Monday, June 15, 2015

207.7 - Clown Award: Jon Hilsenrath of the Wall Street Journal

Clown Award: Jon Hilsenrath of the Wall Street Journal

Now for one of our regular features, the Clown Award, given for meritorious stupidity.

This week the Big Red Nose goes to someone you likely never heard of, but he still matters: He is Jon Hilsenrath, chief economics correspondent of the Wall Street Journal.

At the Journal's blog on June 2, he wrote what he called, yes he did, "A letter to stingy American consumers," wondering in short "what's wrong with you?"

He whined that consumer spending didn't increase in April as compared to March and actually groused that the level of savings was up - remember when the complaint, the supposed basis of all that was wrong with the economy, was that we didn't save enough? Now it's that we save too much!

He says that "We know you experienced a terrible shock" when the economy collapsed in 2008 and all that followed from that, but, quoting him, "these shocks seem like a long time ago to us in a newsroom." In other words, aren't you over that yet?

"Do you know the American economy is counting on you?" And guess what, "The Federal Reserve is counting on you too."

We have an economy where the unemployment is still not back to where it was before the big collapse brought about by gross criminality driven by ego and sheer corporate greed and where the number of involuntary part-timers, people who are working part-time only because they cant find full-time work, has increased and is expected to stay up as the result of corporate decisions about what's most profitable.

We have a economy where there is nowhere in the country you can afford a one-bedroom apartment at minimum wage, even working full time, and nowhere in the country you can afford a two-bedroom apartment while making less than $14 an hour and in 13 states you have to earn more than $20 an hour.

We have an economy where corporations are increasingly using temporary visas known as H-1Bs to replace American technology workers with foreign workers because they will work for 25 to even 50 percent less than Americans - and the CEO-led Partnership for a New American Economy, which pushes for an overhaul of immigration laws, wants an increase in H-1B visas.

We live in an economy where there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the fact that corporate profits dropped in the first quarter of 2015, even though as one commenter pointed out that was only because of the beating energy sector profits took as the result of the drop in oil prices. Take energy out of the mix and corporate profits were up a very healthy 9.6% over the first quarter of 2014.

What's more, even after that drop, corporate profits were still at a level that would have been a record any time in the 60 years before 2008 - which was to that point, the record.

We live in an economy where despite those high profits, the 2015 Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index says that US CEOs are scaling back expansion and hiring plans for the second half of 2015 by nearly 10 percent.

We live in an economy where real median household income - actual purchasing power - is about 10% below where it was around 1999 and has continued to decline even after the "end of the recession."

In sum, we live in an economy where we are still struggling, where we are getting nowhere and have been that way for years on end, corporations are raking it in but are refusing to use that pile of cash to hire or invest but would rather lobby for a change in immigration laws allowing them to cut worker pay (and so increase profits) even more - and who is to blame for the sluggish economy?

We are! We're stingy, self-concerned, unwilling to recognize that the Federal Reserve is counting on us! We need to go out and spend spend spend, go deeper into debt, struggle harder, longer, for lower wages, after which we can be the target of another lecture about how our debt and our bankruptcies and our foreclosures are all our own fault.

And to newsroom-ensconced, isolated, overpaid twits like Jon Hilsenrath, this all makes perfect sense.

Jon Hilsenrath - and all the rest of the bozos - pure clowns.

Sources cited in links:

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