Monday, March 04, 2013


Read this New York Times story and you'll realize that the Beltway doesn't give a damn about the problem of persistently high unemployment because the people who own the U.S. government simply don't consider persistently high unemployment to be a problem:
... stock markets are thriving even as the economy is barely growing and unemployment remains stubbornly high.

With millions still out of work, companies face little pressure to raise salaries, while productivity gains allow them to increase sales without adding workers.

"So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains," said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist."
But if U.S. companies no longer need U.S. citizens to be economically well off in order to thrive, then why the hell should we ever expect a full recovery in the labor market? If this is such a sweet deal for corporations, why fix what (according to them) ain't broken?

And it is pretty sweet:
The relentless focus on maintaining margins continues, even though profit and revenue have never been higher; four days after the company's shares soared past $90 to a record high last month, United Technologies confirmed it would eliminate an additional 3,000 workers this year, on top of 4,000 let go in 2012 as part a broader restructuring effort.
And don't imagine that the sequester's going to upset the fat cats -- just the opposite:
... although experts estimate that sequestration could cost the country about 700,000 jobs, Wall Street does not expect the cuts to substantially reduce corporate profits -- or seriously threaten the recent rally in the stock markets.

"It’s minimal," said Savita Subramanian, head of United States equity and quantitative strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Over all, the sequester could reduce earnings at the biggest companies by just over 1 percent, she said, adding, "the market wants more austerity."
Until ordinary Americans start responding to this sort of thing with pitchforks -- and, specifically, pitchforks pointed at those responsible, not at fellow ordinary Americans with different levels of melanin -- this is just going to be the way it is. Nobody who matters thinks it's anything to worry about.


Victor said...

The problems, Steve, is that a lot of us can't afford to even buy pitchforks - and the ones we had fell apart years ago, and were turned in for scrap metal for a few pennies.

Still, even a dull knife, or a rusty can-opener, can serve as a guillotine, if "We the people" need to improvise.

And I feel, more and more with each passing day, the need, even the desire, to improvise.

My reply to the bean-counters and their statistics, come from the words of Number 6, in that great, ahead-of-its-time show, "The Prisoner:"
"I am NOT a number. I am a free man!"
And there's little that's more dangerous, than a free man who feels he has nothing to lose.

Bulworth said...

"the market wants more austerity."

This line jumped out at me from the article this morning.

Also, corporate profits up, stock market up, and PBO is supposed to be some evil soshulist?

I guess a 7% or 8% unemployment rate just isn't enough to get people PO'd. The market has found a sweet spot.

BH said...

Americans aiming pitchforks at their owners instead of each other? Surely you jest. The last time anything remotely resembling that happened was over 80 years ago, with far higher unemployment which had persisted for (by the '32 election) almost 3 years nationally, and longer in the south & west. And even then, the prole revolt (such as it was) had sputtered to a halt by, at the latest, 1938.