Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 'Unsettled' economy...

Greetings good citizen,

The ‘Stupidity index’ stayed in negative territory today because inflation refused to remain ‘non-existent’. Understand the pundits are already saying this is an ‘insignificant blip’—that it’s nothing to worry about…until it is.

Rising interest rates are an economic nightmare come true…the only way to effectively combat inflation is to send interest rates through the ceiling…like Paul Volcker did. St. Ronnie Reagan used this same bitter economic medicine to sell 401k’s and money market accounts, telling us how we were all going to be rich, rich, rich!

Pray tell, why do you suppose we are in the mess we’re in? Could it be because we can’t pay the interest on the debt we already have? So how the hell are you supposed to pay when interest rates reach the stratosphere? Or perhaps the more interesting question is WHO will collect?

It certainly won’t be the people highlighted in tonight’s offering

Poll Reveals Trauma of Joblessness in U.S.

Published: December 14, 2009

More than half of the nation’s unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. An equal number have cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments because they are out of work.

"With the job market being as dreadful as it is, perhaps this is an opportunity for those of us unemployed to reinvent ourselves. "

Peter, Kenosha, WI [Um, how many of you think our pal Peter here deserves a vicious ‘dope slap’ for making such a moronic statement? Is there any truth to our politician’s claims that ‘more education’ will solve the unemployment dilemma? No! Because there isn’t a good answer to the question of what one should train for. Until it requires a college degree to secure employment at a drive-up window, there’s nothing to ‘train’ for.]

Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children that they attribute to their difficulties in finding work. [Isn’t that just choice? There are some folks who have experienced more worrisome and immediate difficulties like where their next meal is coming from! Match that with the problem of how they will they survive the night without freezing to death? But no, these assholes point at the ‘mental anguish’ part of the puzzle like it was the most traumatic thing these people have to deal with!]

Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities. [It is statements like these that make you wonder just how often these people stick their heads outside their Ivory Towers? Just how clueless are they?]

The results of the poll, which surveyed 708 unemployed adults from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points [This statement is not factual. In college we learned that in order to have a ‘representative sample’ the minimum sample size for a four point margin of error was 5,000 respondents! So most surveys are full of what makes the grass grow green! (Because they lack a valid sample size)] help to lay bare the depth of the trauma experienced by millions across the country who are out of work as the jobless rate hovers at 10 percent and, in particular, as the ranks of the long-term unemployed soar.

Roughly half of the respondents described the recession as a hardship that had caused fundamental changes in their lives. Generally, those who have been out of work longer reported experiencing more acute financial and emotional effects. [Um, it makes you wonder if this information ‘astonished’ the data collectors for them to use such curious phrasing?]

“I lost my job in March, and from there on, everything went downhill,” said Vicky Newton, 38, of Mount Pleasant, Mich., a single mother who had been a customer-service representative in an insurance agency. [Um, does anyone want to take an ‘educated guess’ why Vicky got it in the jugular? The answer is just a couple of sentences back and has to do with her own um, ‘insurance requirements’…pretty damn sick when the industry that employs you is also the reason your position was cut. They didn’t close the agency…in fact, experienced insurance CSR’s are in demand…unless they ‘consume’ too much of their own product. No employer will admit they terminated an employee because they had a high benefit cost...but that doesn’t mean they won’t mark that employee for ‘downsizing’ should the need arise. I’m speaking from direct experience here, same thing happened to my wife.]

“After struggling and struggling and not being able to pay my house payments or my other bills, I finally sucked up my pride,” she said in an interview after the poll was conducted. “I got food stamps just to help feed my daughter.”

Over the summer, she abandoned her home in Flint, Mich., after she started receiving foreclosure notices. She now lives 90 minutes away, in a rental house owned by her father.

With unemployment driving foreclosures nationwide, a quarter of those polled said they had either lost their home or been threatened with foreclosure or eviction for not paying their mortgage or rent. About a quarter, like Ms. Newton, have received food stamps. More than half said they had cut back on both luxuries and necessities in their spending. Seven in 10 rated their family’s financial situation as fairly bad or very bad.

But the impact on their lives was not limited to the difficulty in paying bills. Almost half said unemployment had led to more conflicts or arguments with family members and friends; 55 percent have suffered from insomnia. [And the other half lied about their answer.]

“Everything gets touched,” said Colleen Klemm, 51, of North Lake, Wis., who lost her job as a manager at a landscaping company last November. “All your relationships are touched by it. You’re never your normal happy-go-lucky person. Your countenance, your self-esteem goes. You think, ‘I’m not employable.’ ” [Sadly Colleen speaks the truth for anyone over 50 who loses their job. It’s no different here than it is in China, the thinking is ‘you can’t keep up with the kids’…worse, if your job requires specialized knowledge, the kid fresh out of college is up on the latest techniques while what you know is twenty years out of date!]

A quarter of those who experienced anxiety or depression said they had gone to see a mental health professional. Women were significantly more likely than men to acknowledge emotional issues.

Tammy Linville, 29, of Louisville, Ky., said she lost her job as a clerical worker for the Census Bureau a year and a half ago. She began seeing a therapist for depression every week through Medicaid but recently has not been able to go because her car broke down and she cannot afford to fix it. [Um, considering 2010 is a ‘census year’ coming up something ‘stinks’ about using this particular story as an example…]

Her partner works at the Ford plant in the area, but his schedule has been sporadic. They have two small children and at this point, she said, they are “saving quarters for diapers.”

“Every time I think about money, I shut down because there is none,” Ms. Linville said. “I get major panic attacks. I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Nearly half of the adults surveyed admitted to feeling embarrassed or ashamed most of the time or sometimes as a result of being out of work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the traditional image of men as breadwinners, men were significantly more likely than women to report feeling ashamed most of the time. [I suspect this is a ‘mis-statement’…I’m not even a little ‘embarrassed’ about being unemployed because it wasn’t my fault. In fact, getting downsized is seldom the ‘victim’s’ fault so stating that most unemployed men feel ‘embarrassed’ by their predicament ‘mis-states’ their ‘frustration’ at having to start over again somewhere else as the ‘bottom man’.]

There was a pervasive sense from the poll that the American dream had been upended for many. Nearly half of those polled said they felt in danger of falling out of their social class, with those out of work six months or more feeling especially vulnerable. Working-class respondents felt at risk in the greatest numbers. [Sadly, many people fail at correctly identifying their ‘true’ class here in our supposedly ‘classless’ society. There’s hardly a nickel’s worth of difference between the working poor and the poor. Case in point, if you ask your peers, almost all of them will tell you they are ‘middle class’…but do yourself a favor, steer clear of having them explain ‘why’ they think they are middle class because you will lose respect for a lot of these people. If they ‘volunteer’ this information, do your best to keep a straight face!]

Nearly half of respondents said they did not have health insurance, with the vast majority citing job loss as a reason, a notable finding given the tug of war in Congress over a health care overhaul. The poll offered a glimpse of the potential ripple effect of having no coverage. More than half characterized the cost of basic medical care as a hardship. [The sad truth is most of us can’t afford health insurance on our own, it is ‘cost prohibitive’ if you aren’t part of a large group and even then, few of us earn enough to cover the cost.]

Many in the ranks of the unemployed appear to be rethinking their career and life choices. Just over 40 percent said they had moved or considered moving to another part of the state or country where there were more jobs. More than two-thirds of respondents had considered changing their career or field, and 44 percent of those surveyed had pursued job retraining or other educational opportunities. [Only to find there aren’t enough ‘entry level’ opportunities in their chosen field, the school recruiter lied to them.]

Joe Whitlow, 31, of Nashville, worked as a mechanic until a repair shop he was running with a friend finally petered out in August. He had contemplated going back to school before, but the potential loss in income always deterred him. Now he is enrolled at a local community college, planning to study accounting. [Big mistake! But it’s too late now. What people fail to understand is accounting isn’t ‘wall to wall’ employment and the few ‘permanent’ accounting positions out there don’t go begging.]

“When everything went bad, not that I didn’t have a choice, but it made the choice easier,” Mr. Whitlow said. [Sadly, Mr. Whitlow won’t learn of his error until AFTER he’s graduated and the only time anyone will want him is tax season; the rest of the year they have no use for him…unless their car breaks down.]

The poll also shed light on the formal and informal safety nets that the jobless have relied upon. More than half said they were receiving or had received unemployment benefits. But 61 percent of those receiving benefits said the amount was not enough to cover basic necessities. Most of us can’t live on half of our paycheck and that’s roughly what unemployment amounts to…if you weren’t laid off from a good paying job! If you were making more than $ 800 per week then unemployment leaves a really big hole in your pocket where there used to be cash.]

Meanwhile, a fifth said they had received food from a nonprofit organization or religious institution. Among those with a working spouse, half said their spouse had taken on additional hours or another job to help make ends meet.

Even those who have stayed employed have not escaped the recession’s bite. According to a New York Times/CBS News nationwide poll conducted at the same time as the poll of unemployed adults, about 3 in 10 people said that in the past year, as a result of bad economic conditions, their pay had been cut. [This is especially true if your paycheck was ‘performance based’…when there is less work to be had, you naturally make less money.]

In terms of casting blame for the high unemployment rate, 26 percent of unemployed adults cited former President George W. Bush; 12 percent pointed the finger at banks; 8 percent highlighted jobs going overseas and the same number blamed politicians. Only 3 percent blamed President Obama. [Notice that this doesn’t add up to 100% so you have to wonder why so many refused to answer this question?]

Those out of work were split, however, on the president’s handling of job creation, with 47 percent expressing approval and 44 percent disapproval. [Sadly, those who approve are not paying attention.]

Unemployed Americans are divided over what the future holds for the job market: 39 percent anticipate improvement, 36 percent expect it will stay the same, and 22 percent say it will get worse.

Our extremely ‘unscientific’ poll has proven ‘unreliable’ on several key issues. And believe you me, there is a heck of a lot more than a 4 % margin of error at play here!

We heard from Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Kentucky…pretty much all ‘around’ the ‘rustbelt’ with all four states being in the middle of the growing ‘economic desert’…to make matters more interesting…aren’t all of them ‘Red States’? Perhaps that accounts for the, er, ‘evasive’ answers to the question of who was responsible for the economic meltdown…

So, good citizen, should the unemployed take it upon themselves to ‘re-invent’ themselves or does the problem go deeper than that? Isn’t this a simple case of there not being enough jobs to go around once they got through shipping all of our ‘grunt work’ overseas?

No one likes ‘simple answers’, especially when they empty the pockets of the self-interested. There isn’t a ‘bogeyman’ out there ‘scaring all of the jobs away’, your ass was made ‘redundant’ so the shit head investor could pocket more of the profits rather than turning them over to you.

It is ‘their’ money after all. You ask them and that’s exactly what they’ll tell you! They don’t owe you anything but they hope to hell that their greed doesn’t stop you from buying their stuff!

Um, I think they should all be ‘stuffed’ with their ‘stuff’ and nobody should buy from them…but that’s just me. Until we make the ‘exploitation’ of one human by another illegal, this sort of ‘hooray for me and the hell with you’ bullshit will continue.

Moving on, I spied this article by Peter Schiff posted on the Asia Times today.

What caught my attention was the following paragraph:

Eventually, the cheap credit will dry up. Not because the Fed decides it should but because our foreign creditors stop lending. When that happens, this administration will look as clueless about economics as the last one was about the pitfalls of nation-building.

Yes, good citizen, ‘clueless’ sums the situation up rather nicely…

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


No comments:

Post a Comment