As a Colorado native, I’m saddened to see the Rocky Mountain News publish its last edition today. Just a couple months shy of its 150th Anniversary, the paper has been an institution here in Colorado for generations. So what led to the fall of the paper? Is it because there are two large papers in Denver? Maybe. But they actually merged about 7 months ago in an effort to prop each other up. Is it the economy? Undoubtedly. But here’s the irony. The same people that are working for the paper on a daily basis to try and sell more papers by pushing the doom and gloom, are the ones who are now affected by their own self-fulfilling prophesy. While I’m sad to see the paper go, I’m pleased to know that some of those who are intentionally lowering consumer confidence have now been caught in their own game. Sure, the economy is bad right now but think about this. Even when the economy is growing, there’s a certain amount of the population that doesn’t want to work. They’re either wealthy or homeless or strung out on drugs or are disabled in some way. That makes up 5% of the population. So if we’ve jumped to 7% unemployment, that’s really only 2 out of every 100 people that are actually out of work. That’s not that bad.
For comparison purposes, let’s look at the Great Depression. Now that was bad. Unemployment topped out around 27%. We’re no where near those levels. People aren’t being forced to cut down the trees in the parks to burn for fuel. People aren’t dying in the streets. We’re not that bad off. Other business owners with whom I speak are actually excited about their growth potential right now. I’m constantly talking with business owners. They’re optimistic. New businesses are popping up every day. Right now, I’m working with several clients who are just starting out on their own for the first time. They’re not afraid. They’re smart enough to know that the media is driving this frenzy of fear. I’d even go so far as to call it a panic.
So what can you do to make it through? Start by turning off the t.v.. Of course if we all do that, advertisers will pull out and the media will suffer further cutbacks. But that’s really their fault isn’t it? Then use reality as your gauge. Ask yourself how many people you know who are losing their homes. Is it because of the economy or was it from poor planning? How about the number of people you know who are unemployed? I suspect, unless you’re living in Detroit you don’t know more than 1 or maybe 2. My uncle is looking for work in L.A. but other than that, I have not run into anyone personally who has lost their job. So is the situation really that bad? Maybe on Wall Street, but not on Main Street. Things aren’t as rosy as they were a couple years ago, but they’re just not as bad as the media is painting it.
So, am I really saddened by the fall of the Rocky Mountain News? Not really. It’s one less institution that’s misleading the public, driving the consumer confidence down and helping the economy to spriral out of control. That’s just my opinion. I’m sure I’ll hear from many of you who think otherwise. I welcome your viewpoint.