Friday, April 11, 2014

Signs the Economy is Bad: April 11, 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. 

Today we are highlighting an image of Lyndon B. Johnson as there were remembrances this week of his legacy with the Civil Rights Act. He also declared the War on Poverty. That fight is a long way from over. This week we once again feature the woes of college students and recent graduates. Wages are another big topic this week. Let's have a look.

  • The serfdom that is the modern student loan system continues to wreak devastation. Now this week we feature the parents of college students. According to this piece from AlterNet, "parents are increasingly struggling to repay federal loans they've taken out to help cover their children's college costs, according to newly released federal data."This article looks at another infamous part of the student loan serfdom that is not often mentioned, but it can be just as devastating: the PLUS loan program. Article includes link to a report from ProPublica and The Chronicle of Higher Education relevant to the discussion.
  • Meanwhile, it gets harder to afford college. Hell, it is getting harder to pretty much afford anything if you are not born with a silver spoon in your mouth or you sold your little app to Facebook or Amazon. Wage stagnation is another driving force of poverty. Story via IVN. 
  • Now, here is one that less than bright conservatives and RWNJ's might cheer about: more moms are staying at home. However, the reason is not what they might think.A reason? They cannot find work. Add to that the fact that if they do find work, it is often low-paying work that eats up any daycare they need to have to go to work. The fact is that "opt-out" moms, defined as "educated women of means who do not have to work out of economic necessity," are actually a very small group contrary to what certain pundits might try to make you believe. So less moms working, that qualifies as a sign the economy is bad. Story via AlterNet.
  • Moms are not the only ones having difficulties in the job market and the bad economy. The plight of food workers is well known. The fact that their employers actively lobby to keep their workers in poverty wages certainly does not help. Story via Food Politics blog. Do read on to find additional links including lists of which trade groups are actively lobbying and making political contributions to keep their workers in poverty. It's immoral to say the least. It is basically exploitation. 
  • Now, since those food workers get paid poverty wages, usually with no benefits such as sick days, the workers have to show up to work no matter what happens. You don't work, and you do not get paid. Don't get paid? You do not eat. It's that simple. So, the result? A large amount of the people preparing your food are going to be sick, and likely spreading their germs on food. Recall the last time you might have gotten a little food poisoning (at least you called it that) after eating out. Odds are the person fixing your food could have been sick and not able to afford staying home, let alone afford a medical check up because the health insurance is either poor or non-existent. Story via 
  • Hell, the economy is so bad even the moguls of the National Football League (NFL) are suffering. Apparently the high ticket prices and obscenely expensive concessions plus the merchandising are not doing the trick. Our story is about merchandising. Fans will now have to fork out more money for their favorite NFL jerseys, and in the arms race to have the latest jersey, if you don't put down some serious money, you may fall behind. Story via COED. By the way, I had no idea there was a hierarchy of football jerseys. 

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