Jobs, or the Lack Thereof
Some choice quotes:
"Every day, we get new headlines, statistics...new prices...new information. But prices are short-term. They will change tomorrow. Values, on the other hand, change very, very slowly - if at all. Financial theorists say that prices are "perfect" - but they are, in fact, perfectly worthless, for they tell us nothing about what things are really worth. We have to figure that out for ourselves. Besides, prices are subject to change without notice."
"And statistics? Almost all the statistics used in economic discussion are misapprehensions, scams or lies. The GDP "growth" numbers tell us how fast the U.S. economy is growing poorer. The inflation numbers tell us only how fast prices are rising for people who don't exist - those who buy a 1990s computer today! Guess what...it's cheaper. And the employment numbers are a swindle too, says Paul Krugman in today's International Herald Tribune. He quotes J. Bradford DeLong of UC Berkeley: "We have four of five indicators telling us that the state of the job market is not that good and only one - the unemployment rate - reading green." It reads green, rather than black, because it fails to count people who are not "actively" looking for a job. "The addition of these hypothetical participants," writes Katharine Bradbury, an economist at the Boston Fed, "would raise the unemployment rate by one to three-plus percentage points.""
"Why have so many given up looking for a job? We don't know, but we can guess: because the jobs they had hoped to find no longer exist."
""The United States is being virtually de-industrialized," writes our favorite economist, Dr. Kurt Richebächer. "The sector has lost 3 million jobs since 2000 and keep losing them month after month." America used to be a country that made things for export. It employed millions of well-paid people in factories where they made things to be sold overseas. The bars in "industrial" cities, such as Milwaukee and Baltimore, were full of working stiffs with money in their pockets. In the Highlandtown section of Baltimore, for example, near the Bethlehem Steel plant, there was a bar on practically every corner. Now, the old bars in the old working class neighborhoods are closed. The new bars, downtown, have a different clientele - office workers, real estate hustlers, and young professionals. Wine has replace beer at many of these places. Bragging about house price gains has taken over from bar fights. Wage earnings have given way to credit card and mortgage debt."
"The good-paying factory jobs are disappearing. A man can still find work - but not necessarily at the same price."
"We note in passing that the Dow has gone nowhere for a very long time. From the late '90s to today, an investor would have made nothing. But in India, stocks have more than doubled in the last three years. These are just prices, of course, not values. But people are beginning to ask questions. Not only are stocks soaring in India, wages throughout most of Asia are rising. How come people are earning more and more in Third World "basketcase" countries...while their hourly wages in America go nowhere?"