Friday, June 03, 2016

Signs the Economy is Bad: June 3, 2016 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.  

We made it to the first Friday in June, and the economy continues to be bad. So let's see what has been going on this past week or so.

  • Farmers are not having a good time in the United States. They are so strapped economically that they have to rely more on federal loans. The demand for those is so bad that money from that fun may be running out. And if that was not bad enough, farmers also find themselves relying more and more on off-farm income, i.e. themselves or more likely their spouses have to get a job in the town to actually make ends meet. The problem is that job creation in small towns is lagging or stagnant. Both stories via The Rural Blog.  
  • Did you know that "low-income families spend more than 80 percent of their budget on things like housing, food, and health care—that’s a lot more than 30 years ago." Yes, the cost of basic needs and supplies has gone dramatically up, and if you are poor, this is a big problem. Story via The Atlantic
  • And if that was not bad enough in the so-called land of the free and home of the brave, the homeless population is greying. Yes. People are getting older and older as time passes, and they remain homeless while the rest of the nation could not care less. Story via The New York Times.  
  • Now if you feel safe because you may be middle class, things are not that great for the middle class neither. "After 35 years of wealth redistribution to the super-rich, inequality has forced much of the middle class down to near-poverty levels, worsened by the fact that they are also blamed for their own misfortunes." Middle class Americans are now becoming part of the disposable class along with the poor. As for the rich, "hose at the top could not be less concerned. As wealth at the top grows, the super-rich feel they have little need for the rest of society." Story via AlterNet
  • On a small bit of good news, federal regulators finally are going to do something about exploitative predatory payday and auto loan lenders. Not quite driving these vultures out of business as it should happen, but it is at least a start. Story via The Center for Public Integrity.
  • Finally, a small look at the world of the uber rich, via higher education. The president of the University of Akron (Ohio) recently resigned. Now usually this is the kind of story I glance and move on. However, the hubris and pretentious fuckery deserve a spot in "Signs the Economy is Bad." Apparently he had a controversial tenure where he cried poverty and began to cut the campus' budget. Yes, the times are tight, and sometimes you have to cut expenses. However, the mofo was doing it while "spending money on renovating his university home. Many were shocked by the $951,000 in renovation costs, and in particular $556.40 on a decorative olive jar (without any olives)." A fucking olive jar? Dude, you can get a jar with olives for a lot less at a grocery store. Hell, you can go to Whole Paycheck and buy a fancy one if you want, and it would still be less that that decorative one. You can tell this is some privileged guy whose mama never really taught him the value of a dollar and used the old "other people's money" tactic for his extravagance (because I am sure a lot of that money probably came from alumni, donations, etc.). Story via Inside Higher Ed

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