By Michael Lombardi, MBA for Profit Confidential: Mainstream stock advisors are blowing air…telling us the U.S. economy is stalling due to cold weather. They say the economic chill caused by the cold weather this year is only temporary. I don’t believe this for a moment.
Entries in Consumer (55)
Teachers are a symbol of the middle class. In California, they earn on average $69,300 annually, fifth highest in the country. Not exactly a pittance. But it is a ludicrous pittance if they’re trying to buy a home.
With over 6,400 stores in 26 countries outside the US, Walmart International has smacked into the same problems Walmart has encountered in the US: it’s tough out there.
Rising household debt would be a hopeful sign that consumers are again living beyond their means, finally spending money they don’t have in a heroic effort to stimulate Wall Street, corporate earnings, and the Fed’s self-esteem. So we jubilate. We’ve waited for it too long.
By Don Quijones: Governments are seeking to reduce cash transactions. The reasons are obvious: as most countries struggle to rein in public spending, governments are frantically surveying their surroundings for anything of value to steal or pawn.
Statistically speaking, the Fed’s heroic actions conquered the Great Recession years ago.The economy has been growing at a measurable clip, statistically speaking, with the unemployment rate inching lower over the years, though again, that’s just statistically speaking. But most Americans, struggling to make ends meet in the real economy far from the hoopla, hype, and buzz of Wall Street or Silicon Valley, have a more accurate answer.
‘Wealth Effect’: Spiffy Hotel Rooms For The 85 Richest Folks Who Own As Much As Poorest Half Of Humanity
Now that we learned that the 85 richest folks own as much as the poorest 3.5 billion, we want to know where they’re staying when they come to town for dinner. We already know where the poorest 3.5 billion are staying: in shacks, hovels, and moldy apartment blocks.
Prices for housing have jumped and rents have jumped too, yet the 38.7 million renters, 34% of all households, watched with dismay as their real wages declined. They’ve got a problem with the “wealth effect” that Bernanke held up as pretext for printing money.
Central banks rule! We’ve seen it in 2013. They’ve accomplished the impossible: separating stock markets from the economies they’re based on. But in 2014, the US and China are trying to unwind these crazy policies – without taking down the entire global economy.
Now part three, after soaring home prices and mortgage rates. It was drowned out by the hullaballoo over the Fed’s taper announcement. It came from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It will drive up mortgage payments even more.
By Lee Adler, The Wall Street Examiner: Since the 2009-2010 rebound, it has become abundantly clear that the apparent correlation between QE-ZIRP and economic recovery, if it ever existed, no longer exists.
By Lee Adler, The Wall Street Examiner: Beneath the surface, some early signs of possibly ugly trends.
Tally: 7 deaths, 90 injuries from shootings, stabbings, tramplings, fights, pepper sprayings.... “Only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have,” a tweet explained. It’s been tough for retailers too.
The first thing I noticed after I’d removed the glossy brochure from the envelope was the crisp $5 bill. I’m a sucker for free money. After peeling it off the letter, I started reading. It was from Google and involved a lot more money – in return for just about all my private data.
Now “trade agreements” are negotiated behind sealed doors, without public oversight, beyond the reach of Congress. The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is secret, but some sections were leaked. It deals with trade only on the margins. Corporate interests dominate. It mocks democracy, establishes kangaroo courts, and taxpayers are on the hook.
By James Murray: Computer power has reached the point where almost anything can be automated, and computer pricing has reached the point where it is profitable to do so. The world is undergoing a mega shift, and governments have no clue how to handle the problem.
Consumer spending hasn't exactly been hot. With one big exception: auto sales. At 20% of total retail sales, they’ve been phenomenal and propped up overall retail sales. But in September, there was a downdraft. The calendar got blamed. And in October, there was the government shutdown and debt-ceiling debacle. And now all bets are off.
Selling airline tickets to our increasingly pauperized consumers is an art. And hiding price increases is an even greater art. While there are people who don’t worry about the price as they luxuriate in first class, others aren’t so lucky. For them, the industry has a special treat: squeezing their hips.
The amount in Federal assistance received by families of workers in the fast-food industry, who’re dogged by low wages, part-time work, and scarce employer-provided health benefits, amounted to $7 billion per year. A way for the $200 billion industry to shuffle off part of the costs of doing business to the hapless taxpayer.
It is starting to show up in the numbers: the debt-ceiling and government-shutdown debacles are worming their way into the economy. Americans blame the already single most disparaged institution, Congress, for it and have started to react economically. Clicks of seatbelts being fastened can be heard around the world.