Closing Thought–23Feb21

As the pandemic rages we hear horror stories from every angle…..the cases, the deaths, the job losses, etc……but there is one aspect of life now here in the US that gets very little airtime or ink…..the situation of homelessness.

AS more and more people are losing a job….they are resulting into extreme living conditions….

For months, Nicholas Atencio and his girlfriend, Heather Surovik, spent nearly every minute of their lives together in a 2000 Cadillac Escalade.

After Atencio, 33, lost his job as a plumber in May, he and Surovik, 36, delivered for Grubhub by day and at night curled up with their puppy on an air bed in the back of their car parked in a lot in Longmont, Colorado, dreaming of being reunited under one roof with Surovik’s teenage son who was living with his grandmother.

“I’m a mom, so I want to fix everything and make it better,” Surovik said. “It’s hard when you don’t have the means to do that when you can’t do anything because you don’t have anything.”

Americans are being driven into their vehicles by COVID-19 pandemic-fueled woes. And their ranks are likely to grow as the government safety net frays and evictions and foreclosures rise.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/02/12/covid-unemployment-layoffs-foreclosure-eviction-homeless-car-rv/6713901002/

It is time that the government address homelessness in all phases…..ignoring the problem has not solved it.

Americans do not want to know about this situation…..for it flies in the face of all the propaganda that they are bombarded with every day.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Today’s Veterans Need Help!

I have been an antiwar person since 1970 and have been writing about the crappy treatment this country gives to its veterans that they pretend to cherish so much…..I have been writing about the plight of our troops and veterans since 9/11.

I first went to a Veterans Health Administration hospital for treatment in 1981, when I was assigned to civilian graduate school in the Boston area and no active-duty option was available. In the words of Ernest Hemingway, it was a “clean, well-lighted place,” not fancy but very functional. The medical teams were good at their jobs, and after a painful procedure or two, my problems were resolved. It left a lasting, positive impression of the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Decades later, my daughter required a medical determination after her time on active duty as a Navy nurse. While there was a fair amount of red tape as she moved out of active duty and came under VA auspices, it was again a positive experience overall. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-12-16/iraq-and-afghanistan-veterans-need-help-with-jobs-health-care

These god forsaken endless wars are not solving any problems and creating more than the government is willing to solve.

War: Good for few, bad for most by Carlos Latuff | ArtWanted.com

We all pretend that being a vet is something special……but that is a lie.  We pretend that they are the saviors of our system….so we can justify the horrible treatment that they receive from the country they are protecting…..we blame the “other side” for the lack of benefits for our veterans…..that is easier than demanding that the vets get what this country owes them…..

This is not a new problem or a new bitch for me…..it has been occurring since Vietnam and just gets worse the more prosperous this country becomes….

Just a sampling of my thoughts on the lack of concern for our veterans….

https://lobotero.com/2017/11/13/americas-dis-regard-for-its-soldiers-and-veterans/

https://lobotero.com/2016/08/30/how-veterans-are-losing-the-war-at-home/

https://lobotero.com/2015/06/22/veterans-screwed-again/

There are many more on IST….just go and look around….

We say “thank you” for your service when we mean thanx for going so my kid can stay home and be a worthless lump of crap.

Kevin Larmee_anti-war art_antiwar__jesus_Protester.jpg Drawing by Kevin  Larmee | Artmajeur

If you truly want to thank the Veterans then demand and demand again that they get the benefits they were promised for service this country in our time of need.

That would be a “thank you” that veterans would appreciate.

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“lego ergo scribo”

A Look At That Great Economy

Trump keeps telling the people of the US that this economy is great and that we all will be on easy street soon enough……(well that part was me being sarcastic…..

I would like to know where it is so great.

Jobless rates are still not good……even the last numbers were not so great….

New unemployment data came out Thursday morning, and the numbers are not sitting well with Wall Street investors. The Labor Department says 898,000 people applied for jobless benefits last week, exceeding estimates by about 70,000, reports CNBC. The figure is up more than 50,000 from the previous week and is the highest since August. The stock market opened an hour after the report came out, with the Dow down about 300 points in the early going, or roughly 1%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were down similar percentages.

“Given that we’re seven months into the pandemic now, these are still incredibly high numbers for initial claims,” AnnElizabeth Konkel of the job site Indeed tells the Wall Street Journal. Also contributing to the sour mood on Wall Street is the increase in COVID cases and continuing uncertainty about whether lawmakers in DC will be able to settle on a coronavirus relief package, per the Journal.

What part of unemployment is great for us mere mortals?

The threat of a massive new round of layoffs looms. Officials in Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, announced a new operating budget this week that includes the elimination of 659 jobs, including 130 health workers in the midst of a pandemic. Rutgers University is planning additional layoffs after the 900 layoffs and 6,400 furloughs it has already implemented. The Tropicana casino and resort in Las Vegas announced 828 layoffs while Rochester, New York schools are cutting 200 non-teaching personnel.

The predictable result of this has been hardship and poverty for millions of unemployed or partially employed workers. Several new studies have shown a significant growth in poverty, particularly in the period after the expiration of the $600 weekly unemployment supplement at the end of July.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/10/16/jobs-o16.html

Then there are those markets…..the game that only the wealthy get to play…..seems they are in a bit of a funk as well….

After last week’s strong performance, the stock market now can’t find any forward momentum. On Thursday, the Dow fell 19 points to 28,494, the S&P fell 5 points to 3,483, and the Nasdaq fell 54 points to 11,713. Worse-than-expected unemployment data, rising pessimism about a coronavirus deal in DC, and a continued rise in cases in the US and around the world were blamed for the market malaise, report the Wall Street Journal and the AP.

“The stimulus talk continues to be a little negative, and the virus outbreak in Europe that’s going to probably cause more shutdowns in various cities and countries, that’s a little bit of a negative, too,” said Scott Wren of the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. The day started out even worse, with the Dow falling about 300 points, though the selloff eased considerably in afternoon trading.

What do you think 8 million people think of this “great economy”?

The world’s poor have been hit the hardest by the pandemic—and in the US, that group includes 6 million to 8 million more people than it did a few months ago, according to two studies released this week. Columbia University researchers found that the number of poor people in the US actually fell in the early months of the crisis, when the $2 trillion Cares Act provided $1,200 stimulus checks and an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits, but the gains were reversed as aid dried up, causing 8 million people to fall into poverty since May, reports the New York Times. Researchers from Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, who measured income by year instead of by month, put the number at 6 million, including 2.5 million children.

“These numbers are very concerning,” University of Chicago economist Bruce D. Meyer tells the Times. “They tell us people are having a lot more trouble paying their bills, paying their rent, putting food on the table.” The studies found that Black and Latino Americans are around twice as likely to be in poverty as white Americans. Authors of both studies found that the Cares Act had been extremely successful in keeping people out of poverty and urged Congress to consider their research when crafting future stimulus programs, the Guardian reports. “The Cares Act was very successful,” says Columbia researcher Christopher Wimer. “But one of its shortcomings was its temporary nature.”

What part of this with less than 3 weeks until the election talks of a better day to come?

My question is do the voters truly give a shit about their fellow Americans?

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“lego ergo scribo”

Will Workers Be Protected?

This pandemic has shove unemployment up the worker’s butt and broke off……but Congress decided to step in an extend unemployment and try to help save the lives of laid off workers.

The problem is the bill that protected the workers is due to expire on 25 July, the CARES Act…….once it expires will Congress step up and protect workers again or will they decide to screw them hard like they do most of the time?

Some 25 million US workers are facing a reduction or outright elimination of a $600 weekly federal addition to state unemployment benefits when the supplemental payment authorized by Congress under the CARES Act expires on July 25.

In the midst of a raging pandemic and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with at least 30 million out of work and new jobless claims surpassing one million a week, the supplement is all that has been keeping many families above water. Coinciding with the impending end of a federal moratorium on evictions and the expiration of state moratoriums, the cut in jobless pay will propel millions into destitution and homelessness.

One survey found that 37 percent of renters and 26 percent of homeowners feared they could be homeless by the end of the year. Researchers at Columbia University say they expect US homelessness to increase by 45 percent compared to 2019.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/21/pers-j21.html

Since Congress only worries about party politics and could care less of the plight of the workers….I think they will find a way to screw those people that need help (as always)…..even economists see the need to extend the Act even the need to expand it a bit….

Congress is back in session, and it has a weighty task before it — figuring out what to do about the economy as COVID-19 infections spike across the country and states roll back their reopenings. One central point of tension: the $600-per-week supplemental unemployment insurance benefit that was enacted in March as part of the CARES Act and is set to expire on July 31.

Democrats have proposed extending the payment until jobless rates in states fall below a certain threshold. Republicans, meanwhile, are leery of continuing the full payments, saying they will discourage people from returning to work. And it’s true that research has shown that many workers are making more money on the beefed-up benefits than they would be at their old jobs.

Economists Think Congress Should Keep Paying Unemployed Workers $600 A Week — Or Even More

Time to end these damn wars and use the money saved where it is most needed…..in this country to help those that are paying for the wars.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

But Markets Are Booming!

We hear every day just how the markets are doing (that would be stock markets not the food markets…although they are doing well as well with the increase in prices….you know profits are far more important than the well being of the people)…..

But reality is a lot different than the Fantasy that if markets are up then the economy is in great shape……that is a stupid statement that keeps getting regurgitated day after day……

Ask the 47% workers that are unemployed.

According to newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, 47.2 percent of working-age Americans were without work in May, the highest level recorded since the end of World War II.

The numbers are based on the BLS employment-population ratio, which takes the total labor force and divides it by the number of those actually working. It is a more accurate measure of joblessness than the monthly unemployment report, which only counts those actively seeking work.

At the end of May the employment-population ratio stood at 52.8 percent; it stood at 61.2 percent at the start of the year. The employment-population ratio reached a postwar high of nearly 65 percent in 2000.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/01/jobs-j01.html

Poverty is expanding….regardless what some right wing dolts try to tell you…..I have written about this some 12 years ago…..https://lobotero.com/why-poverty/

Then there is the “inequality” thing……again many years ago a blog post…..https://lobotero.com/2010/03/09/the-creeping-cancer-known-as-inequality/

The virus has done little to change the slide of the workers into poverty….and it appears that the world economy will have a bad couple of years to come thanks to the pandemic…..

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has significantly increased its forecast for the contraction in global economy, warning that it will take a cumulative $12 trillion hit over 2020–2021. Updating its forecast yesterday, the IMF said the global contraction for 2020 would be -4.9 percent, some 1.9 percentage points below the forecast it issued in April.

It said the COVID-19 pandemic “has had a more negative impact on activity on the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is expected to be more gradual than previously forecast.” Overall, this would leave 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) some 6.5 percentage points lower than the pre-pandemic projections of 2020.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/06/25/imfr-j25.html

We have an election approaching…you can help change the trajectory of the economy by voting……and it needs a change….

Trump’s nationalism is clear, but is U.S. capitalism turning nationalist too?

Broadly, U.S. employers neither think nor care much about racism. Some use it to divide employees, keep them from unifying around workplace issues, labor unions, unwanted political initiatives, etc. Most ignore it unless and until gross racism brings victims and anti-racists into the street in ways that threaten their commerce or the economic status quo. Then lip service against racism flows. Corporations make mostly cosmetic adjustments hyped by major public relations efforts. At best, a few genuine, usually marginal improvements are achieved in racial integration and the excruciatingly slow decline of institutional racism.

US global capitalist leadership of the last 50 years is now in decline

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“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–30Jun20

This pandemic has proved to be a bitch for us mere mortals……the loss of employment and such has done nothing to improve the inequalities of our system…..

The idea of a minimum income goes back as far as the 1500s…..

The idea of an unconditional basic income has three historical roots. The idea of a minimum income first appeared at the beginning of the 16th century. The idea of an unconditional one-off grant first appeared at the end of the 18th century. And the two were combined for the first time to form the idea of an unconditional basic income near the middle of the 19th century.

History of basic income

Even the US is thinking along the UBI line…..

Public support for a national universal basic income has grown significantly in the last decade, and recent studies indicate that Americans are now split with roughly equivalent support for and against UBI. Indeed, some scholars argue that the damage caused by COVID-19 has revealed a fragile and inequitable economy and that the recent one-time payment should become a regular feature to give everyone basic financial security going forward. 

Other scholars are less convinced, maintaining that partial or conditional UBI would not reduce poverty and inequality and that a system sufficiently generous to ensure a basic standard of living for all would be prohibitively expensive. These critics assert that it is more efficient for the government to invest in better quality public services and improve existing social welfare systems.  

Universal Basic Income After COVID-19

Now one country has grab the bull by the horns and worked for the people……Spain.

Spain has done something that goes a way to helping the mere mortals of the nation…….they have now a minimum income…..

Spain’s cabinet has approved the creation of a national minimum income, according to a government spokesperson.

Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth €462 (£416.92) a month will target some 850,000 households or 2.5 million people.

The government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they receive at least that minimum amount every month, he said.

The minimum income would increase with the number of family members, up to a maximum of €1,015 (£916.30) each month. The programme would cost the government about €3 billion a year.

Mr Iglesias said: “Today is a historic day for our democracy. Today this government is showing that its political choice is social justice and that it takes the [Spanish] Constitution seriously.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/spain-national-minimum-income-universal-basic-coronavirus-ubi-economy-a9538606.html

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

That Economy That We Were Promised

Trump has been promising that the US economy will make a comeback as soon as we remove ourselves from virus lockdown.

But let’s look at the economy…..(a subject that most Americans will glaze over at the mention of the issue)….

The unemployment continues…..42.6 million unemployed workers….

Continuing claims, which provide a clearer picture of how many Americans remain unemployed, totaled 21.5 million, a gain of 649,000 over the past week, also worse than Wall Street expected.

The insured unemployment rate, which is a simple measure of those collecting benefits compared with the total labor force, rose 0.5 percentage points to 14.8%.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/04/weekly-jobless-claims.html

GDP is down……

Consumption is way down…..

Why has the media not reported this story….it is an important one…

A Bloomberg analysis released Tuesday estimates that nearly a third of the unemployment benefits owed to jobless Americans have not yet been paid out, a finding critics described as a “scandal” deserving of more media attention as millions of people struggle to afford basic expenses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Treasury disbursed $146 billion in unemployment benefits in the three months through May,” Bloomberg reported. “But even that historic figure falls short of a total bill that should have reached about $214 billion for the period, according to Bloomberg calculations based on weekly unemployment filings and the average size of those claims.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/03/should-be-bigger-news-analysis-finds-nearly-one-third-owed-unemployment-benefits

The media refuses to report anything that would turn the people from believing in the system we have….

The hunger will continue because of the unemployment status…..

A poll released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week revealed that at least nine million American households that include children are unsure whether they’ll be able to access enough food in the next four weeks and millions more are experiencing housing insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bureau’s weekly Household Pulse Survey, taken between May 14 and 19, asked respondents about their loss of employment, food security, overall health, and other issues they are facing during the pandemic.

https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/over-9-million-us-families-fear-they-cant-afford-food-next-month-census-survey

There is so much fiction being passed as news these especially when it involves the economy…..some of the “news” is pure fiction and has been for many years….

One of the favorite myths they perpetrate is that ‘wages are sticky downwards’. That means that in conditions of recession or worse, because workers won’t accept lower wages the recession tends to continue. If only workers would allow wage reductions it would mean business would have more disposable income (from wage cost savings) on hand. Business would then reinvest the extra income. Investment would rise. Workers would be rehired. Wage income would then recover and the economy would grow from more investment and consumption

Two Fictions of Mainstream Economics

Sadly the ignorance around the economy for most Americans will keep the so-called “Dream” out of reach…..

Just one in five American voters want to expand government control over the economy after coronavirus, according to a new the Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.

The results come as Congress and the White House negotiate over how to continue to respond to the economic crisis around the coronavirus, amid rising unemployment and shuttering businesses.

https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/coronavirus/only-1-5-american-voters-want-expand-government-control-over-economy

Pure fantasy that the media and the government continue to push….and as usual YOU will be screwed by believing the LIES.

So when can we expect the recovery that Trump has said would be immediate once the country re-opened…..

……..how soon can we expect a recovery? There’s a range of predictions — from one year to 10 — but forecasters agree it will be slow going.

As promised!  Another lie to add to the expanding codex of lies.

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“lego ergo scribo”

What Kinda System Is This?

From the start of this pandemic I have been saying that this system is rigged and sick and needs to change for the good of the people of this nation…

Again we have 2.1 million new unemployment claims and 100,000 deaths from this virus and yet the markets rise above 25,000…..what makes the market so excited?

The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange was reopened on Tuesday morning for the first time since March 23. Among those present to celebrate the ringing of the opening bell was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who abandoned the somber demeanor of his daily coronavirus updates and shared elbow bumps with Wall Street investors. For the next six-and-a-half hours, the financial community continued its celebration of the pandemic’s bull market.

When the trading floor was closed down in March, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down to 18,000. It has since risen approximately 40 percent. Flush with trillions of dollars of bailout money provided by the CARES Act, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose yet another 530 points, an increase of 2.2 percent over its close last Friday.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/05/27/pers-m27.html

Is it the deaths (100,000+) that makes the markets optimistic?  Maybe it is the unemployed (40 million)…..or maybe the markets know that they are well protected…..(my bet is on the later)……

It is time to re-think this bullshit system for one that is good for everyone….one that gives all a fair chance to succeed.

And also when Congress can profit through insider trading the system is rigged in favor of those with the cash…..

The Justice Department has closed insider trading investigations into three senators who sold off stocks following early briefings on the coronavirus, aides told NBC News.

A spokesman for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., confirmed that she had been informed that the Justice Department had dropped an inquiry into her trades and called the allegations “politically motivated.”

“Today’s clear exoneration by the Department of Justice affirms what Senator Loeffler has said all along — she did nothing wrong. This was a politically-motivated attack shamelessly promoted by the fake news media and her political opponents. Senator Loeffler will continue to focus her full attention on delivering results for Georgians,” said the spokesman, Stephen Lawson.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/justice-department-drops-insider-trading-probes-three-senators-n1215196

I was hoping but I knew deep down the Barr and the DoJ would let this ride and protect the spineless slugs in Congress from prosecution….if you are part of the GOP and Trump’s minions you can do as you like with no retribution for bad acting…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–25May20

Today we remember our veterans and those lost in combat…..I will wait for the traditional day….

This Memorial Day eCard - Free Memorial Day Cards Online

News success for our workers (sarcasm)….nearly 40 million unemployed….

More than 2.4 million people applied for US unemployment benefits last week, per the AP. That means roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced businesses to shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday. The figure is slightly below last week’s revised total of 2.7 million claims, notes the Wall Street Journal. An additional 2.2 million people sought aid under a new federal program for self-employed, contractor, and gig workers, who are now eligible for jobless aid for the first time. The continuing stream of job cuts reflects an economy that is sinking into the worst recession since the Great Depression. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that the economy is shrinking at a 38% annual rate in the April-June quarter. That would be by far the worst quarterly contraction on record.

During April, US employers shed 20 million jobs, eliminating a decade’s worth of job growth in a single month. The unemployment rate reached 14.7%, the highest since the Depression. Millions of other people who were out of work weren’t counted as unemployed because they didn’t look for a new job.

What better time than a pandemic to lay-off health care workers…..(again…sarcasm)……

Even as American deaths from COVID-19 exceed 90,000 and frontline health care workers are needed more than ever, hospitals and other medical facilities, guided by market forces, are closing or laying off large sections of their workforces.

The US Commerce Department reported at the end of April that health care spending by consumers had dropped by 18 percent during the first quarter of 2020. This is the largest drop since records began in 1959, contributing substantially to the annualized 4.8 percent decline in US gross domestic product. Morgan Stanley forecasts a breathtaking 37.9 percent decline in GDP during the second quarter

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/05/22/hosp-m22.html

An update…..the number of deaths should read 96,000+…….

But not to worry those parasites on Wall Street are still making money hand over fist while the rest of us suffer…..

While many Americans are facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak, US billionaires saw a boost in net worth in the first two months of the pandemic, according to a new report.

According to the report, published on Thursday by the left-leaning think tanks Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies, the total net worth of all US billionaires got a $434 billion boost since March 19, when many US states were placed on lockdown.

According to Forbes, 623 billionaires live in the US, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, investor Warren Buffett, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison. The report indicates that just those top five billionaires saw their wealth increase by a total of $75.5 billion, or 19%. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/us-billionaires-434-billion-richer-during-pandemic-report-2020-5

Ain’t an oligarchy great?  (Once again…..sarcasm)….

Sorry for the bad news…..someone has to tell you since the government does not want to….

Be Well….Be Safe….Be Informed

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–18May20

It is sad enough that 30 million people are unemployed and having to subsist on the unemployment benefits to make ends almost meet…….now there are those that are committing fraud over these benefits and NO it is not some persons in this country….Nigeria is the culprit.

If you thought the Nigerian prince scam was all there was….then think again……

The Secret Service has detected a large-scale foreign attack on the U.S. unemployment system that is processing record numbers of jobless claims amid the pandemic, according to The New York Times

In a Secret Service memo obtained by the Times, the agency described the attack as a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring that could lead to “potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“We are actively running down every lead we are getting,” Roy Dotson, a special agent who specializes in financial fraud at the Secret Service, said in an interview with investigators obtained by the Times. 

https://thehill.com/homenews/news/498160-secret-service-unearths-overseas-fraud-ring-stealing-millions-in-unemployment

It is sad that fraudsters use the pandemic to enrich themselves.

My opinion is these people are worse than lowly slugs and should be punished harshly.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”