The parking lots don't look empty to me
Every now and then I get suckered into reading something on the Internet about how America is going to hell, that we're going to end up as a third-world country, everybody is going to end up poor and you'd better hit your local K-Mart and start stocking up on survival supplies.
Fear is a hot seller right now, and it's been ramping up since the beginning of 2010. For whatever reason, this year is the one where everyone is going super-paranoid even though we're a lot better off than we were in '07, '08 and even '09. Every economist is releasing a book about how the US is supposedly crumbling under its own weight and that you should prepare for the worst. The worst economy, the second Great Depression, martial law, blah blah blah blah eff'ing blah, and of course followed at the end with "BUY MY BOOK!" Oh, screw you.
I base the economy on one thing: Parking lots.
Parking lots tell a lot about how your town is doing in a fiscal sense. If they're filled up routinely, that means people are shopping and buying. If on the other hand you don't see too many cars in those lots on any given day - especially a Saturday afternoon - then you're in trouble.
The be-all/end-all parking lot is one that's at a Wal-Mart. This is the department store everybody goes to first (only because they don't know any better), and if that lot isn't routinely packed with cars, you should seriously consider moving. Seriously, I'm not kidding. When nobody shops at the store that is known to be cheap, that's a big problem because if they're not selling anything, neither is anyone else.
Most economists and pretty much all conspiracy theorists say that when the "bad times" truly hit, there will be a rush on supermarkets and anywhere else there's food and water, and that store shelves will be empty when you get there.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong... SO wrong.. man this really irritates me when these morons say things like that.
The bad times are at hand when the parking lots are empty, and the truth of the matter is that they aren't.