Friday, April 06, 2018

Signs the economy is bad: April 6, 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.

I was not sure that I was going to have enough stories for this week, but the news were more than happy to provide. So here we go.

  • The big news in the Bad Economy continue to be the Pendejo In Chief doing a game of chicken with the Chinese over tariffs. Nothing has been done yet. As of this writing, it is mostly threats, but things can escalate quite quickly, and the Chinese have made some moves.  In the meantime, all sorts of stories of collateral damage and natural consequences are surfacing, such as: 
    • Red-State voters, i.e. Party of Stupid conservative supporters of the Pendejo In Chief are starting to panic. Story via AlterNet. All of a sudden, they are starting to realize that unlike their leader, the Chinese play long term and they actually know strategy. They are targeting their retaliatory tariffs to products and places made in Red USA. I do not know what they are complaining about. They voted for the guy on  the basis of him doing what he said he would do, and the  Pendejo In Chief is doing exactly what he said he would do. 
    • However, not all the trade war is with  China. Who else gets their imports into the U.S. hit hard by tariffs? Pretty much a lot of South Asia. Story via Pew Research.
  •  Wealth shock can send you to an early grave. Story via Inc. So what is wealth shock? According to the article, "Middle-aged Americans who experienced a sudden, large economic blow were more likely to die during the following years than those who didn't. The heightened danger of death after a devastating loss, which researchers called a 'wealth shock,' crossed socio-economic lines, affecting people no matter how much money they had to start." So, what could cause some "wealth schock"? Well, a sudden catastrophic medical emergency in the United States that, if you survived it, left you bankrupt and destitute would qualify. One of those pesky details of not having universal health care like the rest of the civilized world. 
  • Meanwhile, in rural communities, hospitals continue to close. Story via The Rural Blog. Hmm, rural communities, a.k.a. the places that overwhelmingly voted for the Pendejo In Chief and keep voting for the Party of Stupid. I guess health care must not be that big a deal there. However, according to the article, these hospital closures could force some of those states to implement Medicaid expansions. We shall see. 
  • In education news: 
    • In Oklahoma and Kentucky, teachers are staging protests and walking out of classrooms to demand better pay and conditions. In Oklahoma, Kentucky, and many parts of the U.S., teachers face a choice: love your job or leave it to make living wage. Story via Reuters.
    • Meanwhile, college students continue to starve and suffer food insecurity.Story via Inside Higher Ed.
    • Inside Higher Ed also reports that the Urban Institute has a new tool to track student loan debt geographically. 
  • The Food Politics blog reports and comments on the USDA releasing the 2018 U.S. Food Assistance overview (the document link is a PDF). 
  • Meanwhile, we all know Walmart is notorious for paying their workers so badly that they have to take food assistance and other government help. Well, Amazon is pretty much just as bad and exploitative as illustrated by the fact that at least ten percent of their workers in Ohio rely on  SNAP. Story via Project Censored. So keep that in mind when you happily click buy on your latest Amazon purchase. Bezos may be beyond rich, but he did it on the  back of his barely fed and lowly paid workers. 
  • Meanwhile, in Mexico, Coca Cola and junk food are messing up local diets and health. In fact, in Mexico, Coca Cola even owns and runs convenience stores. Story via AlterNet.
  • And in news of U.S. military incompetence, it turns out the Pentagon has lost track of $496 million dollars for its African operations. How the fuck do you lose that much money? According to the article, "the Inspector General’s assessment implies that no IG, AFRICOM or CENTCOM personnel have any clue about how much money was spent, what the money was spent on, whether projects were completed, or if it made a difference in the fight against the illegal drug trade." Story via Project Censored. Ponder that one. No one who should know has a clue whatsoever. Personally, I am not surprised. This  is about consistent with U.S. military operations abroad and their financing. See also the book Arms and the Dudes (link to my review of the  book). 
  • In news of what can be hit the Millennials with now, turns out that Millennials are missing out on life because they have more debt than savings. Story via VICE. All  I got to say is gee, I can't imagine why. According to the article, "Perhaps the weirdest, saddest part of today’s survey is the presumption millennials are currently having to “delay” commonly agreed life goals, as if debt is just a temporary blip and we’ll all get there in the end." At this point, just insert sad laughter here. 
  • In a different story that I found interesting, turns out if your grandpappy fought the Nazis in World War II, he may have a few trophies and Nazi souvenirs in his home. Say he passes away, and his  descendants inherit the Nazi memorabilia. For whatever reason, they want to get rid of it and sell it maybe, but that is not as easy as easy as it sounds. Read on why. Story via VICE.
  • Finally, I will end this week with some good news. It turns out the bigoted racist white supremacists assholes of the Stormfront website are having financial problems and difficulty keeping up their website. Story via Pharyngula. What can I say? It  could not happen to a nicer bunch of guys. Once in a while the Bad  Economy does have good news.

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