Friday, November 21, 2008


It's pretty astonishing to see the way things are changing quickly & dramatically, with the economic downturn.
• Locally, there have been 21 bank robberies since September 1. 

• The county is lacking funds, so they had to shut down a few hundred jail beds, which means many criminals brought to prison, some for serious crimes, are being released the same day, because they don't have jail space. 

• Mr. Ramblings workplace handed out paychecks and pink slips. Don't even know how many more got the axe, but they were already running 2x the work with 1/2 the people. We survived the cut, but it is getting grim & bleak. I can't remember if this is the 4th or 5th wave of lay offs.
They did this one as a sort of "Friday surprise", thereby dodged having to do a press release, or state how many more lost jobs. 

• My workplace has geared up to do a hiring twice, and then reversed course and decided to not hire, because business is slow, and lots of folks are cancelling travel plans. Employees could volunteer to work a 4 day workweek, and sign up daily to be able to leave if things are slow. 

• The State of Oregon has lost 14,100 jobs in September, and the jobless rate is up to 7.3%.
They are officially calling it a recession.

• Oregon's hunger rate is among the highest in the country. 

• Nationwide, unemployment is projected to hit 8%. 

• Foreclosures up 25% in October, nationwide. 

• Unemployment claims hit a 16 year high as 1.2 million U.S. jobs vanish in 2008. 

• If the US auto industry tanks, thousands, perhaps millions of jobs lost. 

• Stores are offering 60% markdowns in November, in a slumped market. Those consumers are just not consuming as the economy gets more frightening & unstable by the day.  Likely lots of stores will go under with a flatlined Xmas sales margin. 

In "happier news"~

• Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac suspend holiday foreclosures.  No Grinch arriving at Tiny Tim's house between Nov 26 and Jan 9.  About 10,000 households will be affected under Fannie, and Freddie about 6,000 borrowers facing foreclosure.  they will then evaluate if they qualify under a foreclosure bailout. 

• Crude oil $48.50 a barrel. I don't know about you, but when gas prices soared, we cut back on driving. Gas has dropped to under $2 bucks a gallon in some place. Not so long ago it was $4.69 a gallon. 

• Heinz ketchup and product sales are up- because more people are eating at home. Smuckers jams & jellies are selling more too.  People are eating more peanut butter & jelly these days. 
Remember- Ronald Reagan declared ketchup a vegetable!

• In densely populated areas, UPS will set up PODS to store bulk packages,  & have carriers ride bikes with trailers to make deliveries. They expect to save $38,000 by using bikes. 

In closing, I know pointing blame does no good, but it is important to recognize who is responsible for this mess. I've already heard pundits blaming Obama for the financial recession, crisis, call it what you will. George W. Bush was driving this bus, he was the decider, and had on his resume 2 previous bankruptcies as a result of his "leadership". For the record, it is Bush, through his ineptitude, who drove this country to it's knees, and into bankruptcy, on so many levels.


Spadoman said...

I don't have to work for wages because I am a disabled Veteran, but the VA has notified me that they will be reviewing my case. That means, I have to be seen by doctors and assessed as to the extent of my disability justifies me getting a disability check, or making it less than I am already receiving.

The thing is, my "award" says my disability is "Total and Permanent in nature" I guess permanent means they will fuck me over if they want to. The slowdown and pinching of money is hitting everyone. I am worried I may lose some or all of my disability. If so, I rejoin the workforce. If I have to do that, I have no idea what I will do, but last time I worked, I ended up in a hospital emergency room with chest pains, (angina). My little old heart operates at 65% capacity, so, pushing carts at Wally World is out of the question. Maybe I can sit at a desk at the VA and ignore Veterans that come in for services, that's what they do for me.

My daughter is also facing a massive lay off. She won't know if she will lose her job until after Dec. 1st. Merry Christmas to her from a large corporation. Avis/Budget Car Rental, where she is a district accident services manager.

At least gas is cheaper. I paid $1.70&9/10. And the heating season is holding off so it is saving me on the heat bill so far. Always a concern here in the Northland.

hang in there, we have your back. We're all in this together.

Peace to All.

Fran said...

Spado! I sure hope they don't start messing with Vets benefits as a way to find cost savings. Caring for Vets is a part of the responsibility they assumed when they decided to have wars & soldiers, it's not about wreath placing ceremonies on select holidays & lip service. I remember NPR hosting a discussion that not only had Bush underestimated the length & cost of war, he did not put Veterans care in the equation at ALL. They saw this coming years ago.
Sounds like you may need a lawyer to remind them about the "Total and Permanent in nature" aspect of your claim, designation. Maybe the ACLU would take it on?

Bush was so totally unqualified for the job he's held & no one else stopped him. We are going to suffer the consequences of his admin for many years.

I am thankful our workplace is allowing employees to cut back hours, rather than lose their jobs. Most people are pretty happy to get the hell outta there for a break, myself included. I tried to ditch weekend shifts, but got Mondays off instead. So till the end of the year, I will have 3 day weekends, on M-T-W.

Mr Ramblings says, although he's so swamped with an unrealistic expectation, his job feels like a pressure cooker, now that they let go his co worker in his department,.... he will be expected to do both jobs.
Is there such a thing as unrealistic x2?

It's no joke because there is all this stress, people lined up wanting things yesterday, and that gut concern about when will the next cuts come.

I hope your daughter is spared the massive layoff, but winter & holidays are the worst time for those cuts to come. At least she has a little advance notice, some places say nothing & just lock the door & put up a sign one day, saying "out of business" & that's all the notification the employees get-- a locked door as they arrive to come to work.

People that had retirements tied to the Stock Market are taking it in the shorts. Buh bye retirement savings.

I just have a dinky account that is small potatoes, but that was all I had, so all the worker bees who tried to be responsible & save a little for retirement are screwed. In fact I am thinking of pulling out of the 401k contributions in '09 myself.
Better I set aside & manage my own money, than let the Wall Street Bozos squander it.

Pretty much going to skip Xmas buying stuff this year entirely. The kids are adults, & we all have what we need. The only purchase would be plane tickets to go visit Grandpa.

That may be the silver lining of all this, people will be forced to become more practical, step away from the consumerism, and live a more simple life. For the people already doing that, there is just nothing TO cut back on, without it being really painful & difficult.

Heck-of-a-job, George

Christopher said...

There's a report going around that says by 2025, the U.S. will see its influence continue to decline as nations like China and India reposition themselves into number one and number two spots.

By 2025, this report says food and water will become increasingly scarce and unstable nations will acquire nukes at an alarming rate.

The past 8 years have been squandered. We have missed so many opportunities to use our power and influence in a position manner.

Wasn't it Bush who said shortly after five banana Republicans in black robes on the SCOTUS installed him in the White House that "the adults were in charge now?"

Expectations for Obama to clean this mess up are high and yet I don't see how he can do everything in a single term. The problems in this nation are myriad and systemic. No matter where you throw the dart, it lands on a problem.

Fran said...

Christopher, I always thought those kinds of doom & gloom predictions were over the top, but now it seems feasible. With power hungry leaders, and irresponsible planetary stewardship we could squander our planet, and this country will have to work hard to pull itself up by it's bootstraps.
It's been such a gravy train for the upper crust, they will have to get into a different mindset. With all that blathering about Country First, are the oober wealthy really prepared to do what it takes, pay more taxes, takes less and give more , overall.

Even if we don't accrue more debt, the interest that has to be paid on a trillion dollar debt is huge.
I sure don't expect Obama to be able to fix that any time soon. People want to see perks and fixes-- they are not impressed with seeing the debt go down. The next generation will still be digging out of that.

Instead of the Adults being in charge now, it is more like the Unqualified Criminals are in charge.

Your closing line rings true.

Bush pretty much ignored the economy & the needs of the people in his 2 terms. So pulling the plug & funding on the Iraq war will infuse some cash back into the country.

The Middle East has always been unstable & nothing we do will change that. Actually Bush made it worse.

There is nothing to be won in Afghansitan either.
We can ill afford throwing any more money down the hole of war.

At least Obama can stop the Iraq war, shut down Gitmo, and throw out a bunch of signing statements.

Keeping jobs in the US, and keeping people from foreclosing & being homeless is a huge deal. What do the fricking lenders care if a person pay their mortgage back in less time or not- in fact they often make MORE profit by the longer loans, because the payee pays more interest on the loan over time.

They got greedy & sloppy & took big gambles & lost.

Maybe they should add credit and loan 101 to the required education system curriculum as well.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Predatory lenders duped people selling funky loans, but it is also a matter of Buyer Beware.
I don't blame the buyers for the mess, there was junk mortgage bargaining going on, people were given loans who did not qualify, or set up to fail.

Somuch to fix!!!

Mauigirl said...

Things sure are pretty bleak. The idea of the Republicans blaming Obama for the recession is laughable. Luckily most Americans aren't going to buy that. Only the 28% who still approved of the job Bush was doing.

My old company that just sold off our division also laid off a whole bunch of people a few weeks ago. Made me glad that they'd sold us!

Fran said...

Hi Maui~ Hard to believe 28% APPROVE? WTF???
I can't think of ONE GOOD thing Bush has done.... and now with the economy tanking, they still think he's doing a good job?

These people must need the 5000 pound Anvil dropped on their heads....

I'll call Acme.....

D.K. Raed said...

The absolute nerve to call this an Obama recession. Alternate reality! But then I don't know why I should be surprised. These are the same people that referred to the surplus Clinton handed Bush as "Clinton's recession". Obviously you can't talk sense to sick minds.

Fran said...

Yea DK-- Bush HAS an approval rating???
How could he?

Dada said...

Fran: This is an excellent blog. I wish I could say, "Because of all the good news!" but, alas, for precisely the opposite.

We all need to see some of the dire stats and how they are affecting the lives of far too many now and that will inevitably end up impacting us all.

Thanks for the personal, and the Oregon, angle.

Fran said...

Dada~ I could not help but notice shit was hitting the fan in all directions. I don't understand why the media fails to call it what it is- a recession.
At least Statewide they have recognized the reality.
Just heard a few more banks went under in California, last week.
It's getting pretty serious.
But let there be no doubt- Bush took us to this place.
No laying the blame anywhere else.

Fran said...

Just heard on the news, it was 100 people who got pink slipped on friday @ Mr. Ramblings workplace.

Citibank is getting rescued to the tune of $300 billion.
That's a big chunk of change.

How long can we keep going at this pace???

Christopher said...

Yep, $306 Billion bailout for CitiGroup which employs roughly 350,000 people.

The Big Three Automakers were sent packing with a list of conditions despite the fact they were only asking for a small fraction of the amount CitiGroup will receive -- $25 billion and employ more than 3 million Americans directly.

Too bad the next head of Treasury has ties to Wall Street too.

Fran said...

Rough times ahead.