An ominous trend picks up speed: the middle class is shriveling. In 1980, 60% of Californians lived in middle-income families. By 2010, only 47.9% did, according to a study by the Public Policy Institute of California. Main culprits: declining incomes and disappearing jobs. And where the heck is the recovery?
Consumer confidence indices have collapsed to levels not seen in years or even decades. Yet the toughest creature out there that no one has yet been able to beat down struck again. Consumer spending increased at an annual rate of 2.4% during the third quarter, though the mood has become outright morose since.
At $46 billion in August and a hair-raising $376 billion year to date, the trade deficit is a powerful descriptor of what’s wrong with the U.S. economy. By year end, it will amount to half a trillion. Economic activity gone overseas. The cause: an ancient and valid business principle that is now harming the overall economy.
The economy is going back to hell, but stock markets are surging. Nothing new. It always ends in tears. But this time, the Fed’s money-printing strategy will make things only worse. Today’s horrid numbers show us why.
Incredible that a Democrat would propose that our Social Security system should be gutted starting immediately to get an up-tick in GDP just before the election. But President Obama’s proposal to cut payroll taxes in half will do just that.
Remember him? Went after Social Security too.
Out of one side of its mouth, our political system talks about reforming Social Security to preserve it for a few more years, and out of the other side of its mouth, it proposes to expedite its demise. Where’s the duct tape?
The long-term problem in the horrendous jobs report is the strangely inconspicuous “Employment-Population Ratio” that has been nosediving for over a decade. It’s the definition of a comatose economy.
The litany of layoffs among the largest banks continues. And it’s ugly. After announcements and rumors from Wall Street, the first European banks have come out to air their dirty laundry. And now, per the Financial Times, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is adding 2,000 layoffs to the list. 63,000 by eight European banks so far. Something big is afoot.
The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has descended on Palo Alto to meet with the usual suspects in Silicon Valley. Their topic, hilariously: How the public and private sectors can team up to create jobs. Hilariously because California—Silicone Valley in particular—has been on the forefront of transferring jobs to China and other countries.
Remember him? Creating jobs in China….
The high-speed train fiasco in China makes us worry about our San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge whose gigantic one-tower landmark suspension segment was fabricated, you guessed it, in China. In return for some paltry savings, if any, California gave up enormous economic opportunities.