Thursday, January 28, 2010

Less than expected

Greetings good citizen,

Much is being made of the weak jobs market as this morning’s report of ‘higher than expected’ new claims for unemployment sent the stock market 140 points into negative territory. (Not that the markets closed there but they did indeed dip that low during afternoon trading.)

I sort of ‘went off’ yesterday on the topic of things working in a loop-like fashion, how if people aren’t paid they can’t pay and so on down the line. Well, where do you suppose that conga line starts?

How about here, where the jobs AREN’T… have a gander at this news item if you’re still wondering why the labor markets are flat…

Understand that Bozo the business owner, in pursuit of his own best interests, opens a new plant in some third world hell hole. Someplace where what labor laws there are get made by management and some employees really are ‘bought and paid for’, having been supplied by the low-life scum that ‘traffic’ in live humans.

No irony should be lost on the fact that capitalism itself provides the ‘market’ for this blatant disregard of human dignity. Without the ‘profit motive’ there is no ‘incentive’ to rob another human being of their freedom…a practice usually reserved for the punishment of criminals.

Got a little sidetracked there, albeit by a point that needed to be made.

So Bozo, exercising his ‘freedom’ to maximize his profits by whatever means available, opens a new plant, displacing his own employees in his native land…in this case the USA.

Understand, ‘theoretically’ Bozo was issued a ‘permit’ to conduct commerce in the USA (a corporate charter) NOT with the express purpose of maximizing personal profits BUT with the express purpose of fulfilling a ‘public good’.

Why bother to incorporate or even to legally establish yourself if your sole aim is to exploit the citizens of a certain geographic location for personal enrichment?

Paying taxes or maintaining/complying with government standards and practices only cut into your profits, so why do it?

A question most ‘business operators’ don’t like to discuss much as they cut every corner they can get away with.

The laws are established not only to protect the customer but they also exist to level the playing field between vendors…which is a bit weird because there isn’t much crossover between protections for customers and protections for business operators, leaving customers somewhat vulnerable…

Anyway, my point, in case missed it, is that businesses enjoy certain government protections while the protection the government is supposed to be providing for society has gone ‘missing’.

Yessirree Bob, the gubmint is supposed to make sure the people they permit to collect money from the people of our nation also provide those people with a way to earn money in return. That is how most ‘corporations’ satisfy their ‘public good’ requirement.

It is not the service itself but the employment opportunity it provides that makes business so ‘valuable’ to a society. Hell, if it was just the goods or services alone, all you’d need was access to a port and we’d all buy everything we wanted off of the docks (or out of the back of a truck)

Somewhere down the line, this ‘public good’ aspect of being permitted to ‘prey’, I mean ‘conduct business’ in our country got lost in translation. Seems our ‘legislators’ lost sight of the ‘purpose of commerce’.

Um, receiving only the ‘extraction’ portion of the business arrangement has caused a certain amount of ‘slack’ in our labor markets. Not producing what we consume has by default left us with a lot fewer consumers…while the assholes taking advantage of this situation are getting their bread buttered on both sides.

But you knew that.

And so at long last we arrive at tonight’s offering

Disappointing Economic Data Pushes Markets Lower

Published: January 28, 2010 [Notice how this story remains an ‘orphan’?]

Shares on Wall Street slipped in early trading Thursday as upbeat earnings failed to offset uncertainty still swirling around government involvement in the market and disappointing jobless and durable goods orders reports. [Um, read that last line again and ask yourself what the qualifications are to be a reporter/editor for this nation’s paper of record?]

Markets also declined in Europe after shares finished higher in Asia. [And there we have global market performance in a nutshell.]

Politics, not the economy, had been dictating trading over the last week. Concerns about President Obama’s plan to overhaul banking regulation and restrict trading at large financial institutions spooked the market. The possibility that the Federal Reserve Board chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, would not be confirmed for a second term had investors on edge, though those worries have subsided. Stocks have declined five of the last eight days. [And Benber was granted his second term…]

During his State of the Union address Wednesday night, Mr. Obama avoided talking about the banking overhaul plan. Uncertainty over details of how that plan might be enacted and how strong trading restrictions would be had helped push the market to its worst three-day stretch since stocks bottomed last March. [That’s pretty remarkable all by itself, actually admitting that market conditions had nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with politics is more truth than most of us can handle!]

Focus on the economy is creeping back to the forefront. The Fed said Wednesday afternoon it would keep interest rates at historic lows [which means they will essentially do nothing] and the economy was showing signs of improvement. That helped stocks rally late in the day. [Yes, the Dow closed down 115 points instead of the 140 points it was down earlier in the trading day…wait for it…WTF!!!]

Investors welcomed a new round of earnings Thursday that showed signs of a strengthening economy. [Which is why the Dow lost 115 points, right?] However, the Labor Department said weekly jobless claims fell by less than expected last week and the Commerce Department reported durable goods orders did not rise as fast as anticipated last month, providing a reminder the economic recovery will probably be slow.

In late morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 167.77 points, or 1.6 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 17.84, or 1.6 percent while the Nasdaq declined 51.98 points, or 2.3 percent. [You can’t tell from the graph how ‘low’ (or high) a particular peak or valley is, the ‘lowest’ I saw today was 140, thus do I repeat that figure several times in the post.]

In London, the FTSE 100 index was down 24.41 points, or 0.5 percent, at 5,193.06 while Germany’s DAX fell 52.81 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,590.39 The CAC-40 in France was 37.15 points, or 1 percent, lower at 3,723.65.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 stock average rose 162.21 points, or 1.6 percent, to 10,414.29 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 323.30 points, or 1.6 percent, 20,356.37. Shanghai’s market was up 0.3 percent, Australia added 0.6 percent and India’s index ticked up 0.1 percent.

The Ford Motor Company said it recorded a profit in 2009 — its first annual profit in four years. The auto maker, which avoided bankruptcy and government bailout money, said it expected to again be profitable in 2010.

The consumer products makers, Colgate-Palmolive, and the Procter & Gamble Company both said quarterly sales improved as consumers continue to spend on necessary goods. The two reports topped analysts’ expectations. [Um, when the choices become ‘bad breath’ or starvation, the personal care product giants may notice that their profits drop off proportionally.]

The pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly & Company, recorded a profit during the fourth quarter as sales of its two top-selling drugs rose sharply.

And AT&T’s profit was in line with expectations, though the telecommunications company added a near-record 2.7 million wireless customers.

New requests for unemployment benefits fell modestly, dropping to 470,000 last week. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had been expecting a bigger drop to 450,000 new unemployment filings.

Orders to American factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose less than expected in December, increasing just 0.3 percent. Economists had been expecting a 2 percent increase in orders. [So those boobs were off by a mile, makes you wonder what they were expecting…oh yeah, if you will recall, this was supposed to be all over by now.]

For all of 2009, durable goods orders — items expected to last at least three years — tumbled 20.2 percent. It was the largest drop on records that go back to 1992.

Okay, I can’t figure out what is more disturbing, the admission that market performance is driven more so by politics than the economy or the stunning claim that a 115 point drop in the Dow is suddenly a sign of ‘economic strength’. Maybe that’s the problem, novices like myself don’t know the difference between ‘bad’ news and ‘good’.

Oh what a field day they would have if only we were all that stupid!

Maybe I am the one who is being a little ‘dense’, when I see economist’s talk about ‘imbalances’ in the economy, I (stupidly) assume they are talking about the same factors I raise in tonight’s piece.

BUT, you never hear anyone (including these so-called economists) clarify just what they’re referring to when they use the term ‘imbalances’.

Sadly, what passes for our economy is SO far out of whack that the ‘imbalances’ could be anywhere…because they are in fact, ‘everywhere’…

And until they are, er, ‘corrected’ there is NO POSSIBILITY of an economic recovery, nada, zip!

Weird that we can all agree on how the country is headed in the ‘wrong direction’ but not one pundit will risk clarifying what’s wrong for fear of ‘alienating’ their base…

Fortunately, I don’t suffer from that ‘fear’.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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