I think what my six years of higher education taught me is that I now know, without a doubt, that the people on TV talking about the economy don't know what they're talking about. My television addiction has been well documented, so we won't dwell on that here. We'll just say that I watch pretty much everything. I do take breaks from Oprah and The Biggest Loser to watch some CNBC and CNN. While these networks are riveting, the best examples of financial expert double-speak happen on shows like The Today Show or the NBC Evening News. Thanks to "the biggest financial collapse since the great depression" (TBFCSTGD for short. You can substitute 'cluster' for collapse if you want) we get to see people like Jim Cramer and Suzi Orman and Jean Chatzky on primetime network news. My favorite part is when people call in with questions like "should I continue to put money into my 401K even though it seems to be disappearing" or "I got laid off and I can't pay my bills. Should I stop paying my house payment or my credit card payment." I should point out that I don't take pleasure in these people's misfortune. It sucks, and I feel bad about that. But I do enjoy watching the financial experts giving advice that completely contradicts what they were saying six months ago. I guess their econ classes didn't cover what to do if TBFCSTGD happens either. We must've read the same books.
While this is pretty entertaining, it makes financial decisions fairly difficult. I mean, the lady on The Today Show told me that I should be saving up all of my money, then the guy on the news told me that the economy is blowing up because everyone is saving their money and we need to spend more. This confuses me. Now I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure I can't do both. It's like having Paula Dean follow Richard Simmons in the guest lineup. Oh, that happened too.
It took me a semester of Investments Class (Econ 350) to realize that I'm not smart enough to beat the stock market and that I should just have some smart person who understands this manage that kind of stuff for me. Now it has taken TBFCSTGD to realize that those people might not exist. And if they do exist, they aren't the celebrity financial experts on television.