Friday, September 23, 2016

Signs the Economy is Bad: September 23, 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.  

It was a busy week last week, so the bad economy news and some fuckery have piled up. Let's see how much of the stuff we can get to this week.

  • Once more, we have an item for The Big Fuckery This Week. The Wells Fargo story of them basically screwing over their consumers to the point where Elizabeth Warren told their CEO she hopes he resigns and gets investigated definitely is some serious big fuckery. You can find the story in various places. I first saw it via Crooks and Liars. If you do banking with Wells Fargo, it may be time to move to another bank and double check to make sure they did not make you any other fake accounts in your name.  
  • However, banks are not the only ones screwing over their customers. Here are 10 airlines doing it too, and they do it via their excessive and often abusive fees. Story via Inc.
  • This is more of an advice piece. If you work as a freelancer, anxiety and worry over getting paid can be concerns. Here is then is some advice on how to cope, via Yes! magazine.
  • By the way, did you know that the cop that choked Eric Garner to death is actually making more money now? That is some serious fuckery right there. Yes he is. Read the spin here via New York Magazine.
  • On a positive, you know who else is making good money? According to a recent study, gay dads. You can learn more about it in this story out of The Advocate.
  • American conservatives often love to bitch and moan over their brethren having a lot of credit card debt, whining those people are just irresponsible. Well, it turns out the answer is not as simple as that. Turns out much of it has to do with structural inequalities and the unfairness in the system. Here is what the research shows: “'Instead, we see that, among similarly situated low- and middle-income households of working age, factors like education, value of assets to fall back on, insurance coverage and whether a household member has lost a job are among the foremost predictors of whether a household will accumulate credit card debt,' Traub continued, referencing data from a national survey of 1,997 households." And let us not even go into how credit card companies took advantage of the vulnerable during the recession. As I often say, there but for the deity of choice, go I. Story via AlterNet
  • If you happen to be a small somewhat rinky dink college, and you need some cash to keep the doors open, how do you get it? Well, if you happen to have a football team, you can schedule yourself to have the tar beaten out of you (humiliating massacre might be more accurate but it may sound harsh) by  a larger good school with a superior football team. The superior school gets to impress its fans, usually during their homecoming game, and your rinky dink school gets a decent payout. It's a college football tradition during the fall. Learn more about it out of the Texas Tribune.  
  • Via Boing Boing, link to a report from the Urban Institute that at least 6.8 million teens and tweens are hungry in the United States. It is so bad young girls even trade sexual favors for food, and this in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. But hey, keep worrying about Brangelina or whatever. 
  • The U.S. is also suffering a major teacher shortage, and even though hiring has gone up somewhat, it is not enough to address it. Not to mention many teachers do not make it past their first few years, frustrated teachers quit, the obsession with constant testing, and other issues add to the shortage. Story via NPR, which includes links to the recent reports, here and here, they are looking over from the Learning Policy Institute.  
  • Libraries are facing hard times. At least one library was considering enforcing old harsh laws that include jail to get their overdue books back. That's rough. The Annoyed Librarian has the story.
  • And speaking of libraries, the big broo ha ha going on  the last  two weeks or so has been that college that took a librarian's bequest and used a huge chunk of it to buy itself a fancy scoreboard for their multimillion dollar football stadium. Because priorities, man. Then again, that librarian either was not as smart or maybe he really was a big football fan as the school is desperately trying to spin it. Either way, the lesson here is simple: if you have so much money you can bequeath it to a college or university, make sure you hire a lawyer and make said bequest as specific as possible on exactly where you want the money to go. Otherwise, well, this happens. Story via Inside Higher Ed
  • Want more fuckery? How about this story out of Silicon Valley? Apparently they are evicting the not so wealthy people so the properties they lived in can be renovated and rented out to the better paid and more upper class workers of companies like Google and Facebook. By the way, many of those poor families happen to be Latino. From the AlterNet article, "The marketing materials make clear that the intention is to “rebrand” and “revitalize” the property, raise the rents and attract “young working professionals” employed at “Google, Facebook, and other Fortune 100 tech companies.”
  • TruthDig had this headline last week: "America Treats Most Academic Faculty Like Peons, and the Results Are Not Pretty." Allow me to fix that: "America Treats Its Adjunct Faculty Like Peons, and the Results Are Not Pretty." There you go, because let  us be honest, full time faculty on tenure or the tenure line do fine for the most part with a steady job, income, and other perks and privileges of their position. Adjuncts are basically the exploited not quite slave labor higher education uses without shame to do the teaching that needs doing but the full timers often do not want to do. I bet if slavery came back, higher education would buy up adjuncts as slaves to teach the way ancient Greek slaves tutored the children of the Roman Empire. In case you need an example of how higher education treats adjuncts like disposable tools, let me remind you of Margaret Mary. That other story is via The Pittsburgh Gazette.

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