By Jeffrey A. Burnstein, President, Robotic Industries Association
I thought the stimulus package received a lukewarm reception, but that was nothing in comparison to the strong negative reactions from many people to the mortgage bailout plan announced by President Obama. Again, I have no idea if this is a good plan or not, but it’s certainly not changing the negative feelings everyone seems to have about the economy.
Global stock markets continue to fall. Unemployment continues to rise. The airways are filled with nothing but negative news. It’s enough to drive someone to drink. Or is it?
I assumed that as the problems Americans face get worse, sales of wine would surely increase. It actually comforted me to think that when I reach for that occasional glass of wine or two that I was helping one sector of the economy remain strong. Now it appears that even wine sales aren’t immune. As this article from Wine Spectator indicates the parent company of Kendall Jackson wines recently laid off 20% of its staff. American consumers are going out to restaurants less and buying less expensive wines than in the past. This puts the squeeze on many wineries.
So, this Sunday night when I sit down t watch the Academy Awards with a glass of wine (a $9.99 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot), it won’t be as relaxing as in the past, knowing that even the wine industry is suffering. As for Hollywood, the recession means fewer and less lavish Oscar parties, according to reports, so I don’t expect to find much “escapism” there.
But, I do look forward to the Oscars this year. I’m rooting for “Slumdog Millionaire” to win Best Picture and lots of other awards. It was filmed in Mumbai, where I went with our recent Mission to India. Great film, captures the city perfectly, and a true “rags to riches” story since it only cost $15 million to produce and nearly was released direct to video. It now stands on the brink of capturing the industry’s top honor. That’s a “good news” story to look forward to.