Sunday, September 5, 2010

Feel lucky?

I have no doubt that a few people made a lot of money in the markets this past week. But I don't care about them. I care about the people who are losing, still losing, because they continue to fall for the pipedreams foisted upon them by the media, politicians and industries that surround them, that literally shape their lives. The people who, looking at a 3% rise in the Dow in one day, once again look at their TV sets, and once again convinced that recovery is here to stay. Robert Reich has some sensible words on the Dow vs people's lives:
The Stock Market Rally Versus the World’s Economic Fundamentals
by Robert Reich

What passes for business reporting in the United States is too often a series of breathless reports about the stock market. When the Dow rises precipitously, as it did today (Wednesday), the business press predicts an end to the Great Recession. When the stock market plummets, as it did last week, the Great Recession is said to be worsening.

Pay no attention. The stock market has as much to do with the real economy as the weather has to do with geology. Day by day there’s no relationship at all. Over time, weather and geology interact but the results aren’t evident for many years. The biggest impact of the weather is on peoples’ moods, as are the daily ups and downs of the market. The real economy is jobs and paychecks, what people buy and what they sell. [..]

Many big American companies have been showing profits because they’re doing ever more business in China while cutting payrolls at home. American consumers aren’t buying much of anything because they’ve lost their jobs or are worried about losing them, and are still trying to get out from under a huge debt load.[..] The U.S. housing market is growing worse, auto and retail sales are dropping, and the ranks of the jobless continue to swell.

Europe is in almost as much a mess. The problem there isn’t just or even mainly that Greece and other nations on the "periphery" have too much public debt. A bigger problem is European consumers aren’t buying nearly enough to generate more jobs. Unemployment remains high, and the trend is bad. Manufacturing growth there has slowed to its weakest pace in six months. Yet bizarrely, Europe’s large economies – Britain, Germany, and France – are paring back their public budgets. It’s exactly the wrong time, and a recipe for disaster.........
read on

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