Friday, April 15, 2011

Signs that the economy is bad, April 15, 2011 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. And how appropriate that I can bring you another edition on Tax Day. Yes, the Fed may say you still have until Monday, but if you have to do state income taxes, they are most likely due today. I hope my three readers out there have their taxes done already. Anyhow, for any stragglers that somehow managed to find this blog, this semi-regular feature (as in when I find enough links and feel like posting it) is where I scour the Internet, so you don't have to, in order to find the oh-so-subtle signs that the economy is still bad. Because no matter what the pundits and hotshots say in terms of the economy improving, things are pretty bad out there. You can't always tell given a lot of the spin, and that is where I come in. So, let us see what I have recently found. By the way, when I started these posts, I mostly meant it as a joke, and yes, some of the posts have been humorous. However, I am noticing the tone, and stories, getting a bit more serious. I can only say that just reflects what is out there. It is not just the wealthy whining they can't fly their private jets anymore. Things are really hitting everyone now, including yours truly.

  • Americans are outsourcing their execution materials. Yes, these days Americans will outsource just about anything, and of course, while jobs are lost here, it is someone else's gain. In this case, we are talking the drugs used in lethal injections for executions. According to The Atlantic, "the scramble for foreign-suppliers of lethal injection drugs, and the surrounding controversy, has arisen because the American company that manufactured sodium thiopental, Hospira, ceased production at its plant in North Carolina last year." So, it was already outsourced to Italy,  because apparently they can't make the stuff in the U.S., but the Italians stopped supplying it, so it means more business for someone else to make some money on it. 
  • Guess what is becoming the number one beverage ordered in American restaurants? Is it wine? Beer? Soda? None of the above. According to this article out of Dow Jones, "Cocktails might be trendy, but water is increasingly the beverage of choice for consumers dining out." This refers to tap water, by the way. So, apparently people are not totally ready to give up on eating out just yet, but they are certainly ordering less and keeping things as cheap as possible. With the uptick in gas prices, I am sure this trend will continue.
  • By the way, that catfish platter that southerners like so much? The price may well be going up. Or, odds are increasing the catfish may come from Asia. Yes, it seems American catfish farmers are struggling with the bad economy. For one, people are eating out less. Two, imported catfish is cheaper, and some restaurants are basically outsourcing their catfish suppliers. See the story out of The Wall Street Journal entitled "South Sings Catfish Blues" for details. This one I just found interesting, in part, because in some parts of East Texas, fish fries and eating out where you can get catfish is quite popular.
  • Usually, we think of lawyers as people who do make some pretty good money. Granted, it does depend on what area of law they practice (a public defender probably makes a hell less than a corporate attorney working for a big banking conglomerate). Now, you know a lawyer may be up the creek when he is actually peddling papers, as in academic papers. Yes, in this story out of Worcester Telegram & Gazette, that is precisely the case. The lawyer in question was suspended "after running an advertisement on Craigslist offering to write and edit papers and essays for students." Of course, being less than smart by doing things like bragging you work for the Massachusetts Appeals Court certainly does not help.
  • And it seems even rich sorority girls are feeling the pinch of the economy as well as business for designer dress rentals for social functions is going up. On the one hand, I guess daddy is not able to pay for all of the princess's expenses. On the other hand, this may not be such a bad sign: the dress rental place is certainly doing business. Found via Campus Overload blog. 

    No comments: