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Fri Mar 13, 2015, 08:47 AM

“Consumers Aren’t Spending Even In a Booming Job Market”


from Naked Capitalism:


Bloomberg: “Consumers Aren’t Spending Even In a Booming Job Market”
Posted on March 12, 2015 by Yves Smith


I am sure Naked Capitalism readers can clear up what a Bloomberg headline screams is an “American Mystery Story,” that the economy is creating more jobs, yet retail sales have fallen three months in a row, with the latest being a 0.6% decline in February versus an expected increase of 0.2%. The analysts quoted on Bloomberg blamed the terrible February weather and were confident consumer spending would pick up soon.

Of course this article could simply be Dr. Pangloss meets the job market. It somehow appears to elude most commentators that the economy is creating more jawbs than jobs, and that the labor participation rate actually fell from 62.9% to 62.8%. But analysts somehow manage to look past that. From the Bloomberg story:

“The expenditures that add up to gross domestic product are coming in a lot softer than employment,” said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research LLC. “Why would retailers be hiring if sales are falling? Why would they be boosting hours if sales are falling and why would they be paying more?”


The other factor leading to lower spending is that the saving rate is up. Well, why shouldn’t the savings rate rise on a secular basis as the public realizes (if they haven’t already) that social safety nets, and most important of all, Medicare and Social Security, are being hollowed out?

I’m thus mystified by the uniform tone of boosterism in the media about the state of the economy. In New York, where many finance reporters live, things aren’t all that rosy, so it’s hard to attribute it to being biased by local readings. I’ve never seen more vacant stores than now, for instance. Even though that is driven by overly-aggresive rent increases (no joke, rents are being doubled in my ‘hood on Madison and Third Avenues), it still destroys good business and jobs (I’ve kept tabs when I can, and hardly any of the stores that are leaving due to rent increases are relocating). Similarly, salons, an indicator of discretionary spending, are hurting. The man who cuts my hair, who used to run a very successful salon, says he’s had multiple offers from salon owners begging him to take up the balance of their lease. ...................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/bloomberg-consumers-arent-spending-even-booming-job-market.html



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Arrow 70 replies Author Time Post
Reply “Consumers Aren’t Spending Even In a Booming Job Market” (Original post)
marmar Mar 2015 OP
leftofcool Mar 2015 #1
dixiegrrrrl Mar 2015 #16
SheilaT Mar 2015 #33
taught_me_patience Mar 2015 #55
840high Mar 2015 #36
taught_me_patience Mar 2015 #54
dixiegrrrrl Mar 2015 #62
inanna Mar 2015 #65
Drahthaardogs Mar 2015 #58
djean111 Mar 2015 #2
inanna Mar 2015 #39
GreatGazoo Mar 2015 #3
CountAllVotes Mar 2015 #7
SheilaT Mar 2015 #34
CountAllVotes Mar 2015 #42
SheilaT Mar 2015 #44
CountAllVotes Mar 2015 #45
SheilaT Mar 2015 #46
CountAllVotes Mar 2015 #47
SheilaT Mar 2015 #48
CountAllVotes Mar 2015 #59
dixiegrrrrl Mar 2015 #63
SheilaT Mar 2015 #64
tblue37 Mar 2015 #53
riderinthestorm Mar 2015 #12
Doctor_J Mar 2015 #26
daleanime Mar 2015 #28
PowerToThePeople Mar 2015 #50
Doctor_J Mar 2015 #56
PowerToThePeople Mar 2015 #57
Fred Sanders Mar 2015 #4
dixiegrrrrl Mar 2015 #67
KingCharlemagne Mar 2015 #5
Saphire Mar 2015 #8
KingCharlemagne Mar 2015 #20
sendero Mar 2015 #11
CountAllVotes Mar 2015 #14
KingCharlemagne Mar 2015 #18
sendero Mar 2015 #21
840high Mar 2015 #37
Scootaloo Mar 2015 #51
lame54 Mar 2015 #6
Skittles Mar 2015 #32
madokie Mar 2015 #9
ND-Dem Mar 2015 #10
aspirant Mar 2015 #13
Xyzse Mar 2015 #15
Binkie The Clown Mar 2015 #17
daleanime Mar 2015 #30
GummyBearz Mar 2015 #38
hobbit709 Mar 2015 #19
DeSwiss Mar 2015 #22
sendero Mar 2015 #61
mmonk Mar 2015 #23
davidn3600 Mar 2015 #24
Doctor_J Mar 2015 #25
elleng Mar 2015 #27
Tsiyu Mar 2015 #29
HereSince1628 Mar 2015 #31
SheilaT Mar 2015 #35
F4lconF16 Mar 2015 #40
SheilaT Mar 2015 #41
PowerToThePeople Mar 2015 #49
dixiegrrrrl Mar 2015 #66
SheilaT Mar 2015 #68
dixiegrrrrl Mar 2015 #69
SheilaT Mar 2015 #70
Rex Mar 2015 #43
abelenkpe Mar 2015 #52
Savannahmann Mar 2015 #60

Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 08:50 AM

1. Some of us just don't buy shit we don't need!

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Response to leftofcool (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 11:18 AM

16. Some of us can't afford to buy shit we DO need.

Grocery budget has increased 50%.
Utilities across the board have increased.
My doc doubled the cost of office visits, blames it on Obamacare.
The only thing that has decreased lately is gas, which is great if you have a job to get to.

These guys writing for public consumption are either living in a fantasy world or making shit up.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 10:06 PM

33. Your doctor is basically full of horse shit to blame Obamacare, the ACA, if

 

he's raised the cost of office visits. While his costs may well have gone up in many areas (rent, salaries, new equipment) that legitimately require an increase in the cost of office visits, none of those things have anything to do with the ACA.

I've known lots of doctors in my lifetime, relatives and friends, and it's always disheartening to see how entitled the feel to a seven figure income. I've been saying for some years now that medical school should be free (as should all college) because it's genuinely criminal that people get out of medical school with huge debt. Those new doctors feel a lot of pressure to make a lot of money very quickly, and just as quickly start thinking they are entitled to that money.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #33)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 09:38 PM

55. I guarantee you that the ACA has negatively impacted my wife's income

 

would you be happy to work the same and make 10-20% less pay?


...didn't think so...

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 11:11 PM

36. ...^ that

 

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #16)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 09:36 PM

54. Please provide proof your grocery budget has increased 50%

 

What time frame are you talking about? Otherwise, sounds like complete hyperbole.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #54)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 09:42 AM

62. Here is one example:

I think most people here are aware of much higher grocery bills.

Time Frame: I set my budget in 2005 when we bought this house, so I could figure out how much mortgage I wanted.

price of ground beef in 2005: $2.14
in 2014: $4.16
chart here:http://www.statista.com/statistics/236776/retail-price-of-ground-beef-in-the-united-states/

and this, from The Dairy Reporter:
Since mid-2013, US butter prices have skyrocketed, doubling from a low of $1.42 per pound (lb) to a September 2014 high of $2.85 per lb.
(Where I live, butter is often over 3.00 #)

If you prefer plainer language, here is a Slate article. It was written in 2011 and mentions the rise of food prices since just the previous year:
Wheat prices have doubled since last summer. The price of corn has risen about 75 percent since June.
http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2011/02/the_invisible_food_crisis.html

We have had annual increases in electric bill, and in home gas heating bill, and in sewer/water bill.






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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #62)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 11:52 AM

65. Well I can certainly attest to the cost of ground beef

It has doubled where I live and the only time I can afford it is when it is on special.

In fact, it's been the subject of many conversations where I work. To make a meatloaf (which requires at least 2 lbs.) it would cost me almost $14.00 for the beef.

My favourite brand of margarine is Becel - but it has risen to $11.00 + for a large tub, and I now use the store brand non-hydrogenated.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #16)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 10:00 PM

58. No pay raise for me in four years.

Stuff keeps going up. I used to be middle, middle class. Now I am lower middle class. Congress wants to make me working class (even though I am highly technical and earn less than my private sector counterparts) because I am a public servant.

Race to the bottom. There will be consequences if you kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 08:53 AM

2. A lot of the "job boom" jobs are low-paying. Plus rents are up.

 

In addition, IMO and all that, only a fool would assume that any improvement in the economy is either going to stick around, or is really for more than Wall Street. Unless that trickle down bullshit trickles down, of course.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 12:47 AM

39. This!

"McJobs."

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 08:59 AM

3. One factor: the rising cost of healthcare is sucking every dime out of the economy

The US spends about 17% of GDP on healthcare. One economist estimates that when it gets to 20% the economy will collapse since no industrialized country has ever made it above that number.

The cost of healthcare effects insurance rates including liability insurance (car insurance). It also effect municipal tax rates and the access that local governments give taxpayers to use community properties they turn off fountains, swimming pools, close dog parks, etc to avoid liability or because their insurers make them do so in order to get coverage that they can afford.

We are already the sickest nation of the top 16 and it will get worse. We pay more for healthcare than any nation on earth and then 100,000+ American are killed every year by preventable drug interactions -- in other words, the 2nd leading cause of death in the USA is healthcare itself.

http://www.alternet.org/story/147318/100,000_americans_die_each_year_from_prescription_drugs,_while_pharma_companies_get_rich

Add to that 2 million bankruptcies per year cause by healthcare expenses:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100840148#.

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Response to GreatGazoo (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 10:43 AM

7. You are right

Co-payments went up to $100 a pop on some of the RX's necessary around here. They used to be $25-40 and now $100!

If that doesn't bust you when trying to live on $1100.00 a month I don't know what else will.

Throw these high costs in with some of my medical co-pays to doctors now at $200/pop, nothing else will!

This is a major problem for me right now and NO I am not buying anything that I do not absolutely need/require.

Show is up around here, especially with rates pinned at 0%.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #7)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 10:10 PM

34. oh, my! I'm on Medicare, and the three prescriptions I have

 

are free to me by getting a 90-day mail order supply. I realize, of course, that you probably have very different medications, but what I'm paying ought to be the norm.

Oh, and all of my routine office visits are no copay. Again, Medicare. I am very much in favor of Medicare for all. Sure, some of our taxes will go up, but I'd be very happy to pay somewhat higher taxes so that someone like you can have what I've got. I'd also like to see a huge lot less spent on military, but that's another thread, isn't it?

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #34)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 12:52 PM

42. I too am on Medicare

and my supplemental plan is supposed to be a good one. Before Medicare the cost is $500+ at present and it doesn't cover jack sh*t. Pisses me off as they did not even bother to tell me about it!

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #42)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 01:55 PM

44. You might need to revisit what supplemental plans are available to you.

 

I know they're different in different locations. I actually have an Advantage Plan with Humana. They get the $104.50 that I pay to Medicare for my Part B and the prescription drug coverage, and they cover all sorts of things that Medicare itself doesn't provide. I've been very impressed. Yes, mine's a PPO (they have a version available that covers all doctors, but costs an additional sixty or so dollars a month) but my primary care physician was already in their network.

I did have to pay $75 at a recent doctor appointment, as the eye dilation wasn't covered. It's not something they do every year, so next year's eye appointment should not cost me anything.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #44)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 02:35 PM

45. I have no choice

I'm in a Union and they call the shots. With this latest thing, it is literally killing me financially as my husband has an RX that is also $100.00.

I'm sick of all of this sh*t and life in general I will admit.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #45)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 03:39 PM

46. You're on Medicare and your union tells you what supplemental or Advantage plan you can have?

 

I don't think so.

If you're over 65 and still working, and your company employes more than 20 people, then your company health plan pays first, then Medicare. If the company employes fewer than 20 people, Medicare pays first, then your group health.

But if you are actually on Medicare, you are free to choose whatever supplemental or advantage plan you wish, among those offered in your area.

If I misunderstood, and you're not on Medicare, then my apologies.

Oh, and you may already know this (I didn't at first) but you must sign up for and commence payments for Medicare Part B (and pay $104.50/month) before you can get a supplemental or Advantage plan. If you haven't signed up for the Part B yet, because you're still employed and have coverage through work, you might want to check out the supplemental and Advantage Plans available to you, and see if it's feasible to do that. It would probably be a good idea to talk with the Medicare people first, to make sure this is doable for you.

I worked for about 6 months after I turned 65, and although I'd signed up for Medicare Part A, I didn't bother with the Part B until I quit working. I was confused about how Part B worked at first, but once I figured it out, I was okay.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #46)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 04:15 PM

47. Yes they do

I am retired and still pay dues.

They have a list of plans to choose from and there are only 3 of them where I live and the one I have is supposedly the best of the lot.

The employer is a big one with some 35,000 retired members in it.

I've watched it go from $1 co-pays to this $100 a hit thing.

I am permanently disabled so very few choices including doctors!



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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #47)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 04:26 PM

48. Then look into the Advantage and supplemental plans for your part of the world if you are over 65.

 

If you're not, there's probably nothing else available to you other than the ones offered by your union, but you might want to look into coverage under the ACA.

Unfortunately, all health care plans are subject to change, and that's such a large part of what is wrong with our system.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #48)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 07:08 AM

59. I am not over 65

ACA is useless in my situation. That is the reality of it.

I am STUCK!!!

Thanks for nothing but one big PIA Obama!

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #34)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 09:52 AM

63. Why are your office visits no co-pay?

I am on Medicare, have a 146.00 a year deductible, and then a 20% co-pay after that, on outpatient services.

Luckily, my meds are extremely cheap, about 10.00 a month, cause I can use generics.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #63)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 11:07 AM

64. I believe it's because of the ACA, which requires various routine office visits be free.

 

Or maybe it's my fabulous Advantage Plan. At least so far, every office visit I've had has been zero co-pay. And I have no co-pay on my meds either, probably because those are also generic, but it's mainly because I'm getting them via mail-order, 90 supply at a time. All this is covered in the $104.50 that gets sent to Medicare every month. I'm not yet collecting SS, so it's an electronic deduction from my checking account.

Which is why I keep on being so surprised at the reports some people have of such high out-of-pocket costs when on Medicare. But then, there are all sorts of procedures and meds and so on that are more expensive than what I'm dealing with.

A good friend, a woman a bit older than I am, two years ago had a pulmonary embolism. was in ICU for more than a week, the first part of which she was in an induced coma. She recovered completely, after about two weeks altogether in the hospital. She only paid a few hundred dollars out of pocket, and her Advantage plan is also with Humana, but she has an additional monthly fee to be in a plan that allows her to see any doctor she wants. She even had a couple of visits from a home health nurse during her recovery. No charge to her.

I guess I should simply realize that my extraordinarily low out of pocket costs are because I'm so healthy, just an issue with high blood pressure, which I'm not as panicked about as is my doctor.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 09:27 PM

53. Two of my monthly medicines went up over $100 all of a sudden.

Fortunately, though, one of them was Nasonex, and I can replace it with Fluonase, which has just gone to OTC. I wonder why the company that sells Nasonex didn't realize that it would lose customers to Fluonase by jacking up the price right as Fluonase became avalable OTC.

Unfortunately, my other drug that has gone up so high is my blood pressure medicine. It is the only one that works for me, so I can't substitute something else.

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Response to GreatGazoo (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 11:00 AM

12. And student loans nt

 

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Response to GreatGazoo (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 08:47 PM

26. But the ACA is the greatest law ever passed in history!

 

Somehow massive growth in insurance and hospital stock prices is considered great news. Even self identified dems believe the most bizarre shit

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #26)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 08:59 PM

28. It has slowed the rate of increase....

but we knew from the get-go that it went no were near far enough to proper address the problem.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #26)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 06:25 PM

50. Personally

 

The expanded medicaid portion of the ACA has been a great help to me the past couple of years.

That just makes me want to fight harder for universal health care.

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #50)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 09:56 PM

56. That is great for you, but someone is paying for those astronomical profits

 

You realize that profits are money that insurance companies are taking from working people, and NOT giving back in healthcare. It's ridiculous, it's unique to the US, and it's entirely due to the president's sellout to big insurance, pharma, and the hospital lobby. What's more, the ACA has made it almost impossible for us to ever get uhc.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #56)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 09:57 PM

57. I agree with you 100%.

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 09:07 AM

4. Complaining about consumer spending...in a BOOMING job market? Thanks, Obama.

Ex-energy spending, consumer spending is up. Retail sales include gasoline, down 30 to 40 %....thanks, Obama.

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Response to Fred Sanders (Reply #4)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 01:37 PM

67. Occupy agrees, they put this on Twitter:

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 09:35 AM

5. My own personal saga may help shed light on this paradox. After a prolonged bout

 

of unemployment, during which I ran through most of my savings and retirement savings, I finally found work last month . . . at a 30% pay cut. My fixed expenses (mortgage, food, utiities and so on) take up every last cent of what I now make, leaving me little or no money for discretionary puchases and dreading the inevitable car breakdown or medical emergency (when my ACA Bronze plan will require I pay huge deductibles).

While my situtation may be more severe than many people's, I could swear I've read similar tales here of folks like myself finding a job after a lengthy period of unemployment at a severe paycut.

ETA: I would not qualify for my mortgage currently based on what I am now earning. Got my mortgage back in 2009 when the shit had not yet hit the fan for me and my wife.

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 10:50 AM

8. That's my story, too. I'm spending alright,

spending every penny i make just to get by. I've even got a second job to help a little. As dubya would say, lucky me.

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Response to Saphire (Reply #8)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 01:02 PM

20. I'm making ends meet with only one job (at the 30% pay cut), but only barely. If I want to have fun,

 

take vacations, buy goodies, and so on, I too will need to find either a higher-paying job or find a second part-time job.

The solution to this paradox is very simple, athough the political will and vision are largely lacking among the political class: a Guaranteed Annual Income for all citizens and permanent residents by creating a sustained demand would restore a gaping hole in the Social Safety Net that 30 years of Reagan-Bushism has created.

I'm not holding my breath.

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 10:59 AM

11. This is exactly what is happening everywhere...

... the unemployment stats are completely useless. If you lose your $70K a year job and replace it with a $40K job, you are now "employed". If you look for work for years and give up looking you are "not counted".

I like to keep reminding folks of this simple fact. Zero percent interest rates are, for the economy, like a ventilator for the man in the ICU. They are the only thing keeping it/him alive. As long as rates are zero, there is no recovery just like as long as the man is on the ventilator he has not recovered. Period.

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Response to sendero (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 11:16 AM

14. +1,000

So true, all of it!!

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Response to sendero (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 12:57 PM

18. I read somewhere quite awhile ago that 95% of the gains from this so-called

 

'recovery' have accrued to the top 1% of the population (in the form of higher stock prices and reduced interest rates -- making bond prices go higher). Thus, it is safe to say that the American economy can have a 'recovery' of sorts but, if its gains are not widely shared, the economy will still be in something of dead cat-bounce mode.

I don't think the unemployment stats are 'completely useless,' just that they need to be considered along with other metrics like the workforce participation rate which is at the lowest point it has been since that statistic started being kept. There is an incredible amount of slack in the labor force today, between unemployment and underemployment.

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 02:16 PM

21. They are "completely useless"...

... from the standpoint that they are used as a comparison tools from one time to the next. It was less than a decade ago that a 5.x% UE rate was a signal of a generally well-functioning economy. Now, it means nothing.

I understand you think that other factors have to be considered and indeed they do, but when the govt and the MSM talk about UE they conveniently leave out those contexts.

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Response to sendero (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 11:13 PM

37. True.

 

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 06:34 PM

51. Same here

 

I lost my job back in 2013, blew through my skinny-ass savings while searching. I picked up a job (still have it) at 3/4 the pay and 3/4 the hours. Everything i make goes into expenses. I am literally hopping paycheck to paycheck, with the occasional don't-have-a-damn-choice overdraft charge swallowing whatever spare cents and dollars i can have left.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 09:40 AM

6. maybe people are finally realizing that they can...

get along with less crap

probably not - but it's a nice thought

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Response to lame54 (Reply #6)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 09:51 PM

32. or they are realizing they have to fund their own retirement

or live in poverty when they are older

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 10:54 AM

9. Even with a job the money all goes to bills

how hard is that to comprehend

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 10:55 AM

10. booming my foot. the bloomberg crowd is suffering from economic disconnect

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 11:01 AM

13. Disposable income

Why are gas prices rising when their is a glut on the market?

We need $15/hour minimum wage NOW, not filtered in over 5 years.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 11:18 AM

15. I kinda blame GWBush on that one.

When 9/11 happened during his watch, instead of actually doing things to shore up our infrastructure his solution was to just tell Americans to spend more, tap in to credit and live large.

The issue with that is that now many Americans are now merely paying for those interest fees, and that is pretty much what supposedly grows the economy without really getting to buy real stuff in industries that actually make products.

Banks and financial services that charge fees are what earns the most money nowadays, and we have hit the saturation point of productivity creating products and materials which people are not really buying.

Productivity is there, and I am actually shocked that prices haven't dropped, though I shouldn't, since prices are not based on demand and quality any more, but by how it is marketed.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 12:09 PM

17. There's another word for "consumer".

"Employee".

How do employees consume if they aren't making enough to make ends meet? Sometimes I think that CEOs don't have the brains of dead tree stump. They simply can't seem to grasp this blindingly obvious fact!

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 09:04 PM

30. Simple, they want the rewards.....

while some one else takes care of the problem.

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Response to daleanime (Reply #30)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 11:22 PM

38. Yep.

 

CEO gets his tens to hundreds of millions in the short term by any way possible. they dont need to think about the long term. just next quarter

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 01:00 PM

19. Can't spend what you don't have.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 02:30 PM

22. ''I’m thus mystified by the uniform tone of boosterism in the media...''

 

- I don't know why. All one must do is look at who owns the media and the reasons become self-evident.

K&R

[center]

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'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we're not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,' he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. 'Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?'

'Except-' began Winston doubtfully, and he stopped.

It had been on the tip of his tongue to say 'Except the proles,' but he checked himself, not feeling fully certain that this remark was not in some way unorthodox.

Syme, however, had divined what he was about to say. 'The proles are not human beings,' he said carelessly. 'By 2050 earlier, probably -- all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron -- they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking -- not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.'


~George Orwell, 1984

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #22)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 07:47 AM

61. Thank you..

.... Bill Clinton and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 without which this would not be possible.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 02:33 PM

23. Desperate doesn't denote booming as enough to prop up demand.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 02:48 PM

24. "Booming?"

 

Where is it booming?

A lot of people still out of work. This is the lowest workforce participation in decades. True entry level work doesn't exist anymore. And everyone seems to have multiple part-time jobs these days.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 08:40 PM

25. The market is booming with part time low wage no benefit jobs

 

No money left to spend

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 08:53 PM

27. First, the weather, second, no 'minimum wage,'

or vice versa.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 09:04 PM

29. You would think that all of those brilliant minds

would realize that jobs don't save the economy if people still have to be on Food Stamps to survive with those jobs.

Purposefully obtuse, I'd say.

The greedy oligarchs and corporate overlords are willing to look like complete imbeciles, as long as they don't have to admit we need a living wage, affordable housing, better rapid transit and better social support in this country.

Tools and fools for the Holy Dollah. Same as it ever was.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 09:18 PM

31. Some of it is likely a sense of insecurity

Lots of folks lived off savings, cashing in insurance, pilfering retirement, selling their stuff. The jobs are paying less, the benefits are cut back.

People are still out of work, and not a fewmany are living with family, which means people with the jobs have greater responsibilities...

I would expect there is likely a sense that -now- is the time to take care of self... get by, and get the nest egg rebuilt and larger than before.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Mar 13, 2015, 10:24 PM

35. While I'm outside the job market, having retired almost a year ago,

 

and even though my income is the same as it was, I'm still living very frugally. By choice, I might add. While my yearly income is below the national median, I live alone, my expenses are manageable, and I am able to attend the science fiction and writing conferences that are very important to me.

All of my adult life I've been amazed at what most other people spend on presents at Christmas time. Perhaps because I grew up quite poor, in a somewhat large family (six kids), that even though Christmas was wonderful in so many ways, there weren't a lot of presents. I carried that into my adult life, and in recent years I'm more likely to make someone something than buy. I embroider and crochet, so it's not that hard for me. I'm already at work on this year's presents.

I also feel that growing up poor, and not having very much at the beginning of my independent adult life, also shaped me, and shaped me not to spend too much.

Here's another very important thing. I've gone without TV three different times in my life. The current no-TV has lasted almost seven years, and the longer I go without, the less I miss it. For one thing, I can watch a lot on the internet. But more importantly, not seeing the advertizing makes it very easy not to spend money. I'm not bombarded with ads telling me I basically can't live without something, or that I'd be beautiful if only I bought that. TV advertizing makes it very easy to feel deprived because you can't afford all of what the ads tell you you MUST have. I constantly encourage people to turn off their TVs, although I haven't won any converts yet.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #35)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 05:47 AM

40. You make a very good point about advertising.

It's utterly relentless in today's world. We are inundated with constant pressure to consume. I would go a step further and say that it's all advertising, not just TV ads, though that market is huge. One good thing is that millenials and younger generations are no longer watching as much TV (though the internet is debateably worse).

Frugality is not a virtue to most people anymore. You sound like you live a modest, fulfilling life. I am very happy for you, because you've managed to avoid the materialism and excessive consumption that is nigh on mandatory in a capitalistic, private-property based system. It's a tough thing to avoid. I'm better than most at recognizing materialism in myself and weeding it out of my life, but it's immensely challenging. I often find myself considering purchasing things that I know I don't need. Thankfully my awareness is high enough that I am doing well enough financially, but I've known families that are going through some really tough times because of habitual spending.

Our family does spend a lot of money on our Christmas celebration. However, the presents that we get for each other are often things we've been putting off getting. For instance, I needed new underwear last year, and my mom found some nice pairs for really, really cheap. She gave them to me rather than me buying them myself, I It makes for a fun day, sitting around the tree and opening presents for hours.

I think we are going to continue down this road for a while longer before it's entirely unsustainable. Millenials and youth are being constantly propagandized into becoming consumers rather than beings. They are for the most part unaware of it, and the ramifications are striking. We buy new technology as soon as it comes out. We are uneducated and unrestrained financially. What I wonder is how this will affect us in 50 years.

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #40)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 10:29 AM

41. Your reply reminds me that movies and TV shows themselves

 

often show people with an unrealistic standard of living, given the jobs they have. A nicer home or apartment, better clothes and stuff. It makes a viewer think they ought to be able to live as well. And then, the easy availability of credit makes it almost possible.

I'll say that the thing that most amazes me is how many people always have a car payment. They buy the most expensive vehicle they can possibly afford, are often underwater the first couple of years, and often even before it's paid off, trade it in for a newer one, and probably a bigger car payment. And if they're in an accident during the early part of the loan and the car is totalled, they still owe money on it. The idea of buying a smaller, less luxurious, or even a used car just isn't on their radar screen.

It doesn't help that basic consumer finance and economics simply isn't taught in school. It should be, starting in 7th grade or so. I had the good fortune to have a 7th grade math teacher who knew we wouldn't be taught any of this, so he took a week out of the regular curriculum to go over certain basics, including how to fill out a check, and how much the house winds up costing you on a 30 year mortgage. I do currently have one of those, with 24 years left on it. And this was back before credit cards for the masses, and so that topic obviously didn't come up.

I am charmed by the story of nice underwear for Christmas. It sounds as if your family has their Christmas spending under control, that you spend your money for that, rather than the way I happen to, at other times of the year. For me, attending various science-fiction cons has become very important, and so I go to them.

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #40)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 06:04 PM

49. Luckily you have control of what internet sites you retrieve

 

I have a very advert free internet experience.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #35)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 01:08 PM

66. The more often I live without tv, the more irritating it feels when I see one blaring away.

Tv has really changed since I watched it as a kid; it has become louder, more frenetic, with tons of commercials, best that I can remember.
We live tv free and have too many choices in books, music, movies via the Web. Never gonna be enough time to get thru it all.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #66)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 02:12 PM

68. Same here. I sometimes dislike

 

visiting my sister, whom I like very much, but the TV is always on at her house. Always. Worse yet, family members sit in the room where the TV is, completely engrossed in their ipad or smart phone, neither watching the omnipresent TV, nor talking much to each other.

Me? I prefer to read books, although I'll confess to spending entirely too much time on-line myself.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #68)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 02:27 PM

69. Goes to show you that tv will be obsolete soon

if hard core tv people are preferring to play with their mini-computers over actually watching the tv...that says something, doesn't it?

The greatest blessing of no tv in our house is ..no blaring noise. We both now treasure the peace and quiet.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #69)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 11:16 PM

70. No. TV will not be obsolete, not any time soon.

 

Too many people, and my sister is only one of them, have to have the TV on all the time. Being immersed in their mini-computers is just an extension of the TV addiction. As it is, just watching TV interferes with conversation, reading, doing crafts, whatever. But a lot of people must have noise filling every minute of the day.

This is the third major time in my life I've been without TV, and I can't imagine ever having one again. Were I to marry again (highly unlikely) the man would have to be willing to forgo television himself. Or at least be willing to have the TV off in some other room so it doesn't dominate the household.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 12:59 PM

43. Oh sure gas is 2 dollars, but a gallon of milk is 6.

 

Maybe it is that so many people paid attention to OWS, that they decided to cut back and not give the .01% ownership class a free handout.

Wouldn't that be some shit! Make the billionaires actually work for their money! Strange concept since the 1980s.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Mar 14, 2015, 09:19 PM

52. Because more money goes to necessities

Rent/mortgage, healthcare, education.

Fewer benefits, flat wages means less disposable income. You want a booming economy? Raise wages, make jobs more stable and secure.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Mar 15, 2015, 07:28 AM

60. It has more to do with the labor participation IMO.

 

Rising costs are an issue, but labor participation is abysmal. What that means is roughly speaking, two out of every five people are not working. They aren't considered unemployed anymore because of various reasons. But they aren't working either.



And it keeps falling. That is the dangerous metric IMO. Let's say there are a hundred of us and we are all working to hold up and carry a weight. Divided among the hundred of us it is not that big of a deal. It is easily held up by the people under it. But one by one people start peeling off. Each one who departs has his/her share taken up by those that are left. The more that leave, the greater the strain on those remaining.

Obviously having more people holding it up is preferable, it makes the load easier for the people to hold up. But as time goes, there are fewer and fewer holding the weight up, and eventually it will be too few to hold it up.

93,600,000 people are not in the labor force right now. That is disproportionately carried by women. 56,000,000 women are not in the labor force. Thus the women are overrepresented in that group.

Think about it. Nearly two out of five people. These are people you know, I know, and everyone knows. People around you who aren't in the job market, and have essentially given up. Now, it's hard to sell the idea that the economy is doing great when there is this feeling that it's not right. For many people, it's like telling a guy on a cold night that at least the fire will keep him warm. The guy looks at you and says it's my house that's on fire. People hear the unemployment rate, and assume it's a lie because they know that so many around them are not working, so the numbers can't be right. That's the big danger with the impression that a lie has been told. Once you decide that one thing is a lie, you doubt everything else that that person tells you.

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