Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian.
This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing
it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle
hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting
better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a
while we look at how good the uber rich have it.
It's Friday once more, and my four readers know it is time once again to see how bad the economy is doing. This week we have a bit of everything, so let's have a look.
Rural hospitals being on a financial edge of going into ruin is not really news in the United States. However, it made the news again this week as many rural hospitals got government loans to supposedly tie them over during COVID-19. The reality is pretty grim, at least according to " some hospital administrators have called it a payday loan program that
is now brutally due for repayment at a time when the institutions still
need help." Via NPR.
- Because this is the United States, and the nation has clear priorities even during a pandemic, turns out that the Pentagon used money that was meant for face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other medical equipment instead for things like jet engine parts and body armor. Let's be honest, those fancy war jets aren't gonna get built without proper parts, and you do want your imperial forces well protected against things like bullets. Viruses? Not so much. Story via Boing Boing.
- Across the pond in Great Britain, some universities are paying social media
slackers"influencers" to promote universities the influencers did not attend (but make it sound like they did). Story via VICE. If I had a bit less ethics, I would honestly try to get on that influencer bandwagon and bring in some product pitching cash my way.
- In Colombia, some women left unemployed due to COVID-19 are turning to webcam sex work to help pay the bills. Via VICE. On the positive, they get to work from home, no commute, and they are probably much safer. I will only add that this is not just in Colombia. Looking at social media, anecdotal observation here, it seems a lot more women, including women in the U.S., are turning to web cams and services like OnlyFans to make some money in the bad economy. Hey, when you gotta hustle, you gotta hustle.
- This next news item I am not sure about. According to the Singapore Strait Times. Singapore Airlines is going to offer flights to nowhere to get some business going. This boils down to get on a plane for two or three hours, fly around and then come back to where you started just for the fun of it. Here is where I am not sure. One, who would be masochistic enough to get in a flying cattle car voluntarily to just fly around and not really go anywhere? Two, which airline executive thought this was a good idea and why has that person not been fired from the company?
In Other News of the Bad Economy
- That the United States is a nation founded on racism and bigotry and one that embraces it proudly is not news. Sadly, despite all kinds of protests, that is not likely to change any time soon. However, it turns that being a racist nation can and does cost money to the national economy. Story via NPR. Citigroup ran the numbers, in a new study they reveal that the U.S. has lost $16 trillion due to its insistent racist fuckery. To put it in perspective, according to the NPR article, " U.S. GDP totaled $19.5 trillion last year." Turns out being a racist and bigoted asshole is not just bad for you morally; it can also hurt you financially.
- As if racism and bigotry were not bad enough in the U.S., hunger is also a big issue in the United States. The Food Politics blog offers some links and commentary on some recent reports on the situation. Because heaven forbid a nation that is oh so wealthy actually does something decent and work to feed its own people. Instead, it's more sexy to use money to keep propping up the military industrial complex. Again, priorities, man.
- Did you know that 9 out of 10 bars/venues cannot afford to pay their rent in New York City? Well, now you do. Story via Spirits Business. Things are looking grim. Rents were already obscenely expensive in the city before the pandemic, and the pandemic has only made things worse.
- Meanwhile, bookstore sales fell during the month of July. Story via Publishers Weekly.
- Are you unemployed due to the Bad Economy, especially now due to COVID-19? Would you like a job with some flexible hours, where you may be able to set your own hours? Are your morals kind of very flexible? If you are not bothered by people who are vulnerable and distressed, and you are happy to stick it to them (as long as it does not affect you), you could make some money in the new wonderful career of a gig eviction agent/process server. According to this story via VICE, "seizing
on a pandemic-driven nosedive in employment and huge uptick in
number-of-people-who-can't-pay-their-rent, Civvl aims to make it easy
for landlords to hire process servers and eviction agents as gig
workers." Because when the economy is seriously bad, and people are suffering and vulnerable, you can always find vultures ready to take advantage in order to make money.
Finally for this week, let's see how the uber rich are doing. Seems they may be having some small issues selling some houses. Often when you want to sell a home, if it is not selling, you might sweeten the deal a bit, maybe lower the price a little, or you do some home improvement to make the home look better. In Beverly Hills, there is a mansion listed for about $5 million. In order to get it moving, the sellers are throwing in the use of a private jet in the deal. Story via Departures. Great deal if you got some money to burn. Get a house in a prime location AND the option of your own private jet so you can get away from it all without having to fly commercial with the hoi polloi. What a deal!