Archive for the ‘Hurricane Sandy’ Category
U.S. holiday sales growth slowed by more than half this year after gridlock in Washington soured consumers’ moods and Hurricane Sandy disrupted shopping, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse said.
Retail sales grew by 0.7 percent from Oct. 28 through Dec. 24, the Purchase, New York, research firm said today, without providing a dollar figure in the billions. Sales grew at a 2 percent pace in the same period a year ago. SpendingPulse tracks total U.S. sales at stores and online via all payment forms.
Give me a break. I’ve been watching the data all season and saying that I didn’t buy the “strong” or even “reasonably strong” predictions. This is actually a net-negative report when you include price changes; the data reported is not inflation-adjusted.
One of the amusing parts of this report is that it’s real-time data from retailer card-processing terminals. This contrasts with the government “personal income and spending” numbers, along with the retail sales “reports” from various self-interested groups like the National Retail Federation, which are estimates.
Those numbers showed material growth.
The real world says they lied.
Don’t believe the folks like the NRF and other folks who refuse to cite their sources and claim to run “surveys.” This is the real deal as it’s off real data coming from real check stands.
It was Grinchmas.
This past week, the east coast of the US was hit by devastation and destruction… and it got hit by a hurricane too. The real damage was caused by the government response (big surprise,) the lack of preparedness of the people living there (even bigger surprise,) and the prohibition of those willing to help from actually providing that help (I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.)
In typical socialist fashion, the government has flexed its muscles to enforce the price gouging laws. What the economic illiterates do not understand is that ”price fixing” makes the shortages worse than what they would have been without the intervention. Because of the natural disaster, many items become scarce. The pricing mechanism is the signal to move resources from one area to another. In order to get these resources moved to where they need to be, the price must increase. A full explanation is given here.
Price gouging does provide a positive social function. It limits the ability of the early shoppers to purchase all of the necessary supplies before others can get there. This would be a good example of rationing. This actually serves to prevent shortages! But the socialists in government believe it is better that people go completely without or with less, rather than somebody put forth extra work and turn an unusually large profit. Work and profit are not meant to go together. To those that defied the rules and brought supplies in… thank you for your service.
Because of the price controls, many items are now in short supply. The government, in its egalitarian wisdom, has now declared that items MUST be rationed. No matter what, you can only get a certain amount. To prove how economically illiterate these politicians are, all they would need to do is look back in history to the wage and price controls under Nixon or during World War II. They could also look to the entire history of the Soviet Union.
Of course, many of these problems could have been prevented had people been better prepared. At my local WalMart, bottled water is under $1 per gallon. Canned goods and instant soups/meals are relatively inexpensive. One of the major problems faced in this crisis is that without electricity, people were not able to use their credit cards and EBT (food stamp) cards. The fuel problem could be easily solved by purchasing a few gas cans, filling them up and putting them in a storage area. In 6 months, pour that gasoline into the car and refill the cans if you are worried about the gas going bad. If anything has been learned from the responses of different levels of government and their agencies, you MUST be able to depend upon yourself.
During a time of price controls, a woman walked into a butcher shop. She was dismayed
to see the butcher was selling steak for $10 per pound. She asked the butcher if the price
was correct and he said it was. She said, “The government has fixed the price of steak at
$6 per pound and you are charging too much. The guy across the street is selling steak at
$6 per pound.” The butcher replied, “Go buy your steak from the guy across the street
then.” The lady informed him that the guy across the street was sold out of steak. The
butcher replied, “When I am sold out, I charge $6 per pound also.”
Much of this pain could have been avoided had the politicians allowed the market to operate on its own. Let the pricing mechanism work. Don’t try to rewrite the laws of economics. And most important, don’t arrest/kidnap people for helping out those in need. It’s probably not a good idea to turn away people that have come to help, just because they don’t have the proper gang affiliation. here and here.
Lou – Freedom Feens
Hurricane Sandy is another reminder of just how incredibly fragile the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis really is. Many of the hardest hit areas along the Jersey shore and the coast of Long Island have descended into a state of anarchy. More than 7 million people live on Long Island, and millions more live along the Jersey shore and right now they are getting a taste of what life would be like during a total economic meltdown. At the moment, there are still approximately 4.7 million homes and businesses that do not have power. Officials say that some of those homes and businesses may not have their power restored until the weekend of November 10th and 11th. Meanwhile, it is getting very cold at night. This weekend the low temperatures on Long Island are supposed to dip into the upper thirties. There have been reports of people diving into dumpstersbehind supermarkets in a desperate search for food, and there have been other reports of roaming gangs of criminals posing as officials from FEMA or Con Edison and then robbing families at gunpoint once they have gained entrance into their homes. If people will behave like this during a temporary emergency that lasts only a few days, what would they do during a total economic collapse? That is a frightening thing to think about.
Most gas stations along the Jersey shore and on Long Island are either totally out of gasoline or they don’t have any power to operate the gas pumps. It is estimated that more than half of all gas stations in New York City are closed at the moment, and officials say that more than 80 percent of all gas stations in New Jersey are not able to sell gas right now. So needless to say, the lines at the gas stations that remain open are horrific.
It is being reported that some people are waiting in line for hours for gasoline in some areas and that state troopers have actually been deployed at every gas station along the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.
The following is how one New Jersey mayor described the situation…
“Gas lines are stretching for a couple of miles,” said Anthony Ammiano, mayor of Freehold, N.J., who recalled the oil crisis of the 1970s. “It’s like the Jimmy Carter years. It’s a flashback of bad memories.”
There have even been reports of people literally fighting each other over gasoline…
“It’s so crazy. Cars are pulling up and people are fighting each other. There is no gas around here,” said Mena Aziz, who manages a Gulf Express station in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “It’s been so busy.”
According to Breitbart, there have been continuous reports of “fistfights and people bringing guns to gas stations” on Twitter. The following are a couple of examples…
— Camila Xavier (@camilaxavier) November 1, 2012
You know things are bad when you ask the gas station attendent “when do you think you’re going to get more gas?” and he just laughs at you.
— Prede (@predederva) November 1, 2012
Unfortunately, authorities are projecting that the gas shortage may last for another week at least.
How angry and frustrated will people get by that time?
There are vast stretches of the Jersey Shore and the coast of Long Island that will never be the same again. The following is an excerpt from a comment that a reader of mine from Long Island left on one of my recent articles…
I live in Massapequa NY …..No power to 95%. almost every home south of Merrick Road ( 1.5 miles from open water ) has been flooded. No electricity, no supermarkets in immediate area, no gas (approx 80% of gas stations closed on Long Island).
This was not just another storm. It was a life-altering event for millions of people.
Unfortunately, just as we have seen after every other major storm in recent years, looters are taking advantage of the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy.
According to the New York Post, a number of arrests for looting have already been made on Long Island…
In the Rockaways, lowlifes were sneaking into clothing stores and cleaning out pizzerias. Two men and a woman were arrested for robbing a BP gas station on Beach Channel Drive, three men and one woman were cuffed for pillaging a Radio Shack on Beach 88th Street, and two people were arrested for raiding a clothing store near Beach 86th Street, cops said. Stores were emptied along a two-block stretch of Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island. Seven people were busted.
Over on Coney Island, looting appeared to be out of control during the immediate aftermath of the storm…
Thieves broke in to the badly damaged Mega Aid Pharmacy on Mermaid Avenue and reportedly stole more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items, including prescription drugs.
“The water went away and these people started walking down the streets and just robbed stores,” a pharmacy worker told HuffPo’s Andy Campbell.
Manager Stan Gutkin said the major heist essentially “breaks the business.”
Looters reportedly also targeted banks, other shops, and other pharmacies.
And residents are noticing.
“People are turning on each other — they’re attacking each other,” Ocean Towers resident Dena Wells told Campbell.
Amazingly, a number of not-so-smart looters have actually been displaying their looted goods on Twitter. Just check out the shocking photos in this article.
But most people living in the areas that were most affected by Hurricane Sandy are decent people that just want some assistance. One resident of Hoboken, New Jersey became so frustrated that he inflated an air mattress and used it to float down to city hall in an attempt to get some answers…
Nearly 20,000 people have been trapped at home in the New Jersey city of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City, amid accusations that officials were slow to deliver food and water.
One man blew up an air mattress and floated to City Hall, demanding to know why supplies had not reached residents – at least a quarter of homes there are flooded and 90% do not have power.
Just like we saw after Hurricane Katrina, the response by the federal government and by big aid agencies such as the Red Cross has been very slow. In fact, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro has gone so far as to call the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and is urging people that live in his area to quit giving money to them…
“You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here….They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”
If this is how angry and frustrated that people become over a temporary disaster, how angry and frustrated would they get if there was a total economic meltdown that was permanent?
Sadly, the truth is that what we are seeing during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is just a very small preview of what is coming on a national level.
Our economy is a complete and total mess right now, and things are going to get a whole lot worse.
When unemployment starts skyrocketing again and large segments of the population realize that there is no hope for a turnaround, many of them are going to totally give in to despair and become very desperate.
And as we are seeing along the Jersey Shore and on Long Island right now, desperate people do desperate things.
That is why I am constantly pounding on the need to prepare for what is ahead. There are signs of social decay all around us, and most Americans are not equipped to deal with the pressures that come with a major emergency. When things totally fall apart, you don’t want your family to be totally unprepared and surrounded by millions of angry and desperate people.
Hopefully Hurricane Sandy will serve as a wake up call for millions of American families. Time is definitely running out, and we all need to get prepared while we still can.
View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
Aviators of the 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey National Guard, look for displaced residents along the New Jersey coastline Oct. 30, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This is going to have a far-reaching economic impact.