Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Hype of Economic Recovery

As we're told the stats of unemployment and we've watched the gasoline prices plummet are we in a genuine economic recovery or have we simply accepted what we're told and learned to live with the new standard of life?  In reading headlines and comments across social media, the opinions vary widely.  Professional reporters and journalists, for the most part seem to write that which promotes the political leaning of their particular publication.  It appears to this writer, the political leanings of the various publications continue to further divide the country not only on solutions, but now, as to even question the reality of the issues.  As to those who comment, there of course, is always the perspective based upon politics, but also the social status of the one making the comment.  We seem to have divided the political parties with a sort of social caste system.  There are poor republicans and some democrats who are quite wealthy.

The people have become so divided by political propaganda, the truth has been rendered nearly irrelevant.  There are a number of impoverished republicans who truly believe the impoverished democrats are the reason they are poor.  There are a great many impoverished democrats who are blind to the fact their elected representatives live just like the rich republicans they hate.  I read and listened to the predictions that food prices would drop when gasoline prices did.  That simply is not the case.  Food prices are based upon so much more than transportation costs and the expense of producing the food was factored in long before gasoline prices fluctuated.  The cost of feed for meat and the cost of herbicides and harvest for grain and produce is what affects the price of food.  Gasoline is just what is obvious to all, on the signs!  Gasoline prices keep the keystone pipeline and fracking debates fueled . . .

I also read that cash saved at the pumps would flow back into the economy.  When people are already over extended living paycheck to paycheck, the extra cash from the pumps may curb business at the Cash Advance places, but that's about it.  When a society lives on debt and borrowed income, reduced costs don't change the perpetual motion or increase the buying power.  We've gone too far beyond that.  Doing more of what caused the problem is not a solution.  Cash Advance places and Appliance Rental businesses are a large part of our economy now.  More expendable cash is only a product of excess printing by the Federal Reserve.

The number of shuttered businesses is increasing.  Unemployment statists are changing, not based upon full time employment, but rather on the fact that unemployment benefits are no longer being collected by a given percentage.  The reasons for that are primarily NOT due to gainful employment, but the time of collecting benefits has run it's course, or the individual has settled for less pay and fewer hours.  The stats are even manipulated by the fact many underemployed individuals actually make up two figures in the employment statistics with two part time jobs.  Then, there is also the fact, many formerly unemployed have now become recipients of early social security benefits or now collect disability.

The number of empty storefronts is expanding.  Recently I've seen something that bears reporting.  Pawn Shops are now closing.  Thrift Stores are going out of business.  New businesses are not replacing these.  The buildings simply stand with a for rent or for sale sign in the window.  Economic recovery?  When independent businesses continue to shutter, and the workforce continues to decline, that's not recovery.  Buying more junk with cash saved at the gas pumps will not bring economic recovery or stability.

. . . that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living G-d . . . Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come . . . Paul's advice to Timothy
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