Friday, March 23, 2012

The Trampoline Effect

The other night I was reading something about the recovering economy—a recovery so tepid we can’t perceive it; instead we must take government’s word for it. Never comforting. And the reading led me to talk with my son Political Sphere about the concept that, the deeper the recession, the stronger the following recovery. I wrote about this principle with more detail in “Parabolas” on November 21st.

photo from trampoline.com
So, we were discussing this concept, and Political Sphere unveiled what he calls the Trampoline Effect. On a trampoline, the harder you come down (from a higher or heavier fall), the higher and more powerful the bounce back up. But if a big brother (yes, he worded it that way, with plenty of extra meanings) steps in to “help,” it doesn’t help. It usually disturbs the bounce, taking the energy out of it, and you end up with buckled knees and a few small bounces fading into flatness.
Picture the difference between a parabola (the natural down and back up bounce) and what is euphemistically referred to as an L-shaped recovery, but is really just the dribble that happens from interference in the bounce.
Big Brother “helping” is the government stepping in, taking actions that interfere with the energy of the natural growing economy.
So, every time you hear someone say, “We had to do something,” or “Think how bad it would be if we hadn’t taken action,” translate that in your mind to the Trampoline Effect. Does the jumper need you to step in and “help” in order to bounce back up? No, that is going to happen unless you interfere.
A recovery, by definition, is coming back up to at least the starting point. If that hasn’t happened, we’re either still going down, or we’re stuck down flat because of the interference. What we need is for Big Brother to get out of the way so we can make a few small tentative bounces and put our energy into building up a good parabolic rise. But every time he steps in, he zaps the energy out of your bounce and leaves you flagging.

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