Friday, August 29, 2014

Signs the Economy is Bad: August 29, 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 has been a busy month for me, but the stories keep on coming signaling that the economy is still bad. So, let's just get on with it and see how much ground we can cover this week.

  • You know things are bad when the hobbies the well-off tend to like suffer. It turns out that less young people are playing golf. The horror. How bad is it? Well, it's so bad that Dick's Sporting Goods "recently laid off 478 PGA pros who worked in the company's golf shops." Story via Big Think. And why would young people not want to play golf? The reason is "because golf is a pastime associated with white plutocrats." And we all know who fucked up the economy. I am sure they don't want to be associated with those people. I certainly would not.
  • Now a bad economy can make people depressed. When people get depressed, they often seek some comfort, even it is a small comfort. One such comfort is chocolate. Well, things are getting worse, so even that may soon be out of reach for some as chocolate is getting more expensive. Hershey, Mars, and Nestle all recently announced increases to the price of their products. Why? "The rise in the cost of chocolate is a direct response to the skyrocketing price of cocoa beans and dairy products. Unfortunately for chocoholics, numerous social, economic, and environmental factors suggest the price of sweets is only going to keep rising." Man, can't even catch a break these days, not even from the Kit Kat bar. Story via Big Think.
  • And if things were not bad enough, it was recently reported that more than 35% of Americans are being hounded by debt collectors. Story via The Week. Oh, and here is something to ponder: "Also of note is the fact that unpaid debts are concentrated in Southern and Western states, with Texas in the lead. Five Texas cities — Dallas, El Paso, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio — have more than 40 percent of their populations reported to collection agencies. In addition, nearly half of Las Vegas residents have debts that are in collections." Hmm, southern and western states. I wonder what party tends to rule in those places. Not to mention that much of the American South ranks high when it comes to poverty overall. But it's not like we are seeing a pattern or anything, are we? By the way, you can read the Urban Institute report on delinquent debt in America here.
  • In addition, more people have difficulty keeping a roof over their heads. Buying a house for many is just not an option. So, the default, other than being homeless, is often to rent a place to live. Yet you can forget about catching a break there as well given that rents keep getting more expensive. Story via Mother Jones. It is so bad even the people who may have money to buy a house are choosing to rent instead.
  • And if you are young(ish) and trying to make a go of it, it is not looking good for you. Via AlterNet, here are "4 Signs Millennial Are Doomed to Dwindling Incomes." I will say that it is not just Millennials. A good number of people in my generation (I fall under Generation X) are not exactly thriving neither, and some of it is due to the reasons presented in the article as well. But if you are just graduating college, boy, I do feel for you. That is unless you happen to be rich, and in that case, odds are good you just inherited it anyhow, so you don't have to lift a finger while the rest of us starve and scrape by, often due to, well, plutocrats who by now are just inheriting old fortunes anyhow.
  • In other news, porn production is going down in Los Angeles. This is due to a new law mandating condom use in productions. Now, regardless of how you feel about porn (and disclosure, I personally have no problem with it, at least the commercial legal kind), this is a sign of a bad economy to come. Why? Well, most people usually think of the glamorous actresses who work in porn, but like any other industry, a lot of people work in small and large jobs often behind the scenes. Less porn making means a few of those folks could be out of work. No work means no money, and that means they won't be spending locally (or elsewhere) to keep the economy going. Anyhow, this is just something that caught my eye.
  • At least someone is staying afloat, and that is General Motors. It is not just due to the bailouts. It turns that they are still selling a lot of those gas guzzling SUVs, you know, the giant monstrosities that guzzle gas for low gas mileage, pollute more, and overall are often driven by obnoxious people. It seems a lot dads with money to burn and who do not give a shit about anyone but themselves are buying them, and by their own admission, "'I didn’t buy the vehicle for the gas mileage,' [Mike Quinto] said." Uh huh.
  • And a last minute inclusion this week. You know the economy is bad when you die in the midst of working four jobs to try to stay afloat. Story via Raw Story.

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