Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What the "L"?

The government agency that guarantees the pensions of bankrupt corporations has had its deficit triple to 34 billion in the last 6 months. It still has sufficient assets to cover its activities since the Bush Crime Family’s attempt to invest the trust fund in the Stock Market last year didn’t go through before the crash. But the fund has been maintaining its solvency by paying only pennies on the dollar. The average recipient gets less than $7000 per year and recent victims of pension bankruptcy get even smaller portions of the pensions that they paid for. Only 401k victims are doing worse; when their accounts are used up they won’t even get the pennies on the dollar that a pension pays.

The markets were up early but closed down today on the growing realization that the banks probably won’t raise enough capital to meet the Stress Test standards despite all the happy talk earlier. TV stock market analysts are starting to predict the end of the Bear Rally and are expecting a plunge in share prices. When asked if the market would set new lows they said they were sure it wouldn’t; much like the crew on the Titanic who told the passengers that the lifeboats would come back for them.

In the real economy the Fed has revised its economic outlook sharply downward but reality based economists are still calling the Fed report "too rosy". Despite people being unable to afford new cars, the number of cars being scrapped exceeds the number being sold by almost half again. Normally new car sales far exceed scrappage rates as the population grows. The number of people slipping into homelessness now exceeds the population growth rate. Fewer people are coming from poor third world countries as poverty at home is often better than the American Dream.

Mainstream economists are describing the yet to be realized recovery as an "L" shape instead of the usual "V" shape. The assumption is that once the economy stops going down it won’t come back up at any noticeable rate. It could be a lower case "l" instead of a capital "L" where there is no real bottom for the middle class. Don’t scrap the old family car unless it will bring enough money to buy a camping tent.