Let's try an experiment. You already know that consumer spending is a critical force in the health of our nation. In fact, it makes up an estimated 70 percent of the economy. Of late, however, the amounts we spend at retail stores is considerably lower than the norm of the past decade. As a result, the psychology about the health of the economy has been depressed because the consumer is elusive and reluctant to shop as worries about personal finance escalate. We can do something about it.
What if you and I, our neighbors and friends, our business associates, acquaintances and our relatives, decided to spend $20 each on the third Saturday of each month to express our vote of confidence for an improved economy. We have a projected 306 million people in the United States. If just ten percent of the national population shelled out $20 it would not normally spend, $61.2 million could be infused into the economy in one month. That seems like small potatoes when we deal with the billions which frame the financial news each day, but it is a start. And it would make a continuing and persuasive statement about consumer confidence.
There are those who cannot afford to spend $20 on top of their basic necessities. In fact, there are millions who cannot even afford what they need each month to just get by. That's understandable given these difficult and challenging days. But for those who can spend the money, why not make one day a month "National Consumer Confidence Day" for the rest of the year. Over the next 9 months, that would equate to $550,800,000.00, on top of what we spend for the essentials, to get our economy moving again.
No matter how you measure it, psychology makes up a large percentage of what happens on Wall Street and what filters down to Main Street. Economists track attitudes of consumer confidence to understand trends in the economy. Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and financial institutions watch the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) very carefully to gauge our buying attitudes. Decisions about starting new businesses, projects, hiring decisions, layoffs, and inventories of goods are based, in part, on the CCI. Perhaps, if we repeatedly vote with tangible action for a stronger economy with our wallets and pocketbooks, we have a shot at speeding up a national recovery and creating a positive trend. This could help, in the not too distant future, preserve and protect jobs that might otherwise be lost.
It is true that in the latest reports, consumer spending has slightly increased. In January, there was a 1 percent spike. In February, our spending increased by 0.2 percent. Compared to the last year and a half, this is welcome, and important news. But as thousands lose their jobs each week and businesses shutter, and as we scour the news daily for the slightest signs that we have turned the corner, we need a sustained increase in consumer spending (and savings) to rebuild. A key measure of consumer confidence, analyzed by Reuters and the University of Michigan, shows a slightly brighter picture than previous months. But we need momentum to build on what progress has materialized for sustainable improvement and better forecasts in the coming months.
Interested in this idea? Let us know. We can organize a national effort to help save the businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. Comment below if you support this idea, and tell all your contacts by forwarding this message to every corner of the nation. Let's make the third Saturday of each month our day to express confidence in the American Marketplace. Using the power of social networking, middle and upper middle income earners can organize in a manner unimaginable during the Great Depression and in past recessions and help in a meaningful way. We won't collect any money…you just spend it as an individual contribution aimed at defeating the pundits who say things are out of our control and assert that we have to wait for the "experts" to fix things.
"Change" symbolizes many things. In this case, "change" means using some of it to defeat the irrationality of Wall Street and the markets. It just makes "common cents" for those who empowered to take rational action.