We have heard from President-elect Barack Obama and others that we are in the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. A lot of people have found that hard to believe since we have been told by our grandparents and read in history books of the long soup-lines, food shortages, homelessness and genuine misery of that era. If you grew up in my family you would have heard of how the New Deal brought in by FDR saved the family from starvation and the works program was a blessing from on High.
Today we know that the economy is slowing and there is problems; but people are still dining out, children are still being spoiled rotten never hearing the word no ( and maybe now, thank God, these brats will hear it and somebody puts their foot down), the clubs are still full, and most people are still working. Many people are hurting don’t get my wrong; but this recession may be hard for many to see.
I am not one of those people having a hard time seeing this recession and its affect on the economy. I am back in St. Louis driving my cab and Fall business has been down about 50% from previous years. We have a good day here and there and can eek by; but most days business is very slow.
The reasons for this are numerous. In the day time the business is mostly taking working-class and poor people shopping, to work, and to medical appointments. These people have always been on tight budgets and now they are having to make every penny count and this often means taking public transportation instead of a cab, getting a ride, or just cutting out on trips.
Business in the day taking business travelers to offices and to and from the airport is also way down and this is because businesses are tightening the belt and cutting down on business travel and doing more conference calls and emailing in between downsizing.
Voucher accounts in the day time are also down as hospitals, charities, and businesses who utilize taxi service have to restrict the amount of vouchers they give out due to budget shortfalls.
The night business is down because the young people who fuel that business going clubbing and doing whatever it is that they do are victims of the credit crunch. For years they have went clubbing, bar-hopping, frolicking, and out to eat (not knowing how to cook for themselves). Now they can no longer afford that lifestyle; because they never really could, they just charged everything. While I may suffer from this maybe it will be good in the long run as cities across America will no longer have to see entire swaths of town being gobbled up by areas for young people to get drunk and meet fornication partners at. Most cities have way too many such establishments and most bring nothing but trouble so this aspect of the credit crunch may be a blessing in disguise.
As for me I will survive. When the money gets tight a cabbie has to do two things; develop side hustles in other businesses and when in the cab be on a mission. Being on a mission means driving long hours, making smart moves, knowing what is going on in town, and being ruthless towards the competition.
Before too long this bad economy will be in all of our lives and we will all have to deal with it in our own ways. And, despite what you may think, the decisions being made in Washington as to how to revive the economy will make an impact, good or bad.
P.S….Roy Jones needs to retire after taking that beating from Joe Calzaghe although I think a prime Roy would have won……a friend of mine teaches at an all-black school in DC and said the kids never say the pledge in the morning, but on Wednesday they all stood and said it cheerfully…anyone going to MANA?