Hardcore economics always have been so much algebra to me.
The only numbers I’ve been able to decipher over the years have been betting lines.
I do know that if Las Vegas bookies were running the banks in this world, the odds of us dipping toward another recession would be much less.
Yes, the dreaded R word is in the air. Of course, it’s not as nasty as the D word – as in depression. Granted, moralists claim nothing is viler than the F word. Then again, this is a column, not one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.
By the way, there is no Biblical record of the Corinthians ever writing back to Paul. I guess they were too busy making Corinthian leather.
But I digress.
Fears of a recession are mounting because President Trump keeps playing Chinese checkers with tariff wars and because the bond market has developed an inversion of the yield curve.
Economists view an inversion of the curve as a reliable recession indicator. I’m not sure I fathom that, but I suspect it means the bond market now has scoliosis.
Being a Monty Python fan, I always look on the bright side of life, except for those times when I find myself playing bumper cars with a tractor trailer truck on an icy interstate.
While numbers do crunch me at times, I never stop acquiring knowledge. And I’ve learned that when Alan Greenspan was chairman of the Federal Reserve, he used men’s underwear sales as a way to take the temperature of our economic health.
So much for religiously monitoring the stock market and other economic indicators. Just check the sale of men’s shorts. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re boxers or briefs.
The theory is that during bad times men stretch the time between buying new underwear. I guess holes in the wallet and holes in the shorts are destined to march in lockstep through time.
For instance, during the great Irish potato famine in the 1840s, Irishmen completely stopped wearing underwear. Not so curiously, birthrates skyrocketed, spawning even more hungry mouths going without potatoes.
Now for the good news. There is no shortage of male shorts sales.
The global men’s underwear market size was valued at $10.14 billion in 2018 and is expected to register a growth of 5.3 percent from 2019 to 2025.
Judging by this data, the men’s underwear index foreshadows a silver lining ahead for the economy.
To ensure that we give any looming recession a stout stiff arm, it’s the solemn duty of all us guys to provide our own economic stimulus and immediately purchase enough underwear to dress the entire Bolivian army.
And if for some dastardly reason we do get hit with a recession, we need to buy enough boxers and briefs to dress the entire Chinese army. That should make the economy rebound more vigorously than the entire Eagles defensive line on a trampoline.
To further ensure our economic vitality, ICE should immediately deport all guys going commando because they’re an unpatriotic economic drain.
Granted, it would be sublimely beneficial if Donald Trump would stop getting his shorts in a knot over tariffs.