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.
- 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?