January 28, 2023

Bulls and Bears

I heard the muffler blocks away. She also heard it. Intuition is an acquired talent and both of us sensed this loud, broken muffler meant trouble. The clerk and I listened as this muffler came closer, and louder, to the store where I had stopped in near midnight to get a caffeine fix for a long drive. The two of us could feel the hostility behind the steering wheel as the car came into the store parking lot. The guy got out of the junkyard car and went straight to the beer cooler for a six pack. He was wearing a filthy T-shirt. The dirt on his clothing expressed completely the dirt he had inside him. He grabbed a six pack, cracked open a can of beer, and drank it without any thought of paying for it first. He put the beer on the counter as he finished the first can.

The clerk’s voice cracked as she asked, “Will that be all?”

We were thinking the same thing. It was fifty fifty he would pull out a wallet or a gun.

He took out his wallet and paid for the beer. Then he drove off, the loud muffler shaking the streets. The man was consumed with hostility to a society that was knocking the absolute crap out of him. He was one of those people labeled by the economists as marginally attached to society. His dirty clothing and old clunker car said worse. He was a dirt bag. This guy was a bear, an angry black bear reckoning for a fight with the bulls of Wall Street.

The BLS jobs report came out with a very mixed message on how this economic recovery is going.

244,000 jobs created, with the unemployment rate rising to 9.0 %. The real unemployment rate is calculated at 15.9%. ┬áThe fate of people “marginally attached” to society should be a concern to everyone. People can only hide for so long behind gated communities and private schools.

Paul Krugman’s warning of the clear and present danger in a persistently high unemployment rate.

Jay Cost, in the Weekly Standard, writes of the “food stamp recovery”

CNBC’s Jeff Cox looks at the unemployment numbers and writes there are reasons to cheer and reasons to fear.

One of the top economic blogs, Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, says the numbers look promising on the surface and awful when digging deeper. The National Journal is more optimistic that the economic recovery will continue.

The fight between the bulls and bears continues…


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