.
The same driver is responsible for both. The economy is too sloppy to build the necessary reserves to pay for all the promises and mountain of borrowed money. The allure of the American Dream is being abandoned by Americans so its understandable foreigners will give up on it, too.
Illegal immigrants are hesitant, especially when they have to sneak in, face deportation and even jail time just for a chance to join the American Dream. It's not unlike the great migration of animals in the Serengeti that happens in July at the Grumati River in Tanzania and September at the Mara River in Kenya. These animals are in search of food and water.
Waiting for them is an assortment of beasts like lions, hyena and crocodiles. Of the up to 2.0 million wildebeest that make the journey, a quarter of a million do not make it.
Illegal Mexican immigrants, or as the Pew Center Research piece described them, "unauthorized," are going back home. In 2011 there were 7.1 million unauthorized Mexican immigrants and last year, the number dropped to 6.1 million.
They aren't going back to get into the back of the line. They are going back because they think the American economy has come to the end of its line. It hasn't and doesn't have to.
By the way, an interesting sidebar to this story is Democrats are preparing to undermine the Supreme Court of the United States if the ruling on Arizona's immigration law goes against the federal government. This is spooky stuff to be sure as the assault on the highest court in the land continues in a quest to make the executive branch omnipotent and to relegate the notion of power-sharing to the dustbin of history.
While that battle is brewing there is the economy. The day to day economy that services the basics of people then the aspirations of people. In a materialistic society we have to provide mobility and that's in place for the moment.
Our economy has held it together in spite of President Obama and some Republicans better tell him we already have an economy built to last - just stop beating it up. I love the action in dirty fingernail names which lends some credit to overseas growth but speaks to American success - past and present.