The last thing I expected when hopping into my first cab in New York City was a discussion about Ben Bernanke and the US economy.
I am sure everyone who has visited NYC before has their own yellow cab story, as most people do with the London black cabs. But unlike subsequent trips, where the discussion often leads to the Yankees or the US Open tennis, this particular driver was more keen to vent his anger over the handling of the economic crisis.
Here are the main excerpts of the conversation.
Cabbie: I hear an accent, where are you from, man?
‘The American economy is broken, man’
HK: I'm Australian but I live in London.
Nice, I like the look of London. I have never been, but I want to go, but I hear it rains all the time. What brings you to NYC?
Doing a bit of work and having a look around also.
Tough to look around in this heat, best to go inside and grab a beer. Anyway, what work do you do?
I'm a journalist, I work for a financial publishing company.
Finance, I know a thing or two about this. Let me tell you what I think of all this mess, I think the American economy is broken, man.
Why do you say this?
Look around, man. NYC is quiet, no one is buying anything. Look at all these sales at these stores. 30% off, 50% off, it is everywhere. Personally, I am seeing less people come into my cab. Also, no one can get any loans from the bank any more. The whole system aint working.
I guess everyone is trying to save more and the banks are just reluctant to lend as much as they used to, for obvious reasons.
Yeah, don't get me started on the banks, we saved them and now they are making billions of dollars again, but the economy still aint right. Look at the chairman of the Fed, I don't think he really knows what to do. I see him on the TV most nights and he is always defending himself. I don't know, these problems never happened with Greenspan.
What do you think these people need to do?
I know a lot of people out of work who just want a job, but the government can't help them. So all we need is for the banks need to give us more money, then we can spend more and then we can hire more people and get the unemployment down.
Sounds pretty simple doesn't it.
It is man, it is. Give the money to the people.
Alas, this is where the conversation on finance ended. So there you have it, if you ever wanted to know what the view is on the ground is here in the US, this is it: ‘the economy is broken'.
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