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It's About OUR Economy Stupid!

posted 9/5/2008 2:35:25 PM |
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tagged: commentary, economy
  swyeter

It is my custom to watch the news on several different network news channels each day. In recent years though I have found it ironic as to why they call it “news” and not “political report” because that is what it seems to have become. Rather than just give us the news today it seems they have to analyze and interpret it so we poor dumb viewers can understand. That is why I generally prefer the British report on the American news because they just lay it out there without trying to influence how I am to believe the why, what, how, etc that happened or is happening.

This morning I watched a US network report that stated we were on the verge of a recession because we lost 84,000 jobs last month pushing the jobless rate to a 5 year high 6.1%. About 30 minutes later I watched another news network report the same figures but state that though individuals would try and politicize the numbers as recessionary they really weren’t that bad when compared to some of the major European countries and Japan. They indicated that our economy was still strong on the world economy and those nations like China that had been running stronger was starting to level off.

My first reaction was, “What the hey does the price of tea in China have to do with what it costs me here?” Or for those who cannot interpret that comment or are accustomed to having a “news caster” (AKA political analyst) translate for them my first reaction was, “What the hell does recession, unemployment or economy in other countries have to do with it here?” And yes, before anyone tries to explain the new “Global Economy” concepts to me I know and am familiar with them.

I realize that ours is not the worst economy; give me a break, why else would people come from countries (many illegally) to seek work in places like southern Louisiana and Mississippi. You think it may be because they can get a free bus ride to another state whenever a hurricane comes into the area? (For anyone not familiar with me or how I sometimes write this paragraph’s only intent is to interject some sarcastic levity)

But I digress so let me get to the point I am really seeking.

In the past when major manufactories in my area, like Fruit of the Loom or Proctor and Gamble, closed their factory those not old enough to retire were able to find similar pay and benefits in another company. Or when the Ford plant downsized it usually used early retirement to reduce the number of employees but their production remained fairly stable. Recently the Ford plant cut production and it seems that has rippled out to other nearby factories, communities and businesses who are now laying off personnel. I know several individuals who have lost their job lately and they are having difficulty finding another; or one that has any benefits or the pays half what they made before.

Now I believe this is not a local phenomenon and was curious as to how is the economy and job, or jobless, market in your area.

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Comments:

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40DWM

Sep 5 @ 3:34PM  
Blogs like this, let me remember the Presidential Debates with Bill Clinton,
George H.W. Bush, and Ross Perot.
I'm sure nobody but me remembers Perot saying something ( in a nasalated voice ) something like this:
" Now....if you vote for either one of these other jokers...you're gonna hear
a giant sucking sound..."
If you only knew what 'our' one world economy, or NAFTA has really done
to the American workplace. Big Labor voted for the Clintons, and Big
Business votes for the Bushes.
I vote for Perot or Libertarian.
If you went for either BIG party....Kiss My Arse for your troubles.
The Dems got control of Congress in '06, can't blame it all on Bush.
(although that's what Pelosi says)
GryGoast

Sep 5 @ 4:12PM  

I'm just glad we don't get all the Government we pay for!
Pornosaurus

Sep 5 @ 4:45PM  
I think the late George Carlin might say it best to the extent that the media are just pro bono employees of the Department of Defense.
Right on, GryGoast. Fix the figures however some people like, but the reality is we are in a depression. I'm in Charleston, and at least there still are jobs here for the moment. By the way, the weather isn't bad at the moment. If you want change, go after the owners, executives, and others of big business. Give them fair criminal trials. Seize and redistribute the assests under the supervision of people that know how to operate the markets effectively. Our energy policies are killing, "We, the People." ...I guess I'm just bitchy
wtxman

Sep 5 @ 4:51PM  
I am fine with however the economy is going because I finally got out of debt and it makes a big difference; no more credit cards,no more financing anything, I pay cash for everything.

If you really wanted to see a "ripple" effect on the economy,do as I and many others have done....Get out of Debt!!!

slohand_47

Sep 5 @ 5:01PM  
I wonder how many thousands of our neighbors to the south have swarmed across the border ILLEGALLY in just the last 5 years......and I wonder what the unemployment rate would be if even half of them had been turned back..........
soft_touch938

Sep 5 @ 5:30PM  
Where I live, our main industry is luxury motor homes and boats, also pre-fab homes. With the cost of gas, fuel and the economy choking the life out of us...need I say more? So many plants in my area are vehicle or pleasure craft related and people are hurting here. Permanent layoffs, cut wages, very short work weeks.

Good blog swyeter...kudo and a
swyeter

Sep 5 @ 6:31PM  
40DWM – I remember those debates well and what Ross said; it just goes to show that Ross was a prophet. We might have survived if it was only NAFTA but with off shore, out sourcing, moving to plants that had benefits and middle class wages to China, Taiwan, India, etc has been too much of a crippler. You are right that both parties have liability I am just not sure who has what percentage of the blame.

GryGoast – We couldn’t afford it.

Pornosaurus – You are right in that they “fudge” the figures. I recently saw a report that showed if the inflation figures were calculated the same manner today as they were during the Carter administration that inflation would be over 11%. I do not think we are on the verge of a recession, I believe we have already entered one. But I am not for taking away and redistributing assets because that is communism. And as for “Our energy policies are killing”; WHAT ENERGY POLICIES?
swyeter

Sep 5 @ 6:32PM  
Wtxman – Except for a home I never got myself into debt. I do have one credit card that I charge everything to; groceries, medicine, gas, etc and write one check to “pay in full” at the end of the month. I have never paid a single cent in interest on it. Plus I get a 5% rebate on gas (that’s per dollar, not gallon) and a 1.25% on all other purchases. Last month I had a $43.32 rebate or savings if I had paid cash or wrote checks. While getting out of debt is part of the solution it still does not help if you lose or do not have a job to continue to exist.

Slohand – Actually the unemployment is a lot higher than 6.1%; how much I am not sure. The unemployment figure come from those individuals drawing unemployment benefits and does not include those whose benefits have run out and still have not found other employment. Each year the KY State Fair tries to hire individuals to pick up trash and empty trash containers. In the past they have never had enough applicants to fill the number of slots available. This year they had more applicants the first hour than was required. A small plant locally announced it was going to expand and would be adding 56 employees and the next day over 1,100 showed up asking for applications. That does not happen if the economy is flourishing.

Softy – There are several areas in the country that does specialize in an industry. I can imagine how it does impact when the bottom falls out and no one is purchasing the product. If everyone is laying off you are either left without or trying to figure out where to move.
rescueremedy

Sep 5 @ 6:33PM  
As of today 600 people lose there job in a paper mill here in Wisconsin .....and you know what they won`t sell or run it anymore . They have 3 buyers .....but because they don`t want the competition they refuse to sell . So, the people pay the price for this .I`m laid off right now and cannot find a job . I`ve looked .


Today i called a number for a factory job from a temp service .... I asked her what they pay was ....$ 6.50 ....i said pardon me ....can you say that again ....She did ...i laughed ....i told her i have 13 yrs experience in the factory can do most anything . She told me you have to start at the bottom and work up to better pay .... i laughed at her .....She didn`t get warm and fuzzy w/ me . I told her i could work at Mcdonalds for more money and get fed .....She hung up on me . I want to know how someone w/ a family can support themselves on $6.50 an hour ???.....plus pay insurance ,gas ,and food ???? I`m sorry , I`m getting very upset by the way the economy is ......and the goverment is acting like ....WTF are you talking about ......We still have jobs .....All I can say is WAKE THE FUCK UP !! Sorry , Swyeter ....I`m ranting ....talked to a friend she is dental hygentist she cannot find a job .....another friend assembly work for Johnsonville Brats etc ...She works one day a week if lucky .Kohler company ...has been laying off for a year now pretty steady .....I could keep going on and on companies up here laying off and they will not be hiring them back anytime soon . You decide what they economy is ......I`d say close to depression ,but you can give it a fancy name . JMHO
lynxkat

Sep 5 @ 6:34PM  
Glad to see this blog! Here in Canton, Ohio, there's been a big flushing sound in the local economy since . . . oh . . . 1976 or so. We're past recession here. Recession came about 20 years ago. Maybe that's why we're a 'bellweather' area for the elections - what happens here eventually happens in your area.

Big question that is never answered: how do you maintain an economy that is fueled by the nation's consumers when those consumers' paychecks keep getting smaller and the inflation rate (the real one, including minor trivia like gas and groceries) keeps spiralling out of control? Answer? YOU DON'T.

Tax relief for the wealthy doesn't help. Those are the folks who send jobs overseas. Tax breaks for businesses don't help either - same reason. Vote third party (Libertarian, etc.)? I'm all for it! The more votes that go to parties beyond the Republicrats (Republicans and Democrats), the more money has to go in the same direction. Spread the wealth (or the poverty)! We're getting creamed here!
swyeter

Sep 5 @ 6:57PM  
RR – Seems I touched a nerve with you on this one but glad I could give you a place to rant. Sorry to hear about your and your friends’ job situation. My father and grandfather lived thru the depression and I listened to the tales they told. In a sense there is one similarity today and that is if you do not have debt and do have cash you can find some great deals. But if you are being evicted from your home and have no job you are screwed.
swyeter

Sep 5 @ 7:02PM  
Lynxkat – You have brought up a question that I have often wondered myself. When all the middle class jobs have been moved elsewhere where do the American businesses expect to sell their product for the high profit margins they have become accustomed to?
sugarnspice005

Sep 5 @ 7:03PM  
As I've said before, Michigan has relied way too much on the auto industry...and now we're hurting like hell here. I've got a sister who got a bachelor's degree in '95 in Graphic Design...she hasn't been able to find a job here in that field...So..she's back in school going for a Master's in Public Administration.

In the Saginaw area...unless you have a degree AND experience in law, medicine, you're basically left with customer service jobs. Management and higher jobs...for the most part is based on who you know around here.
swyeter

Sep 5 @ 7:13PM  
S&S – You are correct about Michigan relying too much on the auto industry; sadly those jobs lost as a result of them being moved elsewhere are not going to come back. Even if they do they will not be as lucrative as before. It is getting so that in many regions you have to have a bachelor's degree to work at McDonalds. Then again it seems all their employees are manager trainees.
Sunshine79

Sep 5 @ 8:49PM  
Lot's of layoffs here....I'm lucky I still have my job!
dani998

Sep 5 @ 9:39PM  
I feel very lucky to have my job. Lots of people may bitch about the company I work for, but they have supported my family for 12 years. Yes, I work for Walmart. They have changed alot in the years I have worked for them. Remember when the slogans were "American Made".. this many things are made in America. Now it is just low prices or unbeatable.. (they just changed it again.. lol)

It is kind of sad, that the only jobs that will be open are the ones at Walmart, McDonald s, etc..

but that is JMHO
swyeter

Sep 5 @ 11:42PM  
Sunshine from a few of the comments you do need to count yourself thankful.
swyeter

Sep 5 @ 11:43PM  
dani998 - What I find depressing is that previously each generation saw hope and opportunity for their children to do better than their parents but if we don't start getting an influx of middle class jobs from somewhere that is going to change fast. In fact I see more and more 25-35 yo moving back in with their parents.
casuallylooking

Sep 6 @ 6:36AM  
they really weren’t that bad when compared to some of the major European countries and Japan.
Isn't it funny how things can always be looked at from a comparison level when someone wants to make it sound better than it actually is.....
Mr. Jones you are dying and only have 2 weeks to live..but it could be worse, you could be Mr Smith who only has 10 days to live.
Dead is dead! Period!

We are broke and in a recession regardless of what others are going through!! People here can not afford to pay their bills or feed their families.Not that we are necessarily selfish but that's what WE are concerned about, OUR families.

Unemployment rates are not high enough to be considered a recession...Did they ever stop to think that maybe because so many people have maxed out on their unemployment and not being counted? Or that so many familles have two parents working at least one minimum rate job each so that they can survive?
Of course the politians who are sitting on their butts in a cushy job somewhere are not going to see this..and if they do, they aren't going to admit to it. It doesn't affect them directly.

Truthfully, thinking of my daughter and grandchildrens futures scares the hell out of me.. and I'm sure I'm not the only one..

BTW, the job market here in Ohio, sucks.
swyeter

Sep 6 @ 2:42PM  
CL you are so correct. I just saw another clip that talked about how there were more individuals working part-time jobs than ever before; many of them working two or more to make ends meet.

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It's About OUR Economy Stupid!