Friday, January 17, 2014

Signs the Economy is Bad, January 17, 2014 edition

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 feels like the week has been a bit lean this week in terms of stories, but I still have some things for my four readers:

  • The crisis in higher education is already well-known. Very much like the employment issues in librarianship, there is a glut of graduates, and it seems less jobs for them as time goes on. Getting a PhD nowadays is a very shaky proposition. It seems we are making "a Generation of Jobless PhDs." Story found at Big Think
  • The housing bubble left a lot of wreckage, and understandably so for many, those who went through it no longer see home ownership as a path for good financial footing. I can't say I blame them. Personally, I do not see myself owning a home anytime soon between the bad economy and the college loans. Then, there is this: "In an economy where people often have to move to get a job, many homeowners will be forced to sell their homes much earlier than they expected." I have moved for jobs three times already, and while I am hoping this time it's the charm, one never knows. So for now I am keeping the options open. Story via Center for Economic and Policy Research.
  • And the stories continue to pile on. As that wise man once told me, "there but for the grace of [insert your deity of choice], go I." In addition to a bad economy, a serious medical catastrophe often wipes someone out. You can have a good middle class job and STILL end up on food stamps. Story found at AlterNet
  • This story falls under outrageous item of the week. As if school teachers in this country were not screwed enough, a credit union in Nevada has found a way to screw them further AND rub salt on the wound. Public school teachers often suffer from low pay and the fact that they have to buy school supplies for their own classrooms because heaven forbid people pay enough taxes to actually provide the public schools with the supplies the students need. Oh no, that would make sense. So, to add to the humiliation of teachers, this credit union in Nevada is offering loans to teachers so they can buy school supplies for their own classrooms. Yes, you did read that right. This is beyond the pale, pure and simple. So not only do teachers have to spend what little they earn to supply their own classrooms (which is what the parents of the community should be doing in the first place), now they can also go into debt to do so. But hey, at least taxes are kept down, which is what most whiny asshats pay attention to anyhow. A hat tip to Juanita Jean.
  • Apparently, the U.S. Government does not know how to negotiate prices when it comes to health products and medicines (this is not really news, but we do not have time to look over those politics now). In the ridiculous item for today, it seems Uncle Sam is spending way to much on penis pumps for seniors. According to the source article, "Penis pumps cost the U.S. government’s Medicare program $172 million between 2006 and 2011, about twice as much as the consumer would have paid at the retail level, according to a government watchdog’s report released on Monday." In other words, if Uncle Sam could have just walked over to his local sex shop, he could have paid less. And let's not even go into the fuss that paying for this is OK but contraceptives is not (according to some religious and Right Wing asshats at least). Story via Juanita Jean. 

However, not all is bad news.  I have a couple of items to cheer you up a bit:

  • It turns out Pizza Hut is selling more pizza to gamers. How are they doing this? Well, there is software in game consoles like the XBox 360 than enable to order pizza while you play your game. So now gamers don't even have to take a break to get a phone to order out. Just pause your Call of Duty or Halo and order some pizza. And things have been going well. According to this story, gamers have ordered up to $1 million dollars in pizza through their gaming consoles. I will let someone else make the mandatory jokes about this.Story via FoodBeast.
  • And here is one for the uber rich. It turns out that rich women have better sex than the rest of the ladies. Maybe I wonder about this because I am a guy, but it would not be because "easier to devote time and energy to your sex life when you’re not working two jobs or worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills" would it? Story via 

Photo credit: Editorial cartoon. Found at Juanita Jean's, who also shared a couple of other editorial cartoons related to the West Virginia water contamination by Freedom Industries. 

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