Many of the jobless were discontinued, not downsized.
Box Score: As of June 30th, over 15 million would-be homeowners have negative equity in their dream houses. One out of three mortgaged pieces of the American Dream has turned sour. Another 2.5 million folks are at the break-even brink, so round it off and say 40% of homeowners have been sucker-punched. Tell me about the bonus room again...
The Power of the Press : The government's outpouring of funds – the bailouts, the stimuli, the cash for this and that – have had an effect – it's driven up the stock market. But it has not cured the banks' problems, nor found a way for the US to prosper without continuous debt, nor any of the other problems. But printing money does have its uses.
Better Luck Next Time: The Senate will put off legislation to curb CO2 emissions for at least another year and concentrate on soliciting money from polluters.
Lost in Translation: The Chinese government announced it would support equity market stability, so the Chinese market index has promptly fallen 6%. Chinese investors don't seem quite as gullible as Americans.
Times, Sign Of: T-Mobile will charge you $1.50 extra if you want a paper phone bill.
Buddy, can you spare a dime?: The previous depression gave rise to long lines at soup kitchens, men selling apples on street corners, mass migrations in search of better lives. Today's desperate are not as visible; people keep living in houses they are no longer paying on and no longer own., 11% are drawing food stamps, unemployment payments last for 18 months.
Hidden In Plain Sight: The worst economic downturn in 75 years results in the price of crude oil settling in the $60 -$70 range due to a collapse in demand. Where do you think the price will be if there's a recovery?
Half Right: To the extent that this collapse was caused by a credit bubble (and only secondarily by the real estate bubble and sub-prime mortgages) nothing has yet been done to solve the problem. To the extent the credit bubble was inflated on the back of magic formulas concocted by 'quants', the problem has gone unspoken.
Envy: I wish I'd thought to compare mobile phone service and health care...
My Point, Exactly: The American economy has been based on advances in technology that have led to advances in production, and thus profits. This seems destined to continue. The genius of America was in an acceptable, if not equitable, apportioning of the profits of this expanded production between the workers and the owners. This has ceased. The problem now is the growing percentage of the working-age population that have no skills needed in the economy. There will be a growing gulf between the winners and the disenfranchised, and to date the rich seem disinclined to share with what is becoming a permanent under-class. Using taxes to support the socially unneeded brings resentments - witness California – that make this an unlikely solution. Other, more violent solutions will eventually arise if a way to peaceably bridge the growing gap is not found.
The Big Tent: The nine largest banks drew in $173 billion in TARP funds, had $17 billion in earnings, lost $98 billion, and gave out $33 billion in bonuses. Guess where the bonus money came from?
Relax: Ponzi scheme! Ponzi scheme! God, if there's a meme that won't die, it is that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. The CBO reports that Social Seurity will be fully funded through 2043 with absolutely no changes, while the Social Security Trustees conservatively state the program is sound until 2037. A lot better than Madoff was doing.
Help Wanted, Not: Perhaps the saddest “truth” on the job front is that companies will not be rushing to rehire the vanquished, because most firms have just taken the “fat off the top.”
Porn O'Graph: Rich man, poor man... and soon, beggar man, thief?