In times of crisis, Americans keep spending


There are rising tensions over North Korea. In Houston we continue to deal with the damage from Hurricane Harvey. Yet how do we respond?

We keep on spending.

You'd think we'd be cautious during times like these, right? Well, Lone Star College economist Hank Lewis says storms like Harvey are one reason we are actually spending more.

“We spend for rebuilding purposes and infrastructure projects that you would expect after a storm like this. This is a response in part to what has happened,” Lewis said.

Others are spending for different reasons, obviously. Lewis says the North Korea issue isn't worrying us because that country is so far away; that things would be different if the threat was closer.

“That’s a very true statement. It depends on the type of crisis and how localized it is to where you live. That can make a huge difference,” Lewis explained.

And we seem to be moving more in the direction of a cashless society these days. Think about it. How many times do you actually see people using cash? You see people using their credit cards. You see people using Apple Pay. More people are leaving cash behind.

But not everyone feels that way. About half of the people we talked to around Houston said they still like having cash in their pockets.

“Cash is more convenient. It eliminates having to keep track of what card I just swiped,” one woman stated.

So what are the pros and cons of a cashless society? Economist Ray Perryman says there are pros, but the cons outweigh them. For instance power outages after a storm can render those cards and phones powerless.

“Any number of things can lead to the electric grid being shut down. That would also shut down your ability to use your cards and phones to pay for things,” Perryman told KTRH News.

So how close are we to going completely cashless?

“We’re a long way. There’s a lot of cash out there. It’s used by a lot of people every day,” Perryman quipped.


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