The Underwear Index: Can “Benjamins For Boxers” Be Far Behind?

This story from today’s The Washington Post about the value of looking at sales of mens’ underwear as an economic forecasting tool is almost certain to be the source of jokes and derision everywhere from The Daily Show to Conan O’Brien to the blogosphere. Here’s the money quote:

Here’s the theory, briefly: Sales of men’s underwear typically are stable because they rank as a necessity. But during times of severe financial strain, men will try to stretch the time between buying new pairs, causing underwear sales to dip.

Several questions:

  • How long before someone from the underwear industry suggests a cash for clunkers-like program to get sales moving and clean out inventory (“Benjamins for Boxers”?).
  • Will liberals say that you shouldn’t have to be able to afford underwear to get the subsidy?
  • Will they be matched by libertarians who will insist that wearing underwear is a choice rather than a right?
  • Isn’t it only a matter of time before someone demands that the underwear that gets you the subsidy be made in the U.S.?
  • Won’t Rush Limbaugh soon say this is a plot by the Obama administration to get patriotic brief-wearing Americans to start wearing boxers gangsta style?
  • Won’t CNBC soon have a panel of economic experts to talk about underwear including at least one person who will insist that the index is completely unreliable because today’s boxers are much better made than those from just a year or so ago and that makes comparisons compleatly unreliable?
  • How long before Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke is asked about this at a congressional hearing?

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About Stan Collender 126 Articles

Affiliation: Qorvis Communications

Stan Collender is a former New Yorker who, after getting a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, moved to Washington to get it out of his system. That was more than 30 years ago.

During most of his career, Collender has worked on the federal budget and congressional budget process, including stints on the staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees; founding the Federal Budget Report, a newsletter that was published for almost two decades; and for the past 11 years writing a weekly column for and now

He is currently a managing director for Qorvis Communications, where he spends most of his time working with and for financial services clients.

Visit: Capital Gains and Games

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