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Monday, May 18, 2009

How's The Economy Today?

What a great question to be asking. Am I missing something or are we just not hearing as much about the economy in the media as we were. In fact, are we really hearing anything at all?

I walked into my bank the other day and the assistant manager said, "things are getting better, aren't they?". "Getting better?" "I don't think so", I replied.

I ran into a neighbor recently - in a neighborhood where real estate values have plummeted by an average of 50%. He also said that "things are getting better". Short sales on these depressed properties are picking up (he is a real estate broker), a foreclosed construction site has sold for a fraction of what it sold for originally (the original pre construction buyers all lost their deposits) and a group of foreclosed properties sold up the street for about 25 percent of the original mortgage amount prior to foreclosure. Who are things getting better for? Not the neighborhood.

Things get better when the average American - the real Joe the Plumber is working, able to pay his mortgage, car payment, groceries, utilities and then have a few dollars left over for a beer or two.

It is back to the same old story, hide the truth from the public and by not reporting the truth and facts, the truth and facts simply disappear. Then, things seem to be better - they have to be - otherwise we would be hearing more bad news.

This blog was meant from its inception to expose the truth so let the truth march on.

Unemployment figures: Last month reported to be over 600,000 new filings. Let's annualize that. At this pace over 7.2 million people will have lost their jobs this year. Of course, some will find new work - probably at lower pay scales - but work none the less. But the real statistic not being told is the total number of people in this country still unemployed. You see, the unemployment figures are only for those currently on the unemployment roles. Once the benefits are over, the stats no longer consider them as unemployed. We don't hear that in the news!

So the real unemployment figure could be tens of millions. The percentage given is a little over 8% but the real figure could possibly be 15% or even 20%. But even these percent figures hide the truth. If we reported total unemployment in terms of numbers of actual real people - perhaps we would all understand the true negative impact this is having. Tell us how many millions upon millions of people are actually unemployed - we need to know.

Food Stamps: More people then ever are receiving food stamp assistance then ever before. The last figure I heard was over 53 million people. Is that 53 million people receiving the benefit or the total number of people in the households of those receiving benefits? I am not sure, but either way - a staggering figure.

Why don't we hear more in the news about this large group of people? Is America too proud to admit a large portion of the population is going hungry? Is the media - controlled by advertising dollars affraid to tell the truth so as not to impact their advertisers?

Can there be this many hungry people in a country where top executives - such as the ones that helped caused this collapse (I'm speaking of you AIG top 20 exec's) are still employed with those salaries that total in the hundreds of millions. Hundreds of millions of dollars, not unemployed or hungry.

So, how's the economy today? Are you feeling better about it? Are you employed, earning a living wage, opening or expanding your business, going on vacation, buying a new car, buying a new home?

Are you not receiving food stamp assistance anymore? Are you gainfully employed earning a living wage? Tell me - then we can tell the media and perhaps they will report the truth. And if they do then perhaps the government will listen and bailout the people not the corporate executives - especially the banks - who are on a new feeding frenzy preying on the already economically challenged consumer.

Only you and I are the true judge of economic improvement and from where I sit - it's not very good out there at all.

My answer to my question - The economy is not doing well today at all.

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