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Chomping on Granola Bars and thinking Economy....

Granola Bars with peeled orange

Hope everyone is having a good week! Mine started fine but then I came down with a bout of cold and congestion {pout}. I did take the flu vaccine, so I guess I am skirting the land of fever but cold is meanly laughing at me, saying I can't escape it's clammy tentacles no matter how many antibodies are coursing through me.. {sniff}

So, while I sniffle away my mind begins to wander. Recently, I have been pondering a lot about the perplexing state of affairs, literally and economically. Let's take stock, shall we. US is currently running at a 9.2% unemployment rate with no logical reasoning for it to trend down as companies are fundamentally not adding incremental value and hence have no real reason to hire, neither is the market justifying any addition.

Granola Bars 3 top view

The nemesis of the US economy is it's extreme consumerism which, ironically is the only vehicle for fuelling a recovery and said economy. This is indeed a vicious circle which has a marked tendency to black holing. Compare the stats; US household savings rate is barely at 6% while India and China easily manage North of 30%.

Who is to blame? Access to cheap credit, lax credentials, greedy money spinners or monetary measures? Even as credit is tightening and there is atleast more talk of regulation and oversight, the savings rate has not gone up, neither has spending declined as attested by recent numbers!

Granola Bars with Orange

And why? Consider this.. Inflation is at 1.5% and interest on savings peaks at 1.25%. So, really my money next year is worth less than today. So, simple economics guides that I should spend it before it depreciates! Which is correct, and perhaps, what is really happening and what is fueling the euphoria of the stock markets.

Equity markets are trading at 2006 levels. To draw the contrast, 2006 was the year of bit fat bonus checks and rosy outlook. It was the last year of unblemished bullishness before the debacle and carnage of Wall Street. So, why are we there again, already? Atleast 2006 had the housing bubble to artificially prop up everyone's spirits! Where is the buoyancy coming from now? Are we building castles out of thin air now?

granola bars 1

It is indeed food for thought and perhaps time for caution and bold measures. When are we going to wake up and sniff the reality? It is going to be a hard landing. Brace up! Perhaps, it is time for the Fed to hike rates and, contrary to long standing market beliefs, enable a softer landing by tightening the belt. It would not be dampening, but, indeed will actually right size expectations!

Saffron, Apricot, Cranberry and Pistachio Granola Bars

1-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup, toasted apricot kernels, chopped
1/4 cup, toasted pistachios, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1/2 tsp saffron
1 tsp salt
3 T butter
3 T honey
2 T maple syrup

Warm the butter, honey and maple syrup over low heat, until the butter has melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and drop in the saffron. Let steep for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the rest of the ingredients. Slowly drizzle in the warm liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Gently toss the ingredients together until evenly sticky.

Transfer to a lightly oil cake pan, lined with parchment paper and press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake at 350F for 20 to 30 minutes, until the oats start browning. Remove and cool on rack. When cooled to room temperature, slice into bars. Store in an airtight box.

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