Friday, March 23, 2018

Signs the economy is bad: March 23, 2018 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.

A lot has been going on since the previous edition of this feature, so let's get on with it.

  • Let's have a look at rural U.S.A.
    • Cuts in food stamps hurt rural US the most. Via The Daily Yonder. Oh well. My sympathy only goes so far given that this area overwhelmingly voted for the Pendejo In Chief and the Party of  Stupid. They are just getting what they voted for. "On the night of the 2016 presidential election, President-elect Trump walked away with 60 percent of the vote in the nation’s 2,332 rural counties."
    • A Catch-22. Hunters, via fees and taxes on things like ammunition, help fund conservation programs in wildlife areas. With less hunters due to a decline in people who hunt, conservation programs suffer from lack of funding. Story via The Rural Blog
    • In rural Texas, if you want to spend your last days  in hospice, and you live in the middle of Nowhere, Texas, it could get real difficult  for you real fast. Story via Stat News.
      • And if you think it is just in Texas, the overall economics of caring for the elderly are about to get a lot worse. Taking care of those aging Baby Boomers who ,basically took the ladder up behind them after they got all sorts of breaks in life compared to later generations, is basically the next big economic time bomb about to go off.  Via The Conversation.
    • Speaking of consequences, federal funding for studying the health effects of mountain top coal mining has been denied. Oh well. You can thank the Pendejo In Chief and the Party of Stupid for effectively killing this project. Story via The Rural Blog.
  • Let's have a look next at higher education.
    • Eastern Michigan University is cutting four varsity sports to try to make ends meet. According to the story, "The teams being eliminated are softball, men’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis, and wrestling. Cutting those teams will save $2.4 million and will eliminate intercollegiate athletic spots for 58 men and 25 women." However, they are still more than happy to keep funding their men's football team to the tune of "more than $20 million a year from its own funds to subsidize football and other NCAA Division I sports teams." Because priorities, man. Story via Inside Higher Ed.
    • Essex County College in New Jersey is "is cutting 34 positions next year as it deals with decreasing enrollment and scrutiny from its accrediting agency." Via Inside Higher Ed, other links included. 
    • Antioch College is furloughing staff and faculty. Via Inside Higher Ed.
    • Udacity, which  was known for having a money back guarantee if you could not get a job after going through their education, just decided to discontinue said guarantee. Story via Inside Higher Ed
    • And the big news this week was University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point deciding to say fuck it, we are not going to be a liberal arts type of institution anymore and axing 13 majors, "including those in anchor humanities departments such as English and history and all three of the foreign languages offered -- and, with them, faculty jobs. Tenured professors may well lose their positions." Story via Inside Higher Ed. It's not like they need higher learning. Just toss some vocational course work, call it a day. (Nothing against vocational education but let's be honest, employers today often look for skills you learn, lo and behold, in humanities and liberal arts).
  • And in other news. 
    • Given some recent company decisions, this article asks if Barnes and Noble closing stores is just a matter of time. For instance, February 12, 2018 was a Bloody Monday for a lot of their now former full time workers. Via The OASG
    • On the other hand, according to recent studies, 95% of people who go to stores basically want to be left the fuck alone by the salespeople. Story via The Week. This is one I can relate to. Nothing I hate more than going into a store, especially if I am browsing, maybe trying to make a decision on buying something, only to have two or three pesky salespeople with clearly not enough to do pestering me if I need help. If I need help, then I will then fucking ask you, or I would if I could because according to basic rules, the moment you DO need help, these "oh so helpful" sales people conveniently disappear and are nowhere to be found. And at that point, I just walk out and buy whatever I might have bought there elsewhere or online. 
    • For all the whining Baby Boomers do about Millennials, it turns out Millennials DO have plenty to complain about, especially about the mess their elders left for them. Turns out Millennials ARE way poorer than Boomers ever were. Story via VICE.
    • In fact, things are so bad for Millennials that most of them have zero (0), nothing, zilch, nada saved for retirement. There is another economic time bomb waiting to go off. Story via VICE
    • In news from abroad, Japan is facing a new problem: senior criminals. To be specific, senior women criminals. It turns out lonely old women with nowhere to go or anyone to be with are committing small crimes, enough to get them into prison. Why? Because they can find community and stability in jail. Story via Bloomberg
    • In food news, Pizza Hut is adding more cheese to their pizzas due to a cheese check off program. In other words, the dairy industry is trying to create more demand for cheese, and Pizza Hut is playing along. Story via Food Politics blog.
  • And finally, how are the uber rich doing? Well, "they’re buying blood from healthy young people to inject into sickly old fucks. . . " Yea, they are hoping to live forever via yet another apparent get rich scheme. Dr. Myers at Pharyngula goes over the details. 

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