Bring Back Those Cute “WIN” Buttons!


The Federal Reserve, Treasury and two Presidents have been throwing everything at the current economic downturn in the hope that something might actually winbuttonwork. Despite interest rates reduced to near 0% levels, $700 Billion thrown at banks, the $168 Billion stimulus (remember those checks?), various rescue schemes to save major corporations, the economy continues to spiral down, seemingly out of control.

Now president Obama is pinning his hopes on the $787 Billion stimulus package to reverse the slide. The stock market doesn’t seem to have much confidence in the plan, as it seems to hit a new low with every session. The message of hope that was spewed forth ad nauseum on the campaign trail seems to have vanished. What now, Batman?

An Earlier Crisis

I’m old enough to remember another time of economic crisis in our history. One of the worst recessions in post-war history occurred in 1973. It was a time of the Arab oil embargo coupled with massive spending on the Vietnam War. It created a horrible combination of a stagnant economy along with rampant inflation, which became known as stagflation

Then, just as now, the Government tried everything to control the situation. It even resorted to wage and price controls in an effort to tame inflation. It was an abysmal failure and the recession droned on. The world was in turmoil. There were gas shortages and lines at the pumps, Watergate was constantly in the news and President Nixon eventually resigned.

A Novel Idea

Gerald Ford became the only man to hold the office of President without ever being elected President or Vice President. He found the situation to be just as exasperating as his predecessor did. One thing that he did realize was that much of the problem was psychological in that consumer confidence was at an extremely low level. He devised a radical plan to boost morale and restore the confidence of the American people.

In 1974 President Ford proposed the concept of Whip Inflation Now and the creation of ‘WIN” buttons. The idea was that people would wear these bright red buttons as a way of showing support for the idea. People were encouraged to increase personal savings and rein in spending. The idea was widely ridiculed and it became fodder for comedians everywhere. But guess what? At the time of the proposal inflation was hovering around 12% but, by the end of Ford’s term two years later it had been reduced to a very manageable 4%. Maybe it wasn’t so ridiculous an idea after all.

A New Proposal

If it worked then, why couldn’t something similar work now? Restoring consumer confidence and morale would go a long way toward returning the country to prosperity. We need to throw this recession in the trashcan and move on to better times. So I’m suggesting that we create a new button. I’m proposing a new slogan called: Conquer Recession and Prosper. We can proudly wear your bright red buttons with the slogan’s acronym: CRAP

Get your CRAP button today!        

It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours. – Harry S. Truman                        


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