Friday, April 21, 2017

Signs the Economy is Bad: April 21, 2017 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 have a bit of everything this week from pandas to toilet paper thieves to things happening in higher education, so let's get on with it.

  • Farmers are not always doing well, but it seems that voting for the Pendejo in Chief did them no favors. Story via TeleSur. 
  • And speaking of rural areas, there are some small rural towns like this one in North Carolina where the economy is so bad they cannot afford their local government, so they are disbanding the town. Story via The Rural Blog.
  • Now one way bigger cities are keeping the lights on and government working is by using traffic fines to build revenue. They do not always do it honestly or fairly as this report attests of cities basically fiddling with traffic light timers to make sure they can issue more tickets. Public safety? Eff that, they just want money. Story via AlterNet.
  • There has been a drop of international tourism to the U.S. at a cost of at least $7 billion dollars. Why? The Pendejo in Chief, that's why. Now I know most members of the Party of Stupid could not care less about foreigners, but $7 billion dollars could at least buy you a nice Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. I am not using metrics like how many Meals on Wheels that could provide or such since I am trying to use terms those people will understand. Story via AlterNet.
  • Heck, even Mexican vacationers are opting for Canada rather than the United States, costing the U.S. at least $1.6 billion dollars in tourism. For that amount, you can probably buy a few military aircraft to put on your awesome aircraft carrier. Story via Counter Current News
  • Newspaper jobs are in decline. That is not really news, but it was in the news recently again. Story via Mashable.
  • Another recent statement of the obvious in the news: malls are dying. This time via The Week
  • This story caught my eye in part because I recently finished reading Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. In the book, he makes the claim that many if not most of the line cooks in NYC restaurants, who happen to be Ecuadorian, are actually pretty well paid for the hard work they do. However, it seems those guys may be the exception rather than the rule given the slave conditions that exist in most of the U.S. and bar industry overall, especially in exploiting immigrants. Story via NPR. I am not necessarily questioning Bourdain's claim, but odds are good that aside from those specialists (the cooks), the rest of the peons do get exploited even in the fancy restaurants. 
  • Apparently more people are defaulting on the auto version of subprime loans. Story via The Washington Post
  • In some cities, the rental market is so bad that websites are springing up to get potential tenants to basically bid on rent price for apartments. I guess the best I can say here is may the odds be ever in your favor. Story via Boing Boing.
  • Let's take a look next at how the bad economy is hitting higher education: 
    • VICE has a look at why it is so hard to discharge student loans in  bankruptcy. Worth a read, but the nutshell is that lobbyists and banks made sure that was the case so they would not suffer losses, thus creating a permanent indentured/slave class in the United States. 
    • You can tell colleges and universities have hierarchies between the faculty and the rest of the peons the faculty feel contempt for but need to provide support operations. In a recent survey, faculty worry about their retirement (if they can afford it, if they will outlive the funds, so on) while staff worry more about paying the daily bills and living day to day on the meager pay they probably get in comparison to faculty. No one apparently asked adjuncts. Story via Inside Higher Ed
    • For some college students, mainly the attractive ones let's be honest here and more likely females than males, getting a sugar daddy is the option to avoid getting student loans and other debt while in college. Get a really good sugar daddy (or sugar mama if you are a handsome guy), and you may get your tuition and more paid if done right. Story via Inside Higher Ed.
    • For at least one college, the way to cope with  the bad economy is to eliminate their natural history museum so they can expand their running track. They got their priorities straight. Story via The Washington Post
  • The bad economy may get worse for some men: they may end up working in female-dominated profession. Personally, I am secure enough I could not care less (I work in librarianship), but not every guy is as secure. What kind of jobs? Well, health care has a lot of those jobs ranging from health assistants and nursing home assistants to nursing. Notice that you likely get the better paying jobs with more education in many instances. Story via USA Today
  • Need some medical care and American health care is too expensive? We have talked about medical tourism here on the blog before. The latest possible destination? China is setting up a special area for medical tourists. Story via Boing Boing.
  • Speaking of China, apparently some people are so desperate that they are stealing toilet paper rolls from public places, and their government is taking measures to thwart the thieves. Story via Mental Floss.
Now let's go see who may be doing well in the bad economy and also let's take a look at the world of the uber rich:

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