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01/03/2011

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BJ

No worries man. Things are definitely looking up. Stock market is way up today, economists are predicting 2.5-3 millions jobs, and...

"Dollar General plans to create 6,000 new jobs in the next year, the discount retailer said Monday. The increased hiring is part of Dollar General's (DG, Fortune 500) plan to open 625 new stores during the year, the company said in a statement."

http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/03/news/companies/dollar_general_jobs/index.htm?iid=EL

What was it you were saying the other day about a propaganda blitz?

Oh, damn, there is the little issue of oil prices also being up over $2 a barrel. Yep, good times are here!

BJ

Well, here is why the stock market is doing well, but the average American is having trouble affording health care, food, and utilities.

"Several experts say that the main forces behind the bull run in commodities last year, namely strong economies in emerging markets coupled with worries about the health of the U.S. and Europe, are likely to remain in place this year."

""The economic improvement in the U.S. is not as rosy as you might think. The Fed is going to have to continue printing money and that makes gold extremely attractive," Beahm said. "

"At the same time, the robust economic growth in China, India, Brazil and Russia should lead to more demand for oil, industrial metals like copper and palladium and agricultural commodities like wheat and corn."

""Emerging markets helped drive demand for commodities across the board so we are still bullish on commodities," said Oliver Pursche"

http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/03/markets/thebuzz/index.htm

Where is the bubble? "Emerging markets". If you can tap into that bubble, you will have a stellar year, even if the average American is on food stamps. Increasing commodity and gas prices, along with the average household incomes being equal to what was in 1997, should push more folks onto food stamps, and probably more people into foreclosure.

The only way things will improve for the average American is if tons more debt is created, to account for the lost incomes and increased prices. Now the federal government is more than willing to accept more debt, perhaps because they aren't faced with 20-30% interest rates, as is the case for the debt ridden consumer.

The question is, how much public debt is enough?

Steve Addy posted this on CNN:

"Asking whether the rally will 'stick' is like asking whether the Fed will stop pumping money into it...really, come on, the market is buoyant because of the Fed spigot is running full blast. The govt spent 5.7 trillion last year to get a 100 billion increase in GDP. Anyone see anything wrong with this picture?"

Marissa

I was talking to a coworker yesterday, a single 60 year old woman. She told me that she had finally couldn't resist and had turned on her heat the night before because her apartment was so cold. It was the only time so far this season she had used the heater.

This woman works three part time jobs. She can't afford to heat her apartment. She has gone the winter so far without heat, except for that one night.

Very sad, yes?

Charles Kadlec

Has anyone noticed that this shameful state of affairs has coincided with the biggest peace time expansion of the Federal government since the 1930s?

BJ

Charles: While I agree the government is spending too much, the number of government employees isn't increasing, though one would expect it to have, with the creation of all these new programs that need administration. Makes you wonder who is minding the bank accounts. Perhaps that is why we are getting so little bang for our buck.

http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2010/09/government-employment-since-1976.html

http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2010/09/the_everexpandi.html

Most of the money is going to social programs and defense. Now if we counted defense contractors and workers under the heading of government employees, then perhaps we might see a post 2001 increase in "government jobs".

BJ

Followup to prior post: Prior to seeing these graphs, I thought government employment had to be up, way up, as around 22% of employees in my community work, or were working, for the various levels of government (making on average $5 more per hour than the private sector). Makes you wonder if government jobs are being moved about the country, or if the true number of government employees is being hidden within government contractors.

Jennifer

Lot's a platitudes in this comment. There are lies, damn lies and statistics. We are living in an illusion of wealth and the fear that permeates society is real. The government deceives us with "bread and circuses" while the minority suffer in quiet desperation. Like the old saying goes you are living in a recession when you neighbor loses his job, it's a depression when you lose yours. Be afraid everyone, be very afraid and don't ask for whom the bell tolls...

Jennifer

Dave thank you for the Decline of the Empire.

rjs

ive posted links to this all over, but im still surprised this has not yet been covered elsewhere; just did a google search and all that showed up was your post here & in canada and the links i posted...

Morocco Bama

I think Wile E Coyote is an excellent metaphor for what is happening to those who aren't members of the Plutocracy. Here's a clip of Wile E Coyote being chased down and over a cliff by a truck driven by the indestructible Roadrunner. Notice when Wile E goes over the cliff he doesn't realize it at first and he chastisingly smirks at the Roadrunner driving away.....and then he smashes into the wall on the other side and falls to earth with a splat. Perfect analogy. The Masses are over the cliff at this point and the majority are arrogantly clueless as to the fate that awaits them. It won't be long now before the Plutocracy goes "Beep-Beep!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d8ROhH3_vs

sharonsj

Charles, what peacetime expansion are you deludedly talking about? We have two unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more combat in Pakistan, and clandestine operations in a bunch of other countries. We spend more on the military than the rest of the world spends on theirs. If we wanted to do something about the crumbling infrastructure, or help our own citizens, we'd stop expanding our military empire. Instead we have become a banana republic with nukes.

Morocco Bama

A quick look at Charles' website reveals Charles' stripes. Charles defines Liberty as follows:

"""Living in liberty requires the support of practices and virtues that are consistent with an ordered, civil society in which individuals are permitted the greatest latitude to engage in commercial activity with whomever they choose."""

And we all know that Corporations have been granted the status of individuals, and all the attendant rights of that status, by the very Government Charles criticizes, but I'm betting that Charles doesn't have a problem with Big Government when it comes to matters such as this.

Charles Kadlec

Morocco, are you saying that you trust the government to tell you with whom you can do business? or where you can shop? or what career or job you must pursue? or what contractor to hire? Or what kind of health insurance you must buy? These are all commercial activities.

BTW, according to the Institute for Justice, one out of every three Americans now requires government approval to do their job.

Charles Kadlec

Sharonsj,

I accept your point that we are not at peace. Change the sentence to the largest increase in domestic government spending both in absolute dollars and relative to the size of the overall economy whether at peace of at war.

This suggests we should at least be questioning the unspoken assumption that an expanding government makes life better for the average American.

ryan

@sharonsj, if the U.S. is a banana reublic, what is our main export?

Morocco Bama

Charles, no, I don't trust the Government, but blaming Government is a canard. Government is a tool used to insulate and protect the vested interests of the Plutocratic Oligarchy. Sure, it sprinkles a few crumbs here and there to keep the peace, but that determination is whimsical and capriciously arbitrary depending on the current mood of the Plutocratic Oligarchy. So, the Government is used by the Plutocratic Oligarchy to insulate and protect itself from the Masses at the Masses' expense, it is a convenient foil in which to blame when there is a bubbling discontent among the Masses thus misdirecting the anger away from its true source, and it serves to enact Plutocratic Oligarchical friendly policies and legislation that further serves the interests of the Elite.

Allowing Corporations to be considered individuals under "the law" is a stark example of what I just mentioned.

I believe your criticism is either disingenuous and agenda driven, or you are naively misdirected by the conservative propaganda ministers, i.e. Beck, Limbaugh et al.

Morocco Bama

@sharonsj, if the U.S. is a banana reublic, what is our main export?

Democracy, of course.

Bob Danio

Democracy? Are you sure.

Morocco Bama

I'm quite sure, Bob. Here's a picture, because pictures are worth at least a thousand words.

Isn't Democracy grand. It sure beats bananas. I still like bananas, though.

http://www.topnews.in/files/US-drone101.jpg

s

Garbage. Our main export is garbage. That's all we have left to offer the rest of the world.

Diane

I thought JOBS were are main export.

Jarik

I know some 7-11 owners in l.a. They tell me that loss due to theft has more than doubled. They describe the thieves as "people who have nothing to eat". They tell stories of someone grabbing a loaf of bread and running out of the store.

Kevin

I unfortunately had to shop at Wal-Mart on New Year's Eve and witnessed six cops escorting a couple out of the store for attempting to flee with a shopping cart full of merchandise. The kicker was that the cart was full of nothing but food. Not high-priced electronics or toys or anything of real value. Food.

Terex

Not square meals. Nutrition standards in jails leave a lot to be desired, particularly when you consider how much it costs to house a prisoner.

endorendil

The people that actually matter are the ones taking decisions. For them, the recovery is real and things are going swell. Few of them are in risk of losing their jobs, and their investments are back on track. They probably diversified in the wake of the crisis, so when things derail again, they'll be safe. In the end, that was the main problem with the crisis: it caught too many with their pants down (i.e. fully invested in the US economy). Now that this oversight has been corrected, the future looks bright.

The main take-away from the past few years is that the US population remains exceedingly docile, servile even, and willing to swallow almost anything. This means that when poverty rises and unemployment becomes a way of life, it actually pushes the employed to work even harder. It's a virtuous circle, where employees become more productive, allowing more layoffs, scaring employees into becoming even more productive. Higher profits, higher shares, a new economic miracle.

Pass the champagne, please.

gruntboss

Really, there has been rise in inflation. Everything is costly and right from petrol to foods to basic need stuff. What can we do?

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