A Time of Shattering Realities

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by David Glenn Cox

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Decrease to 10-Month Low

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Decrease to
10-Month Low. First time claims for unemployment benefits fell last
week to the lowest since January, a sign the labor market is
deteriorating more slowly as the economy emerges from the recession. 

Yes, let the good times roll. The business community continues to
dig through the economic manure pile looking for that pony! They choose
to forget that unemployment benefits have fixed time limits, nor do
they count the numbers whose benefits have already been exhausted. They
count only the total number and pretend that it is reality. But, what
is reality? As Christ asked, "What is truth?"

MOUNT AIRY, Md. — "A home-improvement worker and school janitor who
apparently was struggling to survive the recession killed his sleeping
wife and two children before turning the 12-gauge shotgun on himself,
Maryland State Police said Saturday." 

In Las Vegas there have been three murder-suicides in the past
twelve days. These are acts of desperation that are happening in every
city in America and yet it is treated as strictly local news.

The Labor Department said that overall job losses in September were
263,000 after job losses in August were 201,000; that is almost half a
million people in two months. Meanwhile, government officials admitted
this month that they have probably underestimated job losses by 824,000. 

"Investigators believe the deaths occurred Thursday night or Friday
morning. Shipley said Jennifer Dalton failed to report to her part-time
job at a veterinary hospital in Damascus, prompting co-workers to try
to contact her starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday. No one answered their
calls or came to the door.

'A family friend called 911 at about 5:30 p.m. Friday after spotting
a body through a rear window of the split-level house,' Shipley said." 

Charles Dalton was a self-employed cabinet installer who ran his
business, Imagine Millwork, out of his home. He also worked the night
shift as a maintenance worker for Montgomery County schools. The house,
on a corner lot in a modest, middle-class neighborhood, had a "For
Sale" sign out front. It had been on the market for at least a year,
according to neighbors.

Kenneth Matthews, a security worker who also runs a carpet-cleaning
business out of his home a few doors down, said Dalton had been
scraping by in the weak economy. "He was struggling, just like me,"
Matthews said. 

"We're probably running about 40 percent of where we were last year."

"Nonetheless, economists surveyed by Bloomberg in September
estimated the U.S. returned to growth last quarter after contracting in
the first six months." 

"Growth next year probably won’t be strong enough to 'substantially'
bring down unemployment, which may remain above 9 percent at the end of
2010," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told lawmakers.

"Companies looking to add staff include Richfield, Minnesota-based
Best Buy Co. The world’s largest electronics retailer last month said
it plans to hire more seasonal holiday workers this year to help meet
demand for Internet-connected flat-panel televisions and mobile phones." 

That’s the best you’ve got? That Best Buy is going to hire more Christmas help than last year?

"Legislation to extend unemployment benefits is being delayed in the
U.S. Senate by a dispute among lawmakers over which states ought to
receive the relief. The House approved legislation last week that would
extend benefits by 13 weeks for people in 27 states with jobless rates
of at least 8.5 percent in August. Democrats had said they wanted to
forward the bill to Obama by the end of September, when benefits ran
out for about 400,000 Americans. Seventeen senators objected to the
House plan because their states would be excluded." 

This is called fiddling while Rome burns, adding unnecessary
suffering to people already suffering. The commerce department warns
that there are six applicants for every job opening and if you look at
these job openings in the want ads you find that many of these jobs pay
nothing! They are commission only or minimum wage plus commission. Who
can sell jewelry or cars or life insurance in a market where even
grocery store sales are in decline?

There is a deep-seated desire to deny reality that is rooted in
their overall philosophical beliefs, and to admit reality is to admit
that they have been fundamentally wrong all along about the economy. We
hear of grand schemes and growth projections that assure us of the
fundamental stability of the economy. But men and women are killing
their children in ever-increasing numbers out of fear and frustration,
and that says, "You Lie!" To the academics and economists who have
insisted that outsourcing will be good for the economy in the long run,
it says, "These dead are on your hands." 

It is delusional to believe that somehow a family can be supported
and kept on minimum wage and part time jobs. They are unwilling to
admit that their policies are as much responsible for the deaths as the
Remington. There is an ever-present air of benign neglect, let's look
the other way and pretend that it has nothing to do with us or what we
do here.

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Police in Sunrise said a father, mother and teenage
girl died in a double murder-suicide over the weekend. Early Sunday
morning, the bodies of Quincy Kelly, his wife, Lisa, and their
13-year-old daughter, Soroya, were found locked inside a back bedroom
of their home. Sunrise police said it was a double murder-suicide." 

"Yes, he lost his job, but where that is concerned, it's a total
different matter than this," Mitchell said. "It's not known yet what
caused all of this. All we know is that three lives were lost."

The potential link between murder-suicides and the economy is an
area of study for the Violence Policy Center in Washington. "We've been
looking at this issue of whether there are more murder-suicides … [and]
a pattern is starting to develop that may point in that direction,"
says Kristen Rand, legislative director at the center. 

The saddest part of this whole situation is that the government has
already shot its bolt. They have already spent any funds that might
have been available on the bank bailout and rescue. The Obama
administration's stimulus package is DOA, too small and too
short-sighted and littered with tax cuts and incentives. Even the Wall
Street Journal now admits that it is too small.

Many states faced with huge budget shortfalls have used the stimulus
money to save employees rather than to add employees. This is all well
and good but bailing is not sailing and saving jobs doesn’t solve the
problem. It forestalls the problem while the situation grows worse.
With 400,000 set to lose unemployment benefits, does anyone seriously
believe that Best Buy is the answer? 

A time of shattering realities is upon us; our people face grim
winter months. How will they heat the house? How will they feed their
children? How will they keep a roof over their heads?

"Cramer: Expect a Big Holiday Shopping Season" 

"The consumer is alive and pretty well," Jim Cramer announced Thursday, "no matter what the pundits say."