Sunday, January 25, 2009
The Obamasiah has been anointed, and the econopocalypse has continued unabated.
The Obamasiah can apparently raise the dead. Not only has the corpse of Osama bin Laden been re-animated for the purpose of mixing some new terro-politica tapes (a sure-fire hit on CNN and YouTube), but the long dead John Maynard Keynes has arisen in the form of untold amounts of money being used to stimulate the economy.
Pardon my skepticism, but isn't this simply a matter of shoveling piles of depreciating paper currency in the general direction of campaign contributors and other constituencies. In addition the Federal Reserve (which isn't Federal and has no reserves) has accepted as collateral, worthless derivatives contracts (the famed troubled assets), and so far pumped between three and eight (nobody knows for sure) Trillion dollars into the collapsed banking system with no end in sight. The credit crisis continues, despite these unthinkably huge amounts of "money" being added to the debts of our grandchildren. Iconoclast Webster Tarpley is predicting "Hyper-stagflation" as the upcoming final stage in the death of the dollar.
I can see no possibility of reviving this dead monster. Even the Obamasiah can't breathe a spark of life into the rapidly decomposing carcass - to paraphrase Monty Python, "This economy wouldn't voom if you put 4 million volts through it." Official figures put unemployment in America at just above 7%. A true measure of the number of working age adults currently unemployed would put that figure closer to fourteen percent, and if the underemployed were included, then the number would likely be between twenty and twenty-five percent.
I have been unemployed since December 2006. A few very small short term contracts have allowed me to earn less than three thousand dollars since then, however the constant stream of stimulus packages from the Congress have several times refilled the unemployment benefits bowl on my behalf, and this, combined with my ability to live very inexpensively, and the fact that the allowance I receive is inflated by the almost unlimited overtime in my last job, means that I have a viable income at present, and it seems that this may continue for as much as another year. Enough time, I hope, for me to realize my ambition of developing sufficient income from my exploits on the internet. Of course I shall continue to send out applications for the real or imagined vacancies that are retrieved from the various employment databases patrolled by web-bots on my behalf, but with half a million jobs disappearing every month at the moment, I do not really expect any action from that quarter. The massive number being added to the rolls makes it likely that the checks will keep on coming. The danger of riots and massive increases in property crime will scare the politicians into appropriating unemployment benefits extensions over and over again. The sinking economy, therefore, works to my benefit for the time being.
Everyone else is fucked. I went to visit my local Circuit City yesterday. It's a five minute bike ride, and I pass it on the way home from the metro station, but this was my first visit. The store was crowded with bargain hunters, although most were fondling rather than buying the merchandise. The store-wide 10% discount might accurately reflect the thin profit margins in consumer electronic sales, but it is not a steep enough discount to stimulate the feeding frenzy necessary to empty the shelves, nor reduce the stacks of cardboard boxed big screens. I was hoping to pick up a camera, and some phone accessories, but I can get better bargains on the net, so I left carrying my empty backpack. I wonder how long my local mall will remain open. The theater closed a couple of weeks ago. The loss of Circuit City is another nail in the coffin of the unlamented consumer lifestyle. I wonder what we will all do for fun when the shopping craze has ended. Gardening, I expect, will be big.