Archive for April 6th, 2011
Do you want to know how to find a job in America today? It’s easy. Just be willing to flip burgers, wait tables or welcome people to Wal-Mart. You must also be willing to work for close to minimum wage with no health benefits. It’s not that complicated. On April 19th, McDonald’s is going to be holding its first “national hiring day” and it will be attempting to fill 50,000 positions. Hundreds of thousands of applicants are expected, so if you are going to apply be ready for some stiff competition. McDonald’s held a similar event last year in its western region and 60,000 people applied for just 13,000 jobs. But if you are one of the lucky ones, you too may soon be flipping burgers for minimum wage. Who said that finding a job was hard and that the U.S. economy doesn’t work anymore? All of us just need to be “flexible” and we all need to be willing to adapt to the “new economic reality”.
Oh, you say that you can’t pay the mortgage and feed your family on what they would pay you at McDonald’s?
You say that you are looking for a “good job”?
Well, that is just too bad.
Good jobs are becoming increasingly scarce. In fact, there are 10% fewer “middle class jobs” in the United States today than there were a decade ago.
The competition for the few “middle class jobs” that are still available has become so intense that you might not want to steer clear. You just can’t afford to be too picky in today’s world.
After all, you don’t want to become one of those poor saps that is unemployed month after month after month. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.
Can you really afford to be out of work for almost a year?
Why not go after the “low hanging fruit”? For a position at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart you will probably only be competing against four or five other people for each job opening. Those odds aren’t that bad.
Things were not always like this in America, you say?
Once upon a time there were actually lots and lots of great jobs?
Well, this is part of the sacrifice that we must make for the emerging global economy. We must allow thousands of our factories to close and millions of our good paying jobs to be shipped overseas. Our politicians have all promised us that globalism will be incredibly good for us in the long run.
So don’t be alarmed when naysayers warn that the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Yes, American workers now must directly compete for jobs with millions of people willing to work for slave labor wages on the other side of the globe. But eventually their wages will come up slightly and our wages will go way down to their level and at that point we will all have equality.
You aren’t against “equality” are you?
Who could be against equality?
This is what globalism is all about – tearing down all the borders and gathering us all into one big, happy “global family”. Right now too many of the good jobs are in America so millions of them have to be shipped out of the country. Also, millions of legal and illegal immigrants must be allowed into the U.S. so that they can compete for American jobs as well.
But won’t that drive wages down?
Of course, but in the end the “global community” will benefit.
What did you think? Did you actually believe that the United States would be able to have a thriving middle class forever?
In the new “global economy“, the wealthy get to exploit slave labor on the other side of the world thus wiping out the American middle class.
Already we are seeing signs of an “economic recovery” with the ultra-rich leading the way. According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.
That is some “change” that Wall Street can believe in!
But what about the rest of us?
All kidding aside, it is absolutely brutal out there right now.
American families just want jobs that will enable them to pay their mortgages, put food on the table and provide a decent standard of living for their families.
Unfortunately, those jobs are disappearing and they are being replaced by low paying service jobs.
According to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries accounted for 40 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months but only 14 percent of the job growth. Lower wage industries accounted for just 23 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months and a whopping 49 percent of the job growth.
So yes, it has become extremely difficult to find a job that pays a decent wage.
In fact, half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.
Could your family survive on $505 a week?
One reader recently left a comment that detailed how this economy has left her without a job, without a home and feeling depressed….
Yup, Im depressed. If I would have known what the WTO protests were about here in Seattle in the 90s, I would have joined in. I knew a lot of folks were very angry, but I wasn’t sure why. I was a busy working mother of a toddler. Now fast forward 10+ years and I haven’t worked in 2 and a half years and only 4 job interviews in that time and 0 job offers. we are going to get paid by Chase to give them our home (gee thanks!) so we can move out… OK now what? things aren’t looking too good. I started a very small business that no where near comes even close to supporting us. So were going to stay in my brother’s house in Texas. and then? who knows. at least I don’t feel alone. there are millions of stories just like mine.
Sadly, there are millions more stories just like this. The U.S. economy has fundamentally changed and it simply does not work like it used to.
Millions of American families are experiencing severe economic pain right now, and millions more will be experiencing it very soon.
In a previous article entitled, “Where Are The Jobs?“, I explained why things are changing for American workers….
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. The American people are still working hard (and in many cases harder than ever) 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. 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 could see “an explosion of social unrest” if high unemployment persists.
Unfortunately, most of our politicians do not have any answers. Bill Clinton greatly accelerated the shipping of our jobs overseas. George W. Bush was a complete and total disaster when it came to the economy. Barack Obama has been continuing most of the economic policies of those that came before him.
Unless we make some fundamental changes, millions of jobs will continue to be lost, the U.S. industrial base will continue to be dismantled, we will continue to go into astounding amounts of debt as a nation and more American families will slip into poverty every single day.
But waiting for Washington D.C. to change is kind of like waiting for hell to freeze over. The Federal Reserve is not going to help us either. In fact, the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.
No, the truth is that the U.S. economy is going to continue to go downhill. All of us need to try to become less dependent on the system, because when it collapses it is going to devastate the lives of tens of millions of American families.
I’ve long said to you as an article of faith that there is no debtors’ prison in the United States. However, I now have to eat my words because of a dangerous new trend where people are being thrown in jail over unpaid credit card debt that they may not even owe.
When you are contacted by a collection agency about a debt that is either not yours; was yours but has been paid off; or is outside the statute of limitations in your state, you cannot ignore that letter or phone call.
The Wall Street Journal reports that more than one-third of U.S. states allow borrowers who can’t pay a debt to be jailed. Capital One is among the companies having people locked up for not being able to pay their credit card.
Again, the laws on this vary by state. Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington State are among the states named in the Journal article where debtors have been locked up.
The scary thing is that this is even happening to people who don’t owe a debt. As the Journal writes, “Arrest warrants generally can be issued if a borrower defies a court order to repay a debt or doesn’t show up in court.”
Meanwhile, The Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida’s courts are being clogged with civil suits against people over debts that again may or may not legitimately be theirs. There’s now a 50-state investigation into so-called robomill operations where collectors auto-sign masses of suspect documentation and then use those documents to bring about the civil suits.
Here’s key advice you need to know to protect yourself:
- If you are either served court papers or contacted by a collector by phone or in writing, you must show up in court (in the first instance) or answer by certified mail return receipt requested (in the second instance.)
- You have 2 basic defenses: Either you know the debt is not yours, in which case you ask them to prove otherwise; or if it is yours and it’s past the statute of limitations, you tell them that it’s no longer legally enforceable in your state.
No quantitative easing for oil – The Federal Reserve can digitally print money into existence but this does not create more oil. Federal Reserve has a comic book section?
The Federal Reserve continues to support a flawed banking system that has ignored the urgent calls for reform in spite of the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression. Bankers and fellow politicians understand that each day that passes without serious reform allows one more day for the painful memories of 2007, 2008 and 2009 to be slowly erased like castles in the sand. It was rather clear who led us into this mess in 2007 and most would agree it was the financial sector and their ill advised reward systems. It was greed run amok yet today you have some politicians trying to argue in favor of the banks that fault is really too hard to ascertain or place on only one group therefore no real changes can take place. At the very least hands off the compensation packages of the top 1 percent in the financial sector that have pilfered the wealth of the nation is their core argument. The Federal Reserve is not a government institution and contrary to public perceptions is mainly designed to protect the banking interests, not the interest of the people. Searching for more data I stumbled on comic books put out by the Fed.
Federal Reserve comics
Source: New York Fed
Interestingly enough we don’t find a mention of the giant banking powers that helped put together this system back in 1913. Largely designed to protect larger banks from competition, the Fed was brought into existence under the guise of nationwide stability. I think people that lived through the Great Depression might argue that the Fed didn’t exactly provide stability back then. And what about our current fiasco? Would the millions of investors that bought junk mortgage backed securities think the Fed help provide stability? If stability was one of the main missions of the Fed it has failed many times throughout history.
Yet I do have to give it to the Fed that they really don’t hide what they are doing:
I know the above isn’t shocking to many readers but ask most Americans and they would be stunned to find out that many banks can create money out of thin air. With a 14% reserve requirement a bank with a $100 deposit would ultimately create $714 worth of “money” throughout the system. This is how the Federal Reserve system largely targets inflation over time. We are seeing more and more pressure on many items including food prices going upwards because a weaker U.S. dollar is chasing items that are largely finding more and more demand.
The Fed has a hard time combating against items like oil where production is based in reality instead of fictional digital programs like quantitative easing that allow the Fed to buy up junk paper in exchange for U.S. Treasuries. In other words our money gets weaker. Yet look at world oil production per day:
People forget that the U.S. is number three in oil production but the big issues we have occur when we look at the consumption side of the equation:
Much of our trade imbalance each month occurs because of this oil consumption. With a rising China and India demand for oil will continue from many of these nations with large populations that demand the same goods we use. No amount of printing money can create more oil reserves. The amount of oil is finite and there is only so much that can be produced per day. What this means is that it is likely the case that we are going to see expensive oil from here on out. We may experience minor corrections but the overall trend is now going to be higher:
The Federal Reserve can control banks and print as much as they like in a world detached from the limits of nature. Yet our oil based economy uses a commodity that is finite in nature and no amount of printing money will create more fossil fuels. The Fed was designed in a time when it was thought that we would never reach a point of running out of any good in the world. It was the perma-growth model. It is no surprise that the housing bubble was born at the hands of Alan Greenspan who created an environment for massive mortgage market speculation that caused the housing market to rally as if it would go on forever like some endless well. The belief was that unlimited demand would somehow keep housing prices going up. In the end there is a finite limit but not before big banking interests were able to take money out of the system at each step.
The Fed can give us a comic book on how things work but most working and middle class Americans need only look at their paycheck and the cost of daily living to know where things stand. The Fed is debasing the currency to protect banks and transfer wealth from the middle class to the top 1 percent. Not sure if that is covered in the comic book.
Commentary: The Federal Reserve juices speculators
This is part one of a two-part series by David Stockman.
GREENWICH, Conn. (MarketWatch) — Someone has to stop the Federal Reserve before it crushes what remains of America’s Main Street economy.
In the last few weeks alone, it launched two more financial sector pumping operations which will harm the real economy, even as these actions juice Wall Street’s speculative humors.
First, joining the central banking cartels’ market rigging operation in support of the yen, the Fed helped bail-out carry traders from a savage short-covering squeeze. Then, green lighting the big banks for another go-round of the dividend and share-buyback scam, it handsomely rewarded options traders who had been front-running this announcement for weeks.
Indeed, this sort of action is so blatant that the Fed might as well just look for a financial vein in the vicinity of 200 West St., and proceed straight-away to mainline the trading desks located there.
In any event, the yen intervention certainly had nothing to do with the evident distress of the Japanese people. What happened is that one of the potent engines of the global carry-trade — the massive use of the yen as a zero cost funding currency — backfired violently in response to the unexpected disasters in Japan.
Accordingly, this should have been a moment of condign punishment — wiping out years of speculative gains in heavily leveraged commodity and emerging market currency and equity wagers, and putting two-way risk back into the markets for so-called risk assets.
Instead, once again, speculators were reassured that in the global financial casino operated by the world’s central bankers, the house is always there for them—this time with an exchange rate cap on what would otherwise have been a catastrophic surge in their yen funding costs.
Is it any wonder, then, that the global economy is being pummeled by one speculative tsunami after the next? Ever since the latest surge was trigged last summer by the Jackson Hole smoke signals about QE2, the violence of the price action in the risk asset flavor of late — cotton, met coal, sugar, oil, coffee, copper, rice, corn, heating oil and the rest — has been stunning, with moves of 10% a week or more.
In the face of these ripping commodity index gains, the Fed’s argument that surging food costs are due to emerging market demand growth is just plain lame. Was there a worldwide fasting ritual going on during the months just before the August QE2 signals when food prices were much lower? And haven’t the EM economies been growing at their present pace for about the last 15 years now, not just the last seven months?
Similarly, the supply side has had its floods and droughts — like always. But these don’t explain the price action, either. Take Dr. Cooper’s own price chart during the past 12 months: last March the price was $3.60 per pound — after which it plummeted to $2.80 by July, rose to $4.60 by February and revisited $4.10 per pound.
That violent round trip does not chart Mr. Market’s considered assessment of long-term trends in mining capacity or end-use industrial consumption. Instead, it reflects central bank triggered speculative tides which begin on the futures exchanges and ripple out through inventory stocking and de-stocking actions all around the world — even reaching the speculative copper hoards maintained by Chinese pig farmers and the vandals who strip-mine copper from the abandoned tract homes in Phoenix.
The short-covering panic in the yen forex markets following Japan’s intervention, and the subsequent panicked response by the central banks, wasn’t just a low frequency outlier — the equivalent of an 8.9 event on the financial Richter scale. Rather, it is the predictable result of the lunatic ZIRP monetary policy which has been pursued by the Bank of Japan for more than a decade now–and with the Fed, BOE and ECB not far behind.
The government could temporarily tap tens of billions of dollars from two federal employee retirement programs if Congress fails to raise the federal debt ceiling next month, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told lawmakers.
Temporarily? Only if they get their debt ceiling increase. Otherwise….
Geithner said borrowing money from the federal retirement programs and other “extraordinary measures” available to the government would stave off the need to raise the debt ceiling until around July 8. Once those measures are exhausted, the government “will be limited in its ability to make payments across the government,” Geithner said.
In that case, retirees’ pensions could be affected. Adcock said that, if that were to happen, any impact on retirement payouts would be “the least of their problems because we’ll face a worldwide economic collapse.
Again, what do you call it when someone sticks a gun in your face and demands all your money?
Now perhaps you can explain to this intrepid blogger why one person who does it goes to prison, and another is Secretary of the Treasury.
Oh, and while you’re explaining that, make sure you take into account that US Prosecutors claimed that the folks minting “Liberty Dollars” (a private currency) were “economic terrorists” for their attempt to dilute the legitimacy and value of the official US Dollar, while the Treasury, by allowing The Fed to engage in “Quantitative Easing” and issuing 42 cents of every dollar spent in what amount to naked shorts against the currency, which directly decreases the value of the US Currency, is also not in the dock facing federal charges.
The man who couldn’t be bothered to pay his taxes now intends to steal your money if the government cannot continue to deficit spend. Sounds reasonable to me.