Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Good Morning, All. It has just stopped raining here. We had an early morning storm, but how much good it will do us I don't know. I may have to water my container gardens anyway. This is supposed to clear out and give us a sunny day that will actually exceed normal temps by, maybe, three degrees. We haven't gotten more than tantalizing tastes of real summer so far.

There seems to be a push on to convince us that The Great Recession, as some have taken to calling this economic quagmire, is behind us. CNBC carried Goldman Sachs' pronouncement yesterday and MSNBC had a headline to that effect. I did not read the MSNBC article. I really don't believe it. Do you?

Not everyone, thankfully, is buying that load of crap. See this Wall Street Journal article by Mortimer Zuckerman. Several points are particularly depressing. First, the number of jobs lost over the last six months alone exceed the number of jobs created during the last 9 years. Second, that same job loss exceeds then numbers lost during any previous six month period including the period which included demobilization after WWII. Third, businesses have slashed hours, downgraded full-time employees to part-time, and eliminated entire divisions. That means that when the economy picks up they will bring add hours and restore full time status before they add new workers. In other words, we will have another 'jobless recovery.' This is an interesting, if depressing, read. And it more closely reflects my experience and my gut feelings than the pie-in-the-sky predictions from the economic stratosphere. (Thank you, Greg Freed at A Purging Incandescence for the link and some pithy comments.)

And then there is this bit of less-than-positive news. I had been following this story for the last couple of days, when ever I found any reference to it which hasn't been often. At first I wanted to clarify exactly what CIT Group was, wondering if it was related to CITI Group. Evidently it isn't. What CIT Group does is supply credit to small businesses and risky businesses that cannot get credit from other sources. They are now looking at the possibility of bankruptcy unless some form of bail-out can be arranged. If credit is the life blood of small business and small business is the backbone of the economy, what do you think will happen if the blood stops flowing?

Some time ago, a couple of years at least, Mom and I commented on the up-tick in the number of bank robberies and the probable link, in our minds, to the economy. Now, that was before the 'official' beginning of the Great Recession (December of 2007). Here is another in that continuing saga from the Houston Chronicle. (Thank you, Democratic Underground, for the link.)

Joe Sudbay at Americablog has a few very cogent remarks about the process of health care reform in the wake of the announcement from House Democrats yesterday that they had passed a reform bill and were now waiting for the Senate to come up with its own version so the negotiation game could begin. Obama's intentions to try to create a bi-partisan atmosphere was all well and good. But we have seen what happens when only one side wants to play that game. Republicans, to date, have defined 'compromise' as 'you do what I want or I won't play.' And what they want is the old Bush agenda--war spending, no restraints on any business, and cuts in social programs. If Obama has to get reform relying on Democrats only--I can live with that. But I am getting tired of these blow-hards.


Kay Dennison said...

Not good news. I wish that Congress would stop a minute and consider us ordinary mortals instead of lying to us. I think that would be a nice place to start.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the plug. I know that we're not all standing around twiddling our thumbs, and despite broad political cynicism, it really is a matter of voices that will decide how quickly this recession gets turned around; they turn the screws until they gauge they can't turn them anymore without turning us into guillotining wantons-for-blood, and then they stop and do what's right.