Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where's the Beef?

Greetings good citizen,

Every once in a while I encounter a piece that saves me a ton of writing. What follows isn’t precisely how I’d put it but it is mighty damn close.

Long time readers should be able to pick out the ‘quibbles’ (which are few.)

I tend to just start typing, which makes a lot of my works difficult to follow. The ‘stream of consciousness’ is less than constant, causing the reader to draw upon their ability to ‘filter’ rather frequently.

Sorry, it is a personal weakness that I could correct if I wanted to ‘re-write’ everything I post.

You might want to call this ‘blogger disease’ as I am not the only one who suffers from this, er, ‘tendency to ramble’.

While writing IS re-writing, blogging seldom affords you the luxury of unlimited time.

You just dash these bad boys off and hope the reader can sort most of it out…

Um, anyway…let’s get things back on track here by taking a quick peak at the stock markets, which are, it appears, taking the dive they should have taken yesterday…for the exact same reason as yesterday no less!

The ‘red ink’ is global; although the ‘Thieves Republic’ (USA) is bleeding far less than the exchanges of its, er, ‘vassals’…

Dunno what to make of this but it strikes me that we would be in far worse shape if the ‘head thieves’ didn’t consider these shores home.

You don’t shit in your own backyard. (For very obvious reasons.)

Stock markets aside, where is this ‘crippled economy’ leading us?

If we ask ‘question one’ it leads us to some rather grim assessments:

Where Are The Jobs?

Most Americans don't really care about the economic minutiae that many of us who study the U.S. economy love to pour over. When it comes to the economy, the typical American citizen just wants to be able to get a good job, make a decent living and put bread on the table for the family. For generations, this arrangement has worked out quite well. The U.S. economy has provided large numbers of middle class jobs and the American people have worked hard and have helped this nation prosper like no other.
But now people are starting to notice that something has shifted. Millions of people are looking around and are realizing that the jobs that are supposed to be there are not there anymore. [I would never use this ‘POV’; there is nothing ‘abrupt’ about our current circumstances! This shit has been going on for decades.] The American people are still working hard (and in many cases harder than ever [for less pay!]) but all of that hard work is producing fewer and fewer rewards.

Often politicians will placate voters by telling them that they are working harder and harder for less and less. [Must be a ‘local phenomenon’. I have yet to see a politician cop to ‘me too’ while campaigning.] That tends to ring true with voters because that is a very accurate description of what so many of them are actually experiencing, but what the politicians don't tell us is that they are the ones to blame for the situation that we are in. As millions of jobs become obsolete because of technology and millions of other jobs are shipped overseas, our politicians tell us over and over that we can "compete" with anyone and that if we will just go out and get some more education we can make it happen. But those of us who are extremely over-educated know what a fraud that line is. The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for all of us no matter how "educated" we are. This is creating a lot of anger and frustration, and now even the IMF is warning that we will could see "an explosion of social unrest" if high unemployment persists.

But what can be done? You can't force large [private] corporations to hire people. The reality is that there are a couple of huge factors that have brought us to this point. First of all, advanced technology means that big corporations need fewer people to do the same amount of work now. Secondly, the globalization of our economy means that U.S. workers have now been merged into a global labor pool where they are in direct competition with workers who are more than happy to make less than a dollar an hour on the other side of the world.

This all means that the labor of American workers is less valuable to global corporations than it ever has been before. [Funny how the solution to the problem lies in problem itself…eliminate global corporations and you eliminate the problem!] Advanced technology and computers have enabled corporations to operate leaner and meaner. If they do need some old-fashioned muscle for certain tasks they can always run out and set up a facility in some third world nation where they can pay people close to slave labor wages and where they don't have to worry much about taxes, regulations, unions, health benefits or pension plans. [This, ‘indifference’ to the health of society at large is a crime against humanity and it should be prosecuted as such! This is commerce to enrich the owner at the expense of society. These ‘destroyers’ shall be themselves, destroyed.]

What did you think was going to happen when the United States entered into all of these "free trade" agreements with nations around the world that did not have minimum wage laws? [This is where (very misguided) Libertarians defended globalization for lowering prices to the consumer, ignoring the fact that the bulk of consumers double as ‘producers’. The ONLY winners in the global race to the bottom has been the employer/importer, everybody else loses and our civilization is falling apart because of it!]

U.S. corporations are not in existence to provide the American people with jobs. They are in existence to make money. If they can make more money by shipping jobs overseas, then that is exactly what they are going to do. [This is essentially ‘fucked up’ because all ‘corporations’ are ‘chartered’ by the guardians of the public (the government) to serve ‘the public’. If a company ‘harms’ the society that founded it, it faces the revocation of its charter. How many corporations can you think of that are in violation of their charters? Would it be simpler to throw the blanket over the whole mess because all NYSE listed corporations are ‘guilty’?]

According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies skyrocketed 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

Are you starting to see the picture?

Global corporations based in the U.S. have been creating lots of jobs - just not in the United States.

In fact, things only seem to be accelerating.

In 2008 alone, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations fell by 445,500.

In the old days, you could give tax breaks to U.S. firms and that would spur them to do more business and to hire more workers. But today, if U.S. multinationals decide they wish to expand they will just go hire more third world workers and pocket the rest of the profits for themselves. [And who is behind handing out tax cuts to the already rich?]

The reality is that we are facing a very disturbing long-term trend in the United States. Today, over half of all unemployed workers in the United States have been out of work for over six months. In fact, the duration of unemployment in the United States has spiked up to the highest level it has been at since World War II....[It’s even worse than that good citizen, it is worse than its ever been!]

This has created a growing subclass of people in the United States who feel that the system has failed them. The anger and the frustration in the country is rising every day. You can almost feel it. [It’s a ‘tinderbox’ just waiting for a match.]

In fact, the IMF is warning that we are at risk of "an explosion of social unrest" due to this unemployment crisis. [Unemployment is bad enough, it will be when ‘heat or eat’ becomes an issue for tens of millions that haven’t faced this choice yet.]

The head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, recently made the following statement at an Oslo jobs summit with the International Labour Federation....

"The labour market is in dire straits. The Great Recession has left behind a waste land of unemployment." [Geez, you wouldn’t guess that from listening to the local media now would you? Are things really worse than they are letting on? You bet they are!]

So exactly what is going to turn that around?

Are millions of jobs going to suddenly hop up and return home from overseas? [No, the answer lies in a shorter workweek/day and a severely reduced level of expenses across the board…all while letting the useless banks go hang!]

Is the U.S. government going to suddenly eliminate a whole raft of taxes and regulations and are U.S. workers going to suddenly become much cheaper?

Is the U.S. trade deficit crisis suddenly going to reverse and turn into huge trade surpluses for the United States?

Of course none of those things is going to happen.

America is going to continue to bleed jobs, wages inside the United States are going to continue to be forced down and the standard of living for most Americans is going to continue to deteriorate. [Just understand that this isn’t ‘infinite freefall’ people won’t obliging starve to death without retaliating…then watch out!]

Plus, if the American people don't have good jobs, they can't buy homes. In fact, a growing number of Americans are finding out that they can't even afford the homes they are in right now. CNBC is reporting that the nation's banks repossessed a record number of homes in August.

But for many Americans, a foreclosure is just the beginning of their problems. People are falling out of the middle class at an alarming rate. Approximately 45 million Americans [households, the number of affected individuals is considerably higher!] were living in poverty during 2009. That is an absolutely astounding figure.

The American people are getting mad and faith in the economy is plummeting. According to Gallup, confidence in the economy is way down compared to the same period last year. [Wait until ‘lack of faith’ in the economy becomes lack of faith in the currency!]

So what is going to happen when (not if) things get even worse?

Well, some investors are already anticipating rough times ahead and are flocking to commodities. The price of gold soared to a record intra-day high of $1,276.50 an ounce on Tuesday, and the price of gold and other commodities will probably continue to climb as economies around the world continue to destabilize. [Some are predicting gold to exceed $5,000 an ounce. Personally, human stupidity being what it is, I expect to see gold hit a million dollars an ounce before the gold market collapses into worthlessness.]

These are very, very difficult times that we are moving into. There are not going to be nearly enough jobs for everyone. People you know are going to be unemployed. People you know are going to lose their homes. People you know might even end up living on the streets. [Already there Amigo…we’re already there.]

Just hope that you don't end up being one of them.

Squatting will temporarily ‘ease’ the homeless situation. What’s going to throw the torch onto the bonfire is when people ‘living free’ are unable to scrape up enough to keep their ‘squat’ heated AND keep bread on the table.

These people are already living ‘illegally’ so they don’t want to attract unwanted attention to themselves by stealing fuel oil too (although some will.)

You can see the two edged sword already starting to drop. ‘Cheated’ fuel oil dealers will be on the police to evict squatters from, er, ‘abandoned’ properties.

The police have no place to house these, er, criminals so they will ask the state for assistance. The state can’t house them either…so ‘fuel assistance’ funds will be tapped.

[Although some families with small children will be ‘made an example of’ (arrested and taken into custody)…and this will turn out VERY BADLY for the law enforcement officials involved.]

But (damn it!) I digress…

I will refrain from making any ‘predictions’ regarding this coming winter, if things go to hell it is unlikely the MSM will draw your attention to it.

(Unless it’s ‘unavoidable’…which is bound to happen. Although, some ‘civil actions’ could be disguised as, er, ‘natural disasters’. I suspect this has already happened on more than a few occasions.)

More digressing…sorry.

Just as it is not possible to spend one’s way out of debt, you can’t solve a labor surplus by increasing imports…yet these are the ‘solutions’ our corporate overlords are giving their pet politicians.

What happens when we ‘lose faith’ in charade we call politics?

Stay tuned.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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