Seven Ways To Squash The Coming Recession You can kick it, mash it, hit it with a stick. Hearing no evil works too.
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – 1. Stop talking about it. This is easier than it sounds. People are often at a loss for things to talk about, and in the past several years many have found it expedient, in situations where once they would have discussed the weather, to talk about the economy, a safe and pleasant subject. Now that the subject is no longer safe and pleasant, a lot of gas is being publicly expelled simply to allay people's fears. This results in negativity in the atmosphere that could bring the economic system coughing and wheezing to its knees. So when somebody starts flapping his lips in your face with a question like "How long do you think this recession is going to last?" just stare at him blankly with a vaguely contemptuous look on your face. If pressed, you can state, "I don't know when yours is going to end. I'm not planning on having one." Then take out your wallet and pay for his lunch, whether you can afford it or not. Aggressive use of credit is the foundation of a successful economy.

2. Stop reading magazines and newspapers that treat the whole thing as a fait accompli. It's not. There's still strength everywhere you look. But you wouldn't know it to listen to all the blowhards determined to make themselves look smart by either surfing the prevailing wisdom or, when the pack mentality starts yielding diminishing returns, predicting the next big thing as a way of providing themselves with a new subject to squeeze for a while. There's something you should understand about journalists. They have to write. Monday morning comes, and if they have nothing to say, they still have to say something. Same thing is true about Tuesday morning, as well as Wednesday. And forget about Sunday. All that space to be filled! That puts journalists at odds with the rest of the human race, for whom "No news is good news" remains a profound and abiding truth. Now, many of these fellows have until recently made a living informing us that the Internet and its associated digital technologies were going to replace life on this planet as we know it, render all existing businesses incontinent, and make the wise and bold investors in that developing realm rich beyond their wildest dreams. O brave new world, and phooey on the old one! Remember? E-commerce was going to replace retail! Immediately! Except, uh-oh, this past holiday season, here we had a host of stories saying that retail was holding strong while new forms of commerce were faltering. Now that they have been proved wrong as a class, however, have any of these educated and articulate individuals written that they're sorry about being credulous boneheads? No, they have simply moved swiftly into a new formation dedicated to eradicating hopes for a new economy and punishing anybody who wants to make money on stock options in the next five to ten years. Damn the market! Full speed behind! But, hey, if we don't read them, what they say won't matter.

3. Hit people who claim to understand the economy. You see them everywhere, blathering about how there are reasons why we need at this point to enter a period of retrenchment and slow growth. Read my lips: Nobody knows anything. It's possible that Alan Greenspan knows everything, but he talks only every couple of months or so. Beyond that, everybody is faking it. If these people won't shut up with their trendy negativity, hit them over the back of the head with something firm and--if they go on CNBC about it--jagged and heavy. That should get their attention. I know it sounds harsh, but there are billions of dollars and millions of jobs at stake. People have been hit harder than that for far worse reasons. Consider the Crusades.

4. Take personal control of your money and do the responsible thing with it: Spend it. Happily. Freely. Now. There are lots of ways you can keep our economy on track. You can continue to eat in ridiculously pricey restaurants, making sure to have a $12 appetizer and not trying to get by on just the $35 main course. Don't forget to have a bottle of flat water "for the table." Or, come to think of it, how about this, ladies and gentlemen: Let's bag the water entirely! Let's start drinking liquor at lunch again! Those who are too young ever to have enjoyed themselves at business may not realize it, but people were essentially potted in the afternoons all the way through the 1980s, and business was never better. There's no need to go back to the prosperous 1950s, when folks had three--count 'em--martinis and then went back to the office to make the decisions that made this postwar nation great. But there's no reason a cocktail and a glass of wine won't help everybody to lighten up and keep the big old balloon in the air. And isn't that the goal of our entire system, my friends? Isn't that the gift we all want to pass along to the next generation of managers? So spend, damn you! Cameras! Computers! Snow blowers! Question not the need! Just buy! Buy! Buy!

5. Invest wisely, if you must, but don't forget to keep your portfolio of securities big and brawny. Remember how much fun we all had during the past couple of years, imagining ourselves retired way too young on a beach someplace, all because we got our dough into a smart, entrepreneurial company that was dedicated to a bright, growing future? Well, they're still out there, my friends, loads of them. You know all those analysts' reports? Those research studies that try to put a gloss of rationality on the process of investment? Forget them! If there's one thing we know now, it's that whatever is the opposite of rational, sober, and thoughtful, that's what the markets are. To paraphrase Dickens, the markets are a ass. So drop this magazine right now! Call your brokers or your 800 number or get online to your investment Website and spend, damn you! Media! Health care! Computers! Pork bellies! Chemicals! Soup! Nuts! Coffee and pastry! There are no facts. There is no rationality! There is only the mindless, heedless activity of an economy on the move, and we can all either be a part of it or go spiraling down to fiduciary death in a maelstrom of our own devising! It's up to you!

6. Have I mentioned that anybody who seems to be pumping this ostensible recession deserves a quick kick in the ass? Go to it!

7. Think happy thoughts, everybody. And remember. There will be growth in the spring.

By day, STANLEY BING is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He can be reached at