Friday, July 15, 2011

Is It Any Wonder We Need Drugs?

"Who are you going to believe?" the comedian Groucho Marx asked. " Me, or your lying eyes?"


On its face the official narrative is false to a laughably Orwellian extreme. The recession is over; the recovery is well underway, they say. However, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the recovery is slow and mainly benefiting big business. "While the US economy staggers through one of its slowest recoveries since the Great Recession," the paper wrote July 5th, "American companies are poised to report strong earnings for the second quarter - exposing a dichotomy between corporate performance and the overall health of the economy."


Like his outgoing predecessor George W. Bush, Obama's response to the 2008 meltdown was to transfer trillions of dollars out of the US treasury into the portfolios of investment banks, insurance companies, airlines and automobile manufacturers, no questions asked.

  Ted Rall

Just as they like it. And now corporations can “vote” for president, too.

The same "dichotomy" afflicts every industrialized nation except for Germany and Luxembourg, both of which have seen unemployment return to the levels before the global fiscal crisis that began in September 2008.


With nearly one out of four Americans jobless and countless more underemployed, tensions are emerging between classes in this traditionally "classless" society in which both the rich and poor identify themselves as "middle class".


The official US unemployment rate is 9.1 percent but the "real rate" - the one calculated the way most other countries do theirs, which includes people whose unemployment benefits have lapsed - is closer to 20 per cent, higher than those of Tunisia and Egypt at the start of the Arab Spring. People who still have jobs have suffered pay cuts both visible and invisible, the latter from galloping inflation in fuel and other costs that government agencies intentionally omit from calculations of consumer price indices.


Eight million jobs were lost during the 2008-09 debacle; some two to three million more since the "recovery" began.

The respected website Shadow Government Statistics currently places the real unemployment rate at 22.8 per cent - equivalent to the worst months of the Great Depression of the 1930s.


"Workers' wages and benefits [now] make up 57.5 percent of the economy, an all-time low," wrote the AP's Wiseman. "Until the mid-2000s, that figure had been remarkably stable - about 64 percent through boom and bust alike."

Corporate CEOs may be whistling past the graveyard, raking in huge bonuses and pay raises approved by compliant boards of directors, but the overall state of the economy is a disaster. Recovery? Forget it - there isn't one. Are we still in a recession? That would be an improvement.

Gloomy Gus.

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