There are many who judge the health of the economy on the basis of the stock market. With markets reaching record highs, some see this as a sign of an ever-illusive “economic recovery.” However, such criteria can be deceptive. There are a host of other indicators that reveal that things are getting worse – and more evident.
Abstract numbers that record declining incomes, higher taxes and greater government dependence can be useful tools of analysis but these are hard to perceive by the average man in the street. One visible sign of the times that everyone notices is the closing of hundreds of mainstream retail chain stores in shopping malls nationwide. Such sights make it patently clear to consumers that something is terribly wrong.
In fact, hundreds of iconic chain stores like Sears/Kmart, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack are closing. Their decline also speaks of the collapse of what might be called a “credit card economy” marked by a lack of control where everyone must have everything instantly, now, regardless of the consequences. America is paying the consequences with a crisis that is crashing under the weight of debt, unbalanced consumption and high risk speculation.
A recent article from Yahoo Finance paints the picture with a tally of the projected closings in 2013 based on company estimates. They include:
Forecast store closings: 200 to 250
Sears Holding Corp.
Forecast store closings: Kmart 175 to 225, Sears 100 to 125
Forecast store closings: 300 to 350
Forecast store closings: 125 to 150
Barnes & Noble
Forecast store closings: 190 to 240
Forecast store closings: 500 to 600
Forecast store closings: 150 to 175
Forecast store closings: 450 to 550
Blockbuster (from CNNMoney)
Forecast store closings: 300
The closings are but a visible sign of the times. There are those who think this crisis can be solved by tax breaks or stimulus packages. However, they are mistaken. All of this is the result of an economy that has long been frenzied and is now in crisis. What is needed is to go back to the fundamentals of family, community, and Faith that normally serve to keep economy in balance. That’s what Return to Order is all about.