One of the great challenges in today’s economy is measuring its status. Reported statistics have been telling us for a while that the economy is improving. The average person has heard these reports for so long without experiencing any relief that doubts begin to multiply. Perhaps we have been measuring the wrong things.
This morning I heard a newscaster suggest we need to find some new economic indicators. Makes sense to me. In fact, I would like to suggest a few.
The Shopping Index – walk around Walmart, Target, or any other store selling products other than food. Pick up 100 random, non grocery items. Products like housewares, electronics, clothing, and hardware. Check the labels and count the number of items which are made in the United States. The lower this number gets the deeper trouble we are in.
The Advertising Index – watch and count television commercials. How many out of 100 are real products? Again the lower the number gets the more trouble we are in. But be honest in your count – advertisements for lawsuits, lotteries, TV shows, casinos and disability claims do not count.
The Under-employment Index – Count the number of your friends who have part time employment. Jobs created, unemployment claims and other currently used indicators are missing the point. The more people we know who cannot find employment sufficient to making a living the bigger trouble we are in.
The Assistance Gap – This is the difference in dollars between what the average person makes working for a living and how much more money is spent on the average person receiving public assistance.
The Regulation Hurdle – This is the amount of money an average entrepreneur will have to spend complying with government regulations before being allowed to start a new business. Of course, starting a new business is always difficult, but the higher the regulation hurdle, the less likely new businesses are to succeed.
There it is my, mildly sarcastic, suggestions for new economic indicators.