Thursday, January 10, 2008

One post for uber-non-geeks...

I realize many of you have not memorized several complete Star Trek episodes, and actually venture outside for recreational purposes. I don't understand it, but I acknowledge it. It's also why Chip Flory mystifies me sputtering around in the mud on his ATV when he could be downloading software updates. what could be another bad sign for our economy, guys like Chip are obviously cutting back, because those giant gun-fish-boots, etc. stores are having a really down year.
What gives? The unexpectedly warm weather may be playing a role, although the weather tends to play out in unexpected ways every year. And it's probably too soon to conclude that America's long romance with guns is waning.

Rather, the poor results for the legal gun runners provide yet another piece of evidence that the discretionary aspirational consumer is pooped. Despite what you might hear during Republican primary debates, very few people actually need a shotgun or a hunting weapon to get through the winter. Nowadays, most Americans buy fresh meat at stores like Kroger and rely on services like ADT to ward off hostile intruders. And well-made guns, which aren't cheap, last for several years. They don't need to be replaced every fall.

Cabela's and Gander Mountain stores are found in parts of the country where housing and job markets haven't been ravaged by subprime mortgages gone bad. And they're not in places where spending on discretionary goods is dependent on Wall Street bonuses. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: The subprime debacle is a symptom of the nation's economic challenges rather than a cause of them. Slowing growth, stagnant incomes, and rising inflation are taking a toll on the ability and desire of American consumers—at all income levels below plutocrat—to spend. That's why these companies' gruesome stock charts look like ski slopes. And that's why the stock of Vail Resorts, the leading player in another expensive, purely discretionary leisure pursuit, is off 30 percent since October. [More]
I agree with the point above that the subprime mess is not the cause of our problems, but that is hardly a comforting thought. The most astonishing thing to me is how well-built our fortress is here in the corn business to survive any downturn. We've got the government guarding our wealth and even guaranteeing our sales.

Which is why EVERYBODY wants to be a corn farmers nowadays and why our biggest headache will be competition.


Anonymous said...

john please do a spot on alternitive feeds for hogs thanks from a independent producer in a corn poor area running out of corn and cash

John Phipps said...


Please see my later post.

...and as a corn grower, I apologize.