Tighten your shoes, America. It is a long walk home.
Poster iamkeithhernandez. (HT: Business Insider.com)
On 20 SEP 2010, it was quite the jolly sales call at the Ministry of Economic Propaganda known as CNBC. None other than President Barack Obama was there to tell us how grateful we should be for not being dead after Recovery Summer. CNBC had vetted the audience in advance to make sure the questions would elicit answers conducive to the continued ramping of an already overbought and illogically priced equity market.
Me even sort of liked. Barack may be a lying jerk, but this time he was supposed to lie and help prop up my little boy’s 529 and my retirement account. We could all use a little more of that sort of dishonesty from the Waff…, oops I mean White House.
But then, as they say at the theatre, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. An Ebola-like eruption of frustration and honesty burst loose. The vetted audience forgot their lines. Or perhaps, “Moo, mooooo. Bah, baaahh” didn’t properly represent their economic sentiments. Mrs. Velma Hart, in the proud tradition of American combat veterans, offered up the condign disdain in the face of false-enthusiasm, male bovine scatology.
Quite frankly, I’m exhausted – I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I have been told that I voted for a man who said was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I’m one of those people and I’m waiting, sir. I’m waiting. I don’t feel it yet. And I thought while it wouldn’t be in great measure, I’d feel it in some small measure. I have two children in private school and the financial recession has taken an enormous toll on my family. My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs and beans era of our lives, but, quite frankly, it’s starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we’re headed again, and, quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly. Is this my new reality?
That story, that woman’s story, brought this entire fiasco home to me in a way that even I could have empathy towards. Not to make like the current pResident, and write another overrated autobiography, but Velma Hart is a lot more like me than she would ever willingly admit. My wife and I also have children. We also defer spending on things we would like for the betterment of our offspring. We brought them in, we are morally obligated to keep this evil, and carnivorous world from taking them out.
My little boy goes to a local Montessori School, takes music and swimming lessons, and gets new everything – any time he really needs it. I drive a beat up Ford Focus that has long since passed the point where it would dominate an informal drag race. It doesn’t perform, it successfully runs. It also doesn’t air condition, but the windows do still roll down and a lot of my commute is on limited access highways with a fast speed limit.
So my wife and I, like poor Velma and her Gentleman, have had to make a few choices as to what we would rather give up. I’d like to hope and believe I’ve chosen as effectively for mine as Mrs. Hart has for her family. But it was just the other day that I really and truly had an opportunity to walk in this poor lady’s shoes.
I was driving home from work and my (Fill in the choice expletive of your preference) Focus made some bizarre noises. The engine made an unnatural sound that would have caused Mario Andretti to visit pit row. The tachometer dropped, although I wasn’t slowing down. My first concern was whether I had enough to pay another (insert different well-chosen expletive) car bill. I truly got the New Normal. I was at one with my recessionary brothers.
The story has a happy non-ending. The engine resumed proper function. I got home without any idiot lights lighting up. I’ll skim by another month or so with my Focus not quite dying on me yet….
But what comes next? Where is the end game? A law graduate brought in to wave the pom-poms and say “Fornicate, Yeah!” for Team America brought up that concern.
A recent law school graduate, Ted Brassfield, told Mr. Obama that he had hoped to pursue a career in public service, like Obama himself, but said he could barely pay the interest on his student loans, let alone think of getting married or starting a family. “I was really inspired by you and your campaign and the message you brought,” Brassfield said, “and that inspiration is dying away. And I really want to know, is the American dream dead for me?”
(HT: Commentary Magazine, OB. Cit.)
Which brings us to today’s jobless numbers. They are not behaving and seemed not to relax after their most recent massage. The “Expected” total was 450,000, the actual print was 465,000. I wonder what the spin from Business Insider.com would read on my beloved Ford Focus’ tachometer?
So we're back in initial jobless claims limbo. The bears can point to a figure that remains painfully high, while the bulls can show how the data still appears to be on a long-term recovery track, though an extremely slow one.
-Vince Fernando (HT: Business Insider.com)
Perhaps, despite the mendacious intent, there is some truth contained in the shovel-ready commentary above. We are in limbo. It’s The Hotel California Recession. The NBER can check out anytime it likes; Velma Hart and the rest of us never get to leave. One of these days, I swear it up and down, I’m hauling that $^%@#*@ Fucus to the junkyard. Otherwise, one unhappy day; just as iamkeithhernandez suggested, I’ll be tightening my shoes…
P.S. And now that overplayed Progressive Rock anthem I mentioned above is in my head. So here goes, in honor of our current recession!
’relax,’ said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!
- The Eagles (HT: Lyrics007.com)
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