“…A long-term crisis, after a certain point, no longer seems like a crisis. It seems like the way things are.”When it comes to our nation’s and the world’s current economic woes, at least if one takes the time to read the proverbial fine print, it’s easy to understand that, for many -- both now and going forward -- as James Surowiecki titles it in his commentary in the upcoming, Monday edition of the New Yorker, there’s really “No End in Sight.”
From: “No End in Sight,” by James Surowiecki, New Yorker, April 30, 2012
One big reason for this inconvenient truth, according to Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman in today’s NY Times, is that as far as recognizing the failure of political memes associated with the economic austerity movement are concerned, both here and across the pond, we are finally beginning to witness the “Death of a Fairy Tale.” But, incredibly, in his Friday NYT op-ed column he notes that, despite these very recent epiphanies by our respective elected leaders concerning the downright cruel and negative effects that social program budget cuts create in times of prolonged economic downturns, these new-found realizations are having little or no impact upon our societies’ still-determined death marches off of their countries’ fiscal cliffs.
In his column, Krugman places much of the blame for these politically-created, draconian results in the U.S. on the shoulders of the individual states and their municipalities, as far as their respective budget priorities are concerned. But, IMHO, that’s really not even half the story. (More about this in a moment.)
Early this morning, Naked Capitalism Publisher Yves Smith spelled-out the implications of this seemingly-unstoppable economic trainwreck, come year’s end, on her blog. I’m re-publishing it (with her written authorization) here as a standalone post a little prior to the appearance of this. (You may read it by clicking either HERE or HERE.)
As I noted on Wednesday, and as he reiterated it Thursday evening via Bloomberg, Krugman’s colleague and fellow Nobel Prize-winning economist and Columbia professor Joseph Stiglitz comes right out and tells us: “Europe Is Headed to ‘Suicide’ on Austerity.”
Krugman also covered the suicide meme, just last week.
What Yves points out, today, is that if we maintain the same political trajectory that we’re on in D.C., right now: the U.S. won’t be far behind; and that’s the “better” result; i.e.: if Obama wins re-election. A Romney win in November would all but guarantee exponentially greater economic devastation for U.S. society, for sure.
As far as Main Street and the 99% that live there are concerned, both outcomes are horrendous.
When it comes to U.S. long-term joblessness, our nation’s housing and mortgage fraud crisis, and the still-growing and deeply-related issues of income inequality and poverty, contrary to the optimistic spin of many (for the one percent and their corporate-owned MSM’s propaganda, it is business as usual), there simply is no end in sight.
Given the current trajectory of the entirety of our nation’s politics and as it affects our economy—and as it’s virtually in stone, so to speak, within weeks after the Election Day--as far as the one percent are concerned, it’s heads they win, tails you lose.
But don’t take my word for it...
Job Growth and Long-Term Unemployment
When it comes to meager job growth and the woes of the long-term unemployed read what James Surowiecki tells us in the April 30th edition of the New Yorker. There is “No End in Sight.”
Both Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and world-renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz concur: the end result of the Lesser Depression, employment-wise in America, will be a “new normal,” natural rate of unemployment that’s projected to be 50% to 75% higher (in the 6% to 7% range on an ongoing basis, come three years from now, give or take) than it was prior to 2008.
Our Nation’s Real Estate And Mortgage Fraud Fiasco(s)
As far as our nation’s mortgage and housing crises are concerned, frankly, it’s far worse than the happy news we’re reading via the almost-universally-blatant misrepresentations delivered up by the status quo’s statistics and those Wall Street-generated obfuscations that we’re now reading in formerly-“respected” economic blogs, never mind throughout the MSM.
Without any hyperbole, and above and beyond the supposed bullishness and what’s bogusly discussed as fictitiously low “current inventory” in the finance blogs these days, let’s talk about what finance blogger Barry Ritholtz refers to as a “Decade-long Overhang.” (This is a link to part four of a five-part series he published earlier in the month. I strongly encourage you to read it.) There are three million to five million more homes yet to go into foreclosure; never mind the homeowners that have already dealt with it or who are currently facing it. There's more shadow inventory sitting in the banksters’ portfolios than most know about. And, then there's the pent-up demand to sell, comprised of folks that have been keeping their homes off the market for a variety of sane reasons, not the least of which being...wait for it...because the market sucks. Last but not least, there's the obliteration of the traditional new-buyer market: young folks, still experiencing very high levels of joblessness, and deeply in debt on student loans who are, simply, unable to obtain mortgages.
I believe what we're going to get, at best, for the next 3-6 years (and I'm being VERY kind here) is some form of "controlled flatlining," and/or sideways movement at a very nominal level, figuratively subsidized (i.e.: "propped up") by a touting finance blogosphere and real estate/banking industry wherein even some of the once-credible pundits (no links; keeping this as drama-free as possible) have gone off the deep end.
Income inequality is getting worse, not better.
And, just during the past 24 hours, there have been multiple, harsh and downright-deviant reminders of where our society’s being pushed—both politically and economically--by twisted, rightwing sadism these days: further along the path into the trainwreck.
Whether it’s a story about $33 billion being cut from the desperately-need Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program over the next 10 years (i.e.: food stamps), with 280,000 very-much-in-need kids being cut from a school lunch program, immediately; or, our government being forced to raid healthcare to fund desperately-needed student loans, the draconian political memes know no bounds.
Meanwhile, as we have continued to do since the beginning of the Lesser Depression in December 2007—and as Paul Krugman reminded us less than three weeks ago that we’re still in, contrary to the irrelevant rants of others about meaningless technical facts--and while our government continues more egregiously with every passing day to run roughshod over those most in need among us, taxpayers continue to subsidize Wall Street and the one percent to the tune of, at a very conservative and bare bones minimum, $200 to $250 billion per year!
The Options For The 99% Are Limited And They Are Clear
All of our chips are on the table: “Occupy Wall Street (Is) Betting It All on May Day With Big Targets.”
I’ll be there. Will you?
Otherwise…it’ll just be “the way things are”…
“...A long-term crisis, after a certain point, no longer seems like a crisis. It seems like the way things are.”
From: “No End in Sight,” by James Surowiecki, New Yorker, April 30, 2012