Friday, May 28, 2010

Signs that the economy is bad: End of May 2010 edition

We welcome our three readers to yet another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is my semi-regular (when I get to it or have the time) feature where I go out on the Internet and find those oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Any pundit can tell you that the Dow may be going down, or that the unemployment numbers are not good, or any of the other obvious signs. But it takes a little more work to find the smaller clues, and I am here doing it as a public service to my three readers. As usual, my comments and snark are included for free.

  • Stay at home moms turn to phone sex. Though the story is covered by the local news here in Tyler, TX, the newscaster makes sure to emphasize that the local mom she interviewed would never do it. I have to admit you have to be amused by the righteous attitude. At the end of the day, I can certainly sympathize. One paycheck in the household just does not go far enough, and these moms usually work from home, after the kids are gone (so no one can say "think of the kids." If anything, they did think of the kids and planned accordingly). Anyhow, not a good sign when mothers feel they have to take a few extra hours doing this kind of work. To be honest, it would not surprise me if it came out there are a few women here in Tyler, or East Texas, doing this work already. This is a town where employers often tell women who have a husband that they should not have to worry about working since their husbands should be able to take care of them. By the way, my wife's employer did use that line about "your husband should care of you" in arguing for cutting her hours. We both had a brief moment of outrage followed by amusement at the quaint backwards attitude. Yes, I do take care of her, but we still need the second paycheck. And sorry to any hopeful guys, but the better half is not employed in phone adult entertainment.
  • Reporters can no longer afford to follow the U.S. President around. When reporters have to cover the President, the President travels in Air Force One. The reporters basically have to charter a plane and follow him. This is something I did not know, so I learned something new. Well, it seems things are getting a bit tight for reporters trying to cover the President. (via Bizmology).
  • If you are on campus, don't be a parking scofflaw. Universities are now getting aggressive in going after people who do not pay their parking tickets, going to the extreme of hiring collection agencies to do so. I do have mixed feelings about this since the whole parking thing seems more like a money racket to me as it is. Campuses never provide anywhere near enough parking for their students; they then charge exorbitant fees to get a parking decal which is practically worthless (since they overbook so to speak), and then they also ticket when more often than not you may be forced to park illegally. Just does not seem right, but alas students do learn to live with the snafu situation. To my credit, I never got a single parking ticket as a student back in my day. At the end of the day, it is a sign that the economy is bad. States are cutting funding left and right for their higher education institutions. Then, to add injury, they tell colleges they can't raise tuition or cap the tuition raises at unreasonable lows, which of course leads to the schools having to find money from any source possible. It really is a vicious circle that in the end makes a college education more expensive and less accessible.

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