April 10, 2010
-- by Dave Johnson
Hey, big NY media is telling us to cheer up, the economy is doing great.
The employment report for March, released a week ago, was a milestone that has been little noted. The household survey, from which the unemployment rate is calculated, showed a gain during the first quarter of this year of 1.1 million jobs, the best performance since the spring of 2005.
Actually, that report showed that the economy still wasn't generating enough jobs to keep up with the number of new people entering the economy, needing jobs. Never mind the millions lost because of Wall Street. Never mind the people working part time because they can't find a good job. Never mind the loss of benefits, pensions and hope.
So here's the deal with news reports like this one. SOME people are doing really well. NY Times reporters are paid in the 6 figures, for example. I read this week that luxury goods are selling really well. The stock market is soaring. And we all know that Wall Street bonuses are the highest ever. So the nice restaurants that NY Times reporters go to are full of people with big salaries, sucked out of the heartland.
Of course, most people still working are are being told to work twice as hard and do it because they are terrified of being laid off or having their wages cut. A huge percentage of homes are "underwater" with the owners owing more than the house is worth. People are over their heads with credit card bills at 30% interest.
About that "owing" part - the people they owe it to are the people in those nice NY restaurants.
Right now hundreds of thousands of people are losing their unemployment checks every week because the legislators in Washington are ... spending their time in those nice restaurants instead of working to get jobs bills passed. They are also losing their health insurance because COBRA subsidies - and COBRA itself - are running out. People who managed to save money are getting almost zero interest, while the banks holding the money are using it to gamble the stock market ever higher.
There is a master class going to nice restaurants, blissfully spending the money sucked from the rest of us, and there is a worker class for whom the noose is just getting tighter.
"Why so glum?" the NY Times reporter asks, over a very nice dinner.
Posted by Dave Johnson at April 10, 2010 9:21 AM
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