Wednesday, January 12, 2011

State of the Future (my take)

Looking into the future is a difficult thing when you're gazing in the rear view mirror to do it. We've come a long way since the financial melt down but there are so many left moaning in the ditch by the side of the road wondering if they'll ever be able to get back on the bus. Companies that survived actually did quite well. They trimmed staffs, cut back on inventories and equipment and made due with much less. Not to mention help from the government. Profit margins were increased. But this was all at the expense of about 15 million workers who are still wondering who sucker punched them and stole most of their retirement and home equity. From what the smexperts are saying many of the jobs that went away will never come back. Business is still leery of adding more personnel and why shouldn't they be? They're still pulling in profits without the extra luggage of adding to the payroll. Couple that with the fact that many of the workers were replaced with younger cheaper ones. Why hire a fifty something when you can get two twenty somethings at less than half the cost?
Where is this all headed one might wonder? To a new lower class of people would be my guess. But unlike those of any other era these will be well educated with some assets. The question will be then will they be able to hang on until it's time to retire? Will they burn through what's left of their nest egg or have even that snatched from their hands from rising costs and a dim future? No they wouldn't burn through it but they would watch it slowly melt away like a faded dream. It's happening now. You can't sell your home if you're underwater in the loan. Two choices there. Either continue paying on it or let the bank have it. To continue paying may result in having nothing in the end as retirement funds are cashed out for expenses. Or let it go, cash out the retirement to use for a roof over your head. Some are already beyond that point now.
The new powers that be would love nothing more than slashing spending. Okay what if they do? Where will that get us? You throw yet more people out of work and where exactly would they find jobs with an unemployment rate at near 10%? And with thousands more hitting the unemployment lines you cut that much more demand in the economy for goods and services. People can only survive on tuna and mac and cheese for so long. And that goes hand in hand with the issue of health care but as we know those at the top don't want us having any. What they fail to realize is that they'll land up paying for it one way or another. They could do it the cheap way by having everybody covered but they'd rather let an emergency room handle it and have the cost come back at them with higher medical bills and premiums later. Penny wise and pound foolish I believe is the expression.
So what does this year hold? I'm expecting higher prices in gas at least in the short term. Higher prices for food (remember the new boys in town would love nothing more than to eliminate farm subcities). A temporary increase in raw materials (Australia mines over a third of the coke - coal for making steel and nothing is moving there at the moment). Then I'm sure there are other natural disasters we haven't seen yet as the year unfolds. I'd also expect more industrial accidents as the profit mongers have not yet learned that it's still cheaper in the long run to do it right the first time.
And one last item of note, the federal government has for years been passing the buck to states with unfunded mandates and the like. Now that the states shoulder the burden they are passing that on to the counties and it's trickling down to the cities. With nowhere left to cut we're seeing police and fire get hit. Maybe it is time to go out and buy a handgun or rifle and a good fire extinguisher as well.


Randal Graves said...

I always get a free chuckle when some blockhead pundit goes on about 'things getting better.' Sure they will, for rich folks. It's moot whether shenanigans are planned or not, since fuckers who write the laws write them at the behest of their corporate puppetmasters, once something's taken away from us shlubs, we ain't getting it back.

Which if Cleveland sports teams were winning, I could live better with the expected expansion of fuckery. When even the spectacle fails to please, 'tis bleak.

an average patriot said...

It all boils down to more Tucson's!

BBC said...

farm subcities

What is a subcitie?

Maybe it's a balance thing, sure, folks can strike for higher wages but that just drives up the price of everything. After a while a carpenter would be making $140.00 an hour but be no better off than if he was making ten dollars an hour in earlier days.

Back in the 60's wages for many union jobs were in the five to ten dollar range.

Oh, whatever, I just deal with it all and continue to do okay even though my money doesn't go as far.

I think a lot of the food prices stay very reasonable but meat sure seems to be getting expensive, what's with 3 dollar a pound hamburger?

We eat a lot of cheap chicken.

BBC said...

Fed survey: US economy ends 2010 on strong note

Huh? Lies to give everyone hope is what it looks like to me. In the bank this morning a man was telling a teller that his company has had to let four more staff go.

The business is a hardware/lumber store.

Anonymous said...

What is a subcitie?

It's a misspelled 'subsidy' I believe.

As usual Demeur, you've hit the nail on the head.

BBC said...

It's a misspelled 'subsidy' I believe.

Well, Harry, I knew that, I was just yanking his chain.

Demeur said...

Yeah Billy back in the 60s minimum wage was what $1.25 and gas was 50 cent a gallon. So what? Our income has gone down by $2000 just in the last ten years. If minimum wage had stayed pace with inflation it should be nearly $20 an hour.

Stupid spell check doesn't know any bedder. :P

S.W. Anderson said...

What an arresting image at the top of the post.

What's in store for most Americans, barring some major miracle, is a long, hard general decline in the standard of living. All the while, the ranks of the rich and super rich expand somewhat as the percentage of the country's wealth they own goes up and up and up.

Watch for the fan to get really dirty when people in professional fields that require 17-20 years of education suffer serious declines in real income, even though they're trying to keep up by working longer and harder. Their problem? People's inability to pay higher and higher prices for their services, because they don't have decent-paying jobs, or don't have a job at all.

If things keep going this way, look for some kind of political rupture. Past some point of repeatedly being thrown off the merry-go-round because of recessions, economic busts, outsourcing and off shoring; past some point of never being able to get and stay ahead; past some point of seeing schools and infrastructure in decline and decay; past some point of seeing the wealthy few always doing better while more and more people are treading water or doing worse, people will use the real power they have — their numbers — to reshuffle the deck and create another new deal.

It's that or, as happened over and over in Latin America, you'll have a series of violent revolutions.

To paraphrase Justice Louis Brandeis, you can have democracy or you can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but you can't have both.

Tim said...

I've ordered a Glock with the inscription.."You Lie". they are selling like guns...

BBC said...

and a good fire extinguisher as well.

Also, I keep three of those pump up garden spray jugs here full of water, they come in pretty darn handy. They'll put out a small fire that is just getting started, without making a big mess.

Let's see, 1967, I was making 4 to 5 bucks an hour, gas wasn't 50 cents a gallon but 25 to 35 cents a gallon. I don't recall what we paid for rent.

In 1964 I did pay 50 cents a gallon for gas, in Alaska.

In recent years just before retiring my income was going south, but like I said, I saw this mess coming and got ready for it.

If I wasn't retired and still had to work could I get by on a five dollar an hour wage? Just barley, but it is over eight bucks an hour here, piece of cake.

Most of these monkeys just don't spend their money right.

Demeur said...

Got news for you Billy on 8 bucks an hour you couldn't afford rent much less anything else. That's why when foreigners move here they have to cram together. Because minimum wage won't even support one person let alone two. And now there aren't even many minimum wage jobs.

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