Has anyone else notice the play that 'secret' meeting of billionaires has been getting in the media. It was all over the evening news last night, the afternoon business programs on CNBC mentioned it, and MSNBC had a story also. Of course, it was two weeks ago and no one knows what they all discussed. Question: who gives a (insert your favorite pejorative here)? I don't, unless, of course, they wanted to hand me a whole bunch of money. Not likely.
I have also noticed an uptick in the number of stories about bartering. Every time the economy took a down turn there have been a spate of such stories. This one, from the Denver Post, is unusual only in who is doing the bartering. A chiropractor!! In previous recessions I don't remember references to professionals or businesses engaged in bartering. Evidently business to business bartering is also becoming more visible. Another Denver Post story on bartering is here. Perhaps this is a clearer indication of how little money is actually circulating??
Robert Reich has a post today that echos some of my thoughts on our government's efforts to rescue our economy. Given the amount of our money the government has spent on both the auto industry and the finance industry we seem to have gotten very little in return. We haven't saved or created any jobs (except among the bright lads who put us in this mess in the first place) and credit is still frozen (although a few of the big banks appear to have amassed enough capital to try to buy their way out of the TARP). In the end I wonder if it wouldn't have been cheaper, more efficient and, perhaps, less painful (for Main St. anyway) to have let them go under. And the point he makes about the industrial Midwest needing help shifting to newer industries is well made. However, we have needed that for a long time. Ever since the steel industry started its decline.