Friday, June 4, 2010

Going the way of the Brown Pelican

The May jobs numbers are out and they weren’t good. If you take out the Census jobs, only 41,000 jobs were created and that’s 100,000 short of the population growth each month. The average length of time on unemployment increased by a 1 ½ weeks in May to 34 ½ weeks. Something else the “they should just get a job” folks won’t tell you is that fully a third of the unemployed don’t get any benefits at all. For seven million Americans their only source of income is food stamps. “well, maybe if they were staving they would work”

The stimulus money is running out and already things are starting to turn south. Retail sales are down and home prices are beginning to fall again. Why is the economy not recovering? Too little stimulus is one reason as states and local governments are forced to cut jobs due to falling revenue and this puts still more pressure on the local job markets.

The biggest reason is the willful activity of the biggest corporations. It’s no coincidence that the layoffs really picked up steam after the ‘08 elections were over and the only thing slowing down the outsourcing is that China isn’t granting new factory permits. These same companies are pushing down wages by hiring temps and forcing wage concessions. Hours worked are up but even at time and a half workers aren’t paid a living wage.

With the two tier wage systems agreed to by unions to avoid their own extinction, a large portion of US workers can afford little more than a subsistence lifestyle. They build cars they can never hope to afford much like the Mexican labor that are now building the new appliances they can’t afford either. The Americans or the Mexicans, neither can afford them.

While this is tragically unfair this is not the really bad part of this. A modern economy cannot exist where the workers can’t afford anything more than food and a cot. People that are still getting union scale are increasingly being forced out and every day we get closer to the tipping point where the economy goes into freefall. That was why the DOW dropped more than 3% today, not because they care about the unemployed. The don’t care anymore than BP cares about pelicans. (BP, Beyond Pelicans) Soon Louisiana will need a new state bird, how about the Corporate Vulture? Once confined to a small breeding grounds on lower Manhattan Island after being nearly hunted to extinction during the New Deal, its range has expanded to cover nearly the entire planet. A real success story, unlike the hapless Brown Pelican that will soon exist only in zoos. Hmmm, zoos have cages with bars… there’s an idea there somewhere…


Anonymous said...

How do we handle the freefall? Cash? Canned food? What could happen? When will we know its arrived .....?

Can you share your background Prairie 2 or as Malloy often leaks... "Bruce"?

Thanks so much for your enlightening although somewhat scary, information : )

prairie2 said...

Preparation for surviving a crash depends on how bad it really gets. In your own life, it depends on if you have assets to preserve. You have to decide what you are willing to prepare for. There are plenty of books on surviving a whole spectrum of events. There are formally middle class who have been unemployed for years already so your own decline doesn't have to be sudden. You'll know when the double dip comes, it's possible Obama can deal with it. I'll feel more comfortable about our chances if the Republicans can be kept from regaining power with the elections but that isn't to say we would be out of the woods.

dogface said...

I heard about you on Mike Malloy's radio show. You have great insite and the ability to communicate it. I have sent this to my friends who do NOT get it.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for this alternative news source.
Sam Chianello

Anonymous said...

Thanks Prairie 2 for all your excellent commentary. Always enjoy hearing your pieces on the Mike Malloy show.