The case for optimism…
if things came to a halt more quickly than ever before, they could also restart more quickly than ever before. This is not to say they will, only that the possibility is more than marginal. And there are signs things are not everywhere as bad as conventional wisdom suggests.
…consumers in many parts of the world are in relatively good shape.
People have also reacted swiftly to the current problems, paying down debt and paring back purchases out of prudence or necessity. That’s a short-term drag on economic activity, but it will leave consumer balance sheets in good shape going forward. Low energy prices and zero inflation will boost spending power.
As the credit system eases, historically low interest rates also augur debt refinancing and constructive access to credit for those with good histories and for small business creation in the year ahead. Entrepreneurs often thrive when the system is cracking.
In addition, corporations generally have very clean balance sheets with little debt and lots of cash, unlike the downturns in 2002 and in the 1980s.
…starts in Ashland, Ohio. Could it be? Could this be the mouth of the river? The first quark of the Big Bang?
ASHLAND, Ohio (CNN) — An Ohio bakery shut down in October is bustling again, with 60 eager employees who had expected a Christmas on the unemployment rolls.
But then Lance Inc., a Charlotte, North Carolina-based snack food company, purchased Archway at a bankruptcy auction. And last week 60 workers were asked to return immediately, with perhaps more coming back in the months ahead.
When it promised to reopen the bakery, Lance gave all 300 former Archway workers a $1,500 prepaid debit card.
When was the last time you heard anyone hiring? It has to start somewhere.
Merry Christmas, Ashland. Happy New Year America.