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Sin Pays a Price January 28, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Economic Stimulus, Economy, popular culture.
Tags: , , , , , ,

porn-industryHere in Buffalo, NY, we once had a mayor that famously told people during a particularly vicious snowstorm to “buy a six-pack and stay home.”  Though he was roasted for the comment by various anti-alcohol groups and the Buffalo media, it really made sense.  He wanted everyone to just stay off the roads, hunker down, and wait for the weather to clear.  In a way, that’s how Americans are reacting to this recession.  We’re eating in, driving less, paying down our debt, and just waiting for things to get better.  So what better way to wait out the storm than with booze, porn, and gambling?

Once believed to be recession-proof , “vice” industries are suffering this time around.  The adult entertainment industry is the hardest-hit.  Americans’ spending in this sector is way down and the industry is facing stiff (pun intended) competition from free web sites and downloads.  Plus, since pornography has been so lucrative for so many years, amateur filmmakers have flooded the market with cheaper options.  What’s an enterprising skin merchant to do in these circumstances?  Why request a federal bail-out, that’s what.  Hustler’s Larry Flynt and “Girls Gone Wild” creator Joe Francis are asking for a $5 billion federal bailout of adult entertainment because “the economy has made America’s appetite for sex go limp.” (TMZ.com)

Gambling has taken a big hit, as well.  Las Vegas reports that the number of visitors was down 4% last year and the overall gaming take was down 6%.  Casino stocks have been walloped in recent weeks and most analysts are advising people to stay away until at least 2010.  Even online gambling sites are feeling the pinch.  People may be staying home but they’re not spending what they save going out on internet poker. 

The one bright spot is alcohol.  Whether drinking to dull the pain or just to forget all the bad economic news, booze purveyors are looking for some single-digit upticks in business this year.  But while we’re still drinking as much or more than before, frugal Americans are slumming.  Cheaper local and domestic beers are beating premium brands like Sam Adams and Heineken.  Wine sales, especially of two-buck-chucks, are higher than hard liquor – and when we do go for the hard stuff, we’re shying away from high-end brands.  Grey Goose is being traded in for Svedka or Smirnoff’s.  My poor martini!

I hope that the President can get his economic stimulus package through Congress this week and start putting some people back to work.  Even if we’re trying to be good with our money, we deserve a little sin!



1. wolfman1 - January 28, 2009

Very good points, K. We should be spending ‘bail-out’ money on infrastucture. We have roads full ofm pot holes, and bridges that are falling down. get local government to create jobs for the almost bottom of the ladder to pay them to re-start the economy. perhpas US cars wil llast longer if the roads they are on are beter. Perhaps less epople wil lrewquire hospital attention ,and lower insurance costs. If Reagean’s rickle-dwon idea was so hot, then it’s tikme for a trickle up!
The Porn and Gambling industries? Give us a break!!

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