Saturday, May 16, 2009



By : Mr. H. Langdell Kauffing, Party Vice President and Former Chairman, American Retailers for Maximum Credit Renewal Notwithstanding Minimal Income, Inc., a For-Profit Lobbying Group, Washington, D.C.

America knows how to bounce back. When tough economic times knock us down, we get back up like a scrappy underdog. The Depression knocked us down in the 1930s. We got up with a vengeance in the 1940s. Since then, Americans have navigated several major recessions. Through them all, they stayed strong. Even when life looks hopeless, Americans stay on top.

Today, we face yet another financial crisis. This time, they say it’s for real. The talking heads all squawk about “imminent collapse,” “unemployment,” “bread lines,” “bankruptcy” and “looming economic disaster.” They say Americans are paying the price for free money and bad decisions. They say Americans can’t even buy homes or get loans anymore. They say that unless the government steps in to rescue American businesses and insurance companies, the whole country will descend into anarchy.

Why did this happen? The talking heads say that Americans “spent irresponsibly,” “borrowed irresponsibly” and “lived irresponsibly.” In a word, they blame credit cards, banks and undisciplined consumers for casting the economy into peril. America, they say, brought this misery upon itself. They say Americans should have saved instead of shopped. They call on government to help save America from spendthrifts. Now, they say Americans must hoard their cash and stay away from shopping centers.

We cannot do this. Americans love to shop, and we stand for them. We are the People Who Love to Go Shopping Party. We speak for millions of Americans from coast to coast. We believe that we can beat the financial crisis in the same way Americans have beaten every recession that has come down the pike since 1932: By shopping, spending and consuming. Our economy gets nowhere when people bury their cash and hide jewels under the mattress. Rather, our economy will only recover when people dare again to spend. Spending is patriotic, not saving. We have a short answer to the talking heads: Sure, we’ll stop shopping—in hell.

We agree that our economy needs a boost. The housing collapse should not have happened. Shoppers need homes. Shoppers could not shop if they did not first have comfortable homes in which to place all the merchandise they buy. Shoppers also need a place to sleep in between shopping sessions. To that end, we agree that the government must bail out shoppers so they can pay their mortgages. After all, a homeless shopper is no shopper at all. We also promise to lobby for additional bailout money for more shopping. What good is bailout money if shoppers are afraid to spend it? We need to send a clear message to Americans in these dark times: “Life is back to normal. Start spending like it.” We want people to go out and buy new cars, tires, stereo systems and power lawnmowers. We want them to buy gifts for Mom and new furniture for sonny before he goes off to college. In short, we believe the naysayers border on treason when they suggest that Americans should sit on their money. No. Patriots spend. Traitors save.

There is only one way out of this hole. We need to spend our way out. And the clock is ticking.

Spending is not easy when you have no money. It is impossible to purchase a $7,500 kiddy Go-Kart® when you only have $1,323 in your bank account. Yet without immediate consumer spending, our country will slide further into the financial abyss. To that extent, we promise to reinvigorate consumer credit opportunities. For the last few years, evil legislators have launched a concerted propaganda campaign “warning Americans” about “credit dangers.” They say that credit companies prey on weak consumers and tyrannize hard-working Americans with interest charges. They say that runaway credit leads to poverty, homelessness and bankruptcy.

We must stop these lies. Consumer credit is the only way most Americans can buy things they can’t afford. When Americans buy things they can’t afford, the economy improves. Bearing that in mind, we must encourage Americans to spend money they don’t have. To do that, credit must be available to all, not just those with jobs, income and real estate. In America, all men are created equal. We believe it is only patriotic to demand that all Americans have equal opportunities to obtain credit. We see no reason why a rich man should be able to buy a power scooter on credit, but a welder cannot. Our economy suffers when only rich men buy power scooters. If we want to escape recession, both welders and doctors must buy power scooters—no matter how much each man has in the bank.

We have faith in American consumers. We do not treat them like children. We do not scold them for shopping. We trust them to do what’s best. Put simply, we believe that American consumers like to shop. History shows that when Americans shop, the country prospers. Additionally, Americans are happy when they shop. We do not believe the fearmongers who claim that runaway shopping caused the financial crisis. We refuse to allow the fearmongers to stop Americans from doing what they love. We refuse to allow them to blockade our shopping strips, malls and boutiques. We demand access to shopping centers. We want to shop. We can take care of ourselves. As the People Who Love to Go Shopping Party, we are united in our belief that shopping is a right. And it is a good, public right, because when we shop, the economy improves.

Can anyone really claim that saving money will rescue our economy? What good will saving do for Motel 6®? What good will saving do for Toys-R-Us®? What good will saving do for General Motors? Our economy will continue to wither if important companies sell nothing. They will not sell anything if officious government policies frighten people from spending money. Saving keeps money out of the economy; spending pours it in. A river cannot run without water. Spending provides healthy flow to the economic river. By contrast, saving causes economic drought. Without new money flow, the river dries up and parches. Is this what the government suggests? Saving and so-called “responsibility” will lead to further drought. And when the economic river dries up, everybody loses. We all drink from the river. If it runs dry, we will all die on the dusty riverbank.

We must pour our money into the river, not hoard money away from it. When we shop, we pour money into the companies that make the river flow. When the river flows, the company passes money along to employees. When the river flows, Americans get jobs. When Americans have jobs, they have more money to add to the river. And when the river flows, the company can pay taxes and make charitable donations. But none of these things will happen if Americans do not shop. Shopping is like the spring rain that cleanses the earth and strengthens the stream. Shopping is the lifeblood in economic life, just as the river provides lifeblood to all the plants and animals around it. In America, our economy is our habitat. We can only maintain our habitat if we give it water. Thus, it is only natural to spend. We must protect our economic river. We can only do that by shopping.

We promise to defend American shoppers against all encroachments. Put a party in power that will protect your right to go shopping. Do not let naysayers stamp out your rights with admonitions to “save your pennies.” We did not overcome the Depression by scrimping and hoarding. We overcame the Depression by pouring our money back into the economic river, even if we had to take out loans to do it. We can defeat this crisis by shopping, just as our great-grandparents did. Unlike the fearmongers, we have faith in our shoppers. We believe that government should encourage shopping, not frustrate it. To that end, we promise to make both money and credit available to all Americans.

Shopping is not a crime. In fact, it is the best thing an American can do to save the country from economic disaster. At the same time, shopping makes the individual consumer feel good. It is not a one-way street. The retailer gets the consumer’s money, but the consumer gets a video game cartridge, a refrigerator or a desk. These things make consumers happy. In this sense, shopping is both an individually joyful and patriotic activity. Shoppers sacrifice their money. But they get a welcome reward for it. Most patriotic sacrifices are not so pleasant. Shopping is unique in the sense that it saves the country at the same time it pleases the consumer. In that regard, it is hard to understand how anyone could think that shopping is bad, let alone irresponsible.

We believe that it is more responsible to be patriotic than parsimonious. Only shopping will save this country. Saving the country is patriotic, not saving money. Saving money will not save the country. It will cause the money river to run dry. If that happens, the United States will fall further into economic turmoil. How is that patriotic or responsible? The fearmongers say that “saving money” is “responsible.” Yet saving money will lead to national collapse. Again, we ask: How is it “responsible” to drive America to destruction? Put bluntly, the fearmongers are wrong. Saving money is not responsible because it is not patriotic. Patriotism means protecting and rescuing the United States from economic disaster. Only shopping can do that. In that sense, shopping is patriotic—and patriotism is responsible. We therefore assure all Americans: It is not “irresponsible” to shop, nor should you castigate yourselves for spending your savings at a car dealership. When you spend money, you are protecting this country. You are not betraying it.

We are confident that Americans will see that saving is not the answer to the financial crisis. Rather, we are confident that Americans will come to their senses and start shopping again. We, the People Who Love to Go Shopping Party, are dedicated to ending the lies about spending money. We promise to doggedly protect Americans’ right to shop, and that means confronting all the gloomy rhetoric about “saving,” “responsibility” and “ prudence.” In our view, Americans have a responsibility to be patriotic. To be patriotic, Americans must fight to rescue the United States from economic turmoil. That is true responsibility. And that means spending money—today.

Americans will overcome this menace by buying expensive merchandise every day without fear. Saving money got us into this predicament in the first place. It is time to fight back and buy what we want. It is time to end the fear. Let us join hands and tell the world: “We are not afraid to go shopping, even if we have no money in the bank, no job and no income.” We are the People Who Love to Go Shopping Party. We will fight for your right to shop--always and every day.

Be patriotic. Get out there and buy something.

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