Economic Silver Linings

The economy is a big, dark cloud right now. There are at least three commodities that are bucking negative economic trends, however. And two of them can be traced directly to the election of Barack Obama as president.

First, there are video games, whose sales were over $21 billion last year, with a big jump in December. People like to be entertained, and video games can provide good value for their money, with good games offering hundreds of hours of game play. Video games were among the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak Christmas season for retailers.

Second, sales of guns and ancillary products such as ammunition and clips took off immediately after Obama's election in November. Some think that Obama may be the "gun salesman of the year." Firearms enthusiasts believe, rightly or wrongly, that "Obama's coming after my guns," so they figure they need to buy and squirrel away as many of them (and as much ammo for them) as possible. Never mind the fact that they've been saying the same thing every time a Democrat has been elected since at least Jimmy Carter's time. Nope, this time the Obamapocalypse is upon us, and woe be unto him who is unarmed.

Finally, there are the thousands of kitschy products out there honoring soon-to-be-President Obama. Whether it's commemorative plates or coins, t-shirts, tattoos, and yes, even sex toys, there's an Obama product out there for everyone. In the future, everyone will own some kind of Barack schlock for fifteen minutes.

I wondered a bit about this phenomenon. I think it's comparable to a baseball card collector wanting to get the rookie card of the next hot "can't-miss" phenom. Sure, the kid hasn't played a day in the majors, but when he hits it big, the value of the card will skyrocket. Never mind that most of those "can't-miss" rookies never become superstars.

Similarly, people seem to want a piece of the man that the liberal media has already anointed as being as great as Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt, in hopes that it similarly would skyrocket in value. Americans are still entrepreneurs at heart, looking for the main chance. They still want to buy something for a little now and sell it for a lot later.

But they are forgetting that value goes up only when things are scarce or hard to obtain. A memento of Lincoln is expensive because there are not that many of them, because so many disappeared over the years. But if there are hundreds of thousands of Obama items out there, they aren't rare. They are common. And that Obama quarter that people are paying ten bucks for is still only worth a quarter. It may have sentimental value to them, at least for now, but it is extremely unlikely to send their kids to college in twenty years.