Last month the unemployment rate rose. The governmental unemployment rate.
In short, enough people lost their jobs and actually went to the government to declare this fact. Which means a lot of people lost their jobs, period.
Meanwhile a lot of stores have been closing down. Not just the “Mall Stores” Restaurants have been closing down like crazy, as well. A Long-Standing (Okay, been around NW Indiana longer than I have) Mexican Restaurant closed its doors, along with quite a few along US 30 and a couple other areas. Elsewhere, a few restaurants have added hours long unused (one place now open Sundays, another expanded their their hours closer to dinner hours).
Meanwhile home sales have fallen through the floor, so much so that the government has had to save a bunch of banks. You’ve heard about the recent actions to save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Sallie Mae is still solvent. Make of it what you will.); and while “I’m preparing to foot the bill,” I’m not sure I have enough KY Jelly to do a proper preparation.
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So what’s the linkages in all this? The “Service Economy,” or our basing our economy on consumer consumption.
Think of it: If you base the health of your economy on how much people are buying, you’re going to do everything to make people buy stuff. Credit suddenly becomes big, and easy credit becomes the ticket towards a bigger economy (I’ve heard and read that $1.00 can be multiplied to $8 or $9, if not more, by loaning it out to people everywhere). Stores suddenly become more important than other places, malls become Meccas and Brands take on religious meanings (Apple, anyone?).
Question is, what happens when the credit runs out and people no longer are able to spend what they need to?
Here’s a hidden secret behind the malaise of this economy: Credit has an impact of depressing the amount of money usable for purchase later on. Think of it: If what I’m purchasing for $1,000 now has a total cost of $1,100, that’s $100 dollars that didn’t go towards other items. Maybe we’re talking about a choice of Wonder Bread vs a brand made with multiple grains. Maybe it’s some clothes that didn’t get purchased because that $100 needed to be used on interest relief. Maybe it’s money not saved because of a necessary purchase.
And when that money needs to go for necessities, we’re talking about people forced to pay off today with tomorrow. Present/furure money that could go towards savings or improving one’s life is forced to cover for present/past money that wasn’t there when needed.
I know of no better definition of wage-slavery. I also know of no better way of making people accept wage-inflation.
And when people are forced to pay off the past with their present income, their wages had better have improved over what they earned, more than even the rate of inflation. Otherwise we’re going to see what’s now happening: Store closings, restaurant closings, increasing unemployment and a sluggish economy that has its money going to people whose sole reason for making money is that they lent some money out months/years ago, expecting interest.
Is it any wonder people have hated banks? Is it any wonder religions have railed against usury (to the point that one, Islam, has banned loans at interest)? Is it any wonder people rail for the gold standard (I’ve always been a bit leery of this, probably because I doubt that a gold standard ALONE would cure this country’s ills).