To Everything . . . Turn Turn Turn

Suzann Darnall

Thursday, on CNBC, Lawrence Summers, National Economic Council advisor, said, " . . . growth is actually likely to be positive for the next, uh, six months -- so I think we're turning a corner. As that corner is, uh, turned, I think you'll see recovery gather speed, … "

I thought the economy had turned that corner back in May? Or was it June? Maybe July? August? Or, could it have been September? Last week maybe?

I found a variety of Internet headlines: Turning Which Corner? (11 May 09), What Type of a Corner is the Economy Turning? (12 May 09), US Economy Turning a Corner (3 Jun 09), Turning a Corner? (2 Jul 09), Is the Economy Turning the Corner? (8 Jul 09), Six Signs Economy is Turning the Corner (19 Jul 09), Is the US Economy Turning a Corner? (26 Aug 09), Is the Economy Ready to turn the Corner? (1 Sep 09), Economy turning the corner, but at a crawl (16 Sep 09), Economy turning the Corner (22 Sep 09), Economy turning the corner (4 Oct 09). And, these were just the ones I chose; there are lots more, not to mention all the articles talking about the economy turning that corner even though not mentioned in the headline.

Depending on how one chooses to keep turning corners, one can either end up in the same place one started or completely lost, as we found quite often when we lived in the Metropolitan DC area. Sometimes, in DC, there is a lot of "you can't get there from here" to deal with. So, I am not totally shocked to keep hearing them saying the economy has "turned the corner".

When my family was lost-n-found around DC there was always a lot of "turn at the next corner, I think that road will get us there." And, we were usually using directions or roadmaps (back in the early 90s, prior to Mapquest, Garmin, etc.) … and still getting hopelessly lost.

DC is kind of that way. The roads are always changing. They are always blocking something off. The street signs get stolen a lot. There is almost always at least one detour going from here to there. And, sometimes you come to a newly constructed building that now closes off the road that used to go straight through. And, oh yeah, the detour signs have been stolen, too. I think DC roads and DC politics have a lot more in common than I'd prefer to think about.

Now, back to that corner turning economy! After a while is it not so much turning a corner as it is going in circles? I know that's how it often became as we were hopelessly lost on the DC surface streets. And, sometimes I think going round and round in circles becomes simply circling the drain.

That is how I feel now--like we are simply circling the drain, waiting to be completely washed down the tubes. Like maybe the only reason we haven't already ended up in the sewers is 'cause the pipes are so clogged from all the …ummm … "waste" in the system.

Water does not flow uphill, so without the proper forces being applied, we are going to end up in the leach field. The stimulus has not turned out to be so much a stopper in the sink as a plunger in the toilet. This has simply opened things up to flow faster and faster to the septic tank.

© Suzann C. Darnall, OCTOBER 2009

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