Tough times ahead indeed

From the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

Glum Tidings: Santa Gets Sacked as Cities, Companies Look to Save

Well, good luck to Bay City (Michigan) mayor Charles Brunner if he tries to eventually address the save-not-spend problems the city will be (or has been) encountering.

How do you address those problems? Oh, I don't know, by making consumers want to spend? And how do you make them want to spend? Perhaps by not making it seem like the end of the world? As corny as it sounds, Christmas is the one time of the year to which (most) people look forward; what can beat getting together with families, exchanging gifts and putting up the Christmas trees? We all remember the excitement we had as kids on Christmas Eve -- the decorations everywhere, the ubiquitous jingles (whether or not you consider it as a bad thing), the stockings, and, oh yeah, that big old dude Santa Claus.

I feel bad for Bay City residents this year. No Santa Claus ornament? That's a travesty. I certainly wouldn't be blaming them if they wanted to leave town for Christmas. I mean, come on; way to inspire and inject consumer confidence. I was talking in our last Town Hall meeting about the importance of consumer confidence and the uselessness of the media (and everyone else) painting all this in a negative light. This is a prime example. What would Bay City residents think when they don't see an illuminated Santa Claus on that prominent rooftop on Christmas Day? Nothing remotely close to "what an awesome Christmas!" Probably somewhere along the lines of "well, I guess the economy is that bad, huh?" And they're probably going to be more inclined to save their money in the foreseeable future.

Sure, as museum director Scott Swank says, "it feels a bit frivolous to mourn a festival when so many people are losing homes and jobs and life savings," but isn't some consistency a pleasant sight? It seems more frivolous to mourn a festival and mourn the loss of homes, jobs and life savings at the same time; that sure makes for a dark Christmas. Especially without an image that's so central to Bay City citizens around that time of year.

But don't completely lose faith just yet. There's a guy from the same state that knows how to get things done. Jim Fouts, mayor of Warren, hats off to you, good sir.

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