When I was in the sixth grade, I liked nothing better than to bring a pad of paper and a clipboard to school, and poll my classmates. Pen in hand, I thought I was acting the part of a girl reporter as I stopped them on the playground or in the hallway. But when I think back, I realize I was probably more like those annoying pollsters who harrass you in the mall. Even my line was the same: "Excuse me? I'm taking a survey..."
At first, people (especially the cool boys!) balked when I accosted them with my question of the week. My "survey" topics ranged from the silly ( Which joke do you think is funnier?) to the psychological (Who's stricter: your mom or your dad?) to the ever popular questions about favorite TV shows, super heroes, or top forty songs. But in the process of airing our opinions and preferences, I think we all learned a little more about ourselves and each other.
Decades later, I still like taking and participating in surveys. I think they're a great way to talk about important topics without the acrimony or judgment that creeps into so many potentially contentious discussions. In a survey, your opinion is just that--and you have every right to it.
One subject which I don't think is discussed nearly enough by either our political leadership or the media is where this economy is heading. Lately, most of the business news is bad. There's evidence that the sub-prime mortgage crisis will have far-reaching effects, and may infect the credit industry as well. At the same time, we face the surging cost of oil, the falling dollar, and serious trouble in some of our major financial institutions.
What do you think it means?
Are we in headed for a serious recession or even a depression?
Or are these events part of a necessary (and temporary) correction in an otherwise robust economy?