Well, here it is, Wednesday now. Not much worthy of comment from yesterday. I had to get a couple of books back to the library and do a couple of other errands which cut down on my blog and news reading time. We had quite a light and sound show last night with a lot of lightning and thunder. The rain was fairly heavy also. So far the mini-greenhouse and the tents have been very stable. All were in place this morning in spite of the strong winds. Thankfully, the fence does provide a lot of protection. Next Monday and Tuesday we are supposed to get sun and temps in the 70s. I hope so!! (Update: just looked over my seedling tray and got a very pleasant surprise. Five of my poppy starts have broken the surface! I won't have to start any new ones this coming weekend.
The news has covered the McDonald's hiring blitz heavily. I had a couple of other descriptions because I really am sick of the whole thing. I guess 50k jobs is good news for an economy that has lost so many and will be losing even more as various governments try to deal with their economic realities. In Chicago the process had some hitches that caused some bad feelings. Several locations stopped taking applications before many people got to submit theirs. And then called the police to eject both the frustrated job seekers and the press covering the story. I also noticed that the company is trying very hard to break the burger-flipping image of their McJobs. As usual, they concentrate on the people who started as crew and are now owners of their own franchises. Nice, but...as with Walmart the people that ensure the profits are under compensated. I noticed that the pay the local reporter cited for managers and assistant managers was not much more than my late, ex-husband made as an assistant manager of a sporting goods store 30 years ago. And then I read this in Huffington Post--is it any wonder I really don't think much of our economic system?
Another story I have followed with a bit of skeptical amusement is the S&P/U.S. credit rating story. Monday, as you may remember, Standard and Poor's affirmed the AAA rating but downgraded their outlook on the U.S. from stable to negative. Some of the talking heads emphasized the affirmation while dismissing the downgrade. Most simply say they see no way the U.S. would default and dismiss any disapproval from the international credit markets because 'they have no other safe investment avenues.' I take those comments with a grain of salt--there is always a way and other safe investments can always be found. Other pundits consider the S&P move a 'wake up call' for our politicians that they had better get off their butts and do something about the debt (specifically, raise the debt ceiling and then get busy reducing it). Most of these 'experts' think both of these will happen because nobody wants the consequences of failing to address the 'debt problem.' Well, we have a bunch of ideologues in Congress and they might just decide that default would be the better route--no matter who gets hurt. This Huffington Post story simply strengthens my skepticism as does this piece from Robert Reich. However, S&P made another argument that hasn't shown up in the mainstream arguments on this matter presented here. This one, I think, has more teeth to it. We still have a financial system dominated by 'too big to fail' institutions. We still have a mortgage mess that is no where near resolved and won't be for a long time. The math here is frightening. And Yves Smith at Naked Capitalist picked up on this story and has a couple of other good points on the matter.
Chris Martenson has another dismal assessment of the status of the U.S. economy and its prospects.
Chris Martenson also has a piece which ties into the tax piece I had yesterday, Lois. The charge that almost 50% of taxpayers actually pay no taxes isn't exactly a lie--it depends on which taxes one is talking about. Most non-income taxes are regressive and the lower income brackets pay more of those than the rich. On Federal income taxes, it is possible for a wage earner to earn too little to have taxes assessed. I have done that twice--thanks to very low income and qualifying for the earned income tax credit. What really burns me is how someone like John Paulson makes multi-billions but pays no income tax because he is a hedge fund manager who can leave the profits in the fund indefinitely deferring the taxes. The article is a bit long but it is very informative.
I am sure this will be appealed but it is nice to see a successful prosecution of someone in the mortgage fraud mess. I wonder if any of my favorite financial bloggers have comments on the case.
I think this story can be filed under the 'unintended consequences of advanced technology' file.
Here is a container gardener who thinks like I do. I think she has a more extensive garden but we handle the slugs the same way. Last year I bought an 18 pack of Sam Adams Summer Ale for me and the cheap stuff (I won't name the brand) for the slugs. Worked like a charm.