Attn sheeple: U.S. economy is NOT improving

Design by Anthony Freda

Yesterday, I woke up to the news that Obama’s approval numbers are risen to 50% — 1 of every 2 Americans! The reporter attributes it to the improved economy.

What improved economy?

I know most Americans mainly rely on the MSM for their news, if they do even that. But sometimes I want to tear out my hair for their sheeple-ness (with apologies to sheep).

The plain truth is that the U.S. economy is NOT improving. Here are the reasons why:

1. That much ballyhooed news last week that U.S. unemployment has decreased to 8.3% in January (from 9%) is deceptive. See why, here. The 8.3% jobless rate also doesn’t include those 88 million (!) working-age Americans who are long-time unemployed and who no longer even try to find a job. Fewer and fewer Americans now work. The percentage of people participating in the labor market fell to 63.7% last month, the lowest level since May 1983. (H/t Joseph)

2. Foreclosures are on the rise again. A new report from RealtyTrac says 1 in every 624 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in January, up 3% from the previous month.  Foreclosure activity froze in many states in 2011, due to processing delays after fraud, or so-called “Robo-signing,” were uncovered in the fall of 2010.  The thaw is now on.

3. Another city in California, Hercules, just went broke. The Hercules Redevelopment Agency, which as of February 1, 2012 no longer exists, went into technical default on its February 1 bond interest payment of approximately $2.4 million. Earlier in 2008, Vallejo, the largest city in Solano County of the S.F. Bay Area, had filed for bankruptcy. San Diego, San Jose and other California cities are on the verge–or already there but refuse to admit it.  LA and San Fran are running up a one billion deficit over 3-4 years.

4. The most troubling indicator of a not-improving economy is the drop in U.S. gasoline and other energy consumption. As pointed out by astute analyst Charles Hugh Smith:

“The basic thesis here is that petroleum consumption is a key proxy of economic activity. In periods of economic expansion, energy consumption rises. In periods of contraction, consumption levels off or declines.

This common sense correlation calls into question the Status Quo’s insistence that the U.S. economy has decoupled from the global ecoomy and is still growing. This growth will create more jobs, the story goes, and expand corporate profits which will power the stock market ever higher.”

But the chart below “shows the U.S. consumed about 21 million barrels a day (MBD) at the recent peak of economic activity 2005-07; from that peak, ‘product supplied’ has fallen to 18 MBD. The current decline is very steep and has not bottomed.

This recent drop mirrors the decline registered in 2009 as the wheels fell off the global debt-based bubble. Those arguing that the U.S. economy is growing smartly and sustainably have to explain why petroleum consumption looks like 2009 when the economy tipped into a sharp contraction…. [G]asoline has declined about 700,000 barrels per day from 2007, from 9.2 MBD to 8.5 MBD in November 2011. This represents about a 13% decline.

Consumption of other energy has also tanked. As seen in the chart below, “Not only has electrical consumption never recovered the levels of mid-2008, it peaked in mid-2011 and has begun a sharp decline in late 2011.”

Smith concludes: “Clearly, electrical consumption is in a downtrend with no recent historical precedent. Those claiming that U.S. growth is sustainable and the Dow is heading for 15,000 must square their rosy projections with sharply declining energy consumption. The two simply don’t match up.”

Which leads to the question of why the ginned-up rose-tinted view? Here’s Smith:

The task of the financial/political/media Status Quo is to convince Americans to overlook the abundant evidence of economic deterioration and focus on heavily juiced “evidence” of robust “growth.”

The game plan is this: if the Status Quo can convince you that the economy has righted itself and from here on in everything will get better and better, every day and in every way, then we will abandon financial rationality and start buying homes we can’t afford on credit, cars we can’t afford on credit and boatloads of stuff from China that we don’t need on credit….”

So there you have it:

  • 88 million Americans have dropped out of the job market and are not even included in the Obama administration’s unemployment statistics.
  • Home foreclosures are on the rise, again.
  • Another city in California has gone belly up.
  • America’s energy consumption is tanking.

That is not a picture of an improving economy!

See also “Many of You Will Not Believe Some of the Things Americans Are Doing Just to Survive.”

~Eowyn

17 responses to “Attn sheeple: U.S. economy is NOT improving

  1. Neo-Slavery is being reborn. Some people do not understand Freedom, so they must always find it necessary subjugate themselves to new Masters.

  2. 88 million have dropped out of the job market? I think that you left out a decimal point, maybe 8.8. The economy is improving slowly, not fast enough. The GOP wants it that way so that they can defeat Obama.

    • Why didn’t you go to my source? If you had, you wouldn’t appear to be the fool you are.

      “88 million out of work and not looking for a job”
      San Francisco Chronicle
      Thursday, February 9, 2012

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/08/BUIQ1N3RH8.DTL

      Yes, it’s 88 million, not 8.8 million.

      • The video was rather long, but well worth watching. I had my eyes opened. I wonder how many Americans are 1 paycheck away from homelessness…
        Instead of spending billions on “air-headed” green jobs, BO should have done what Reagan did and unleash the economic engine that is America’s strength.
        Plain old tort reform, would have helped bring down medical costs, proven by Mississippi and Texas. Instead of the rates and deductible going up, my health insurance, is now 60/40 instead of 80/20. It’s ok if you don’t need to be hospitalized. Obamacare is only raising rates and has done nothing to bring down costs.
        The man with a hernia in Vegas, should come to Louisiana, we have always taken care of our sick, and if you can’t pay, they work with you or give the care free. I was without insurance 13 years ago and had to be hospitalized for 11 days with pneumonia. The hospital lets me pay 50$ a month and I will have the bill paid for by the time I am in my 70’s, the sainted Doctors did not charge me at all and this was a private hospital, not a government one…
        I think I have been rambling, but this is a horrible situation in this country and it looks like not much is being done to help these people that want to work, but those drug addicted have all the help in the world…

    • walthe310, you need to get your head out of the sand and look around. Instead of disputing facts with made up numbers, maybe you should do a little research. You will be all the better for it…

    • Facts are mucher harder to process. Just stick to DNC talking points.

      So the GOP blocked Keystone? The GOP didn’t try to reign in Fannie & Freddie? The GOP shoved healthcare mandates down employers’ throats? Man, they sure are evil. /sarc

    • Spoken like a true Obama kool-aid drinking stooge, do you realize that in all of your stupidity that 88 million Americans accounts for around 26% of the population. So do the math, add the 26% that are no longer even looking for work and the 8.3% unemployment rate that the DIC (Dictator IN Chief) is so so proud of, and the actual unemployment rate is right around 34% which means that under Obama our country has the highest unemployment rate ever in our history, even outdoing the 23.6% rate during the great depression.

      If you want to bury you head in the sand and ignore the truth and the facts, just do us all a favor and don’t use a breathing apparatus.

    • I just changed my definition of stoopid dumbMass sheep.

      Now it’s you.

      With bells on, even.

      -Dave

  3. My contention is that the price of gas and the political
    propaganda in the summer of 2007 precipitated this depression
    (I called it as a pseudo-recession,then) when the rapid rise of
    fuel wiped out the savings of the ‘average’ household just so they
    could get to work…then the belt-tightening down-sizing, canceled
    projects and lay-offs began and then everything else started
    sliding downhill.
    A recession is when your neighbor loses his job…a depression
    is when you lose yours.
    http://www.shadowstats.com/ is an interesting resource,too

  4. I have been listening to this recently with incredulity.
    I have even gone so far as to ask myself if my loathing for Obama could be so pervasive and strong that it is clouding my vision…..I have thought about this and decided, ” no”, that my thinking is clear enough to separate my visceral reactions from my ability to see the economic reality that we currently live in.
    I have even asked myself the “would you rather be right than happy?” question and have decided that I would definitely rather be happy. I would rather that Obama’s actions ( or inactions ) have somehow steered America down the perfect path and the engines are once again revving, that everything will, very soon, be chugging along and everyone will have and pay his “fair share” and there will be happiness and plenty spread across the land…..the world! I would rather we all prosper and that I made a big mistake and was so wrong about Obama and that he is truly wonderful….I would rather prosperity and I would say, “wow, was I wrong”.

    But…..I’m not wrong. People are being played for idiots. Most people do not spend so much time paying attention to politics. If the White House tells Media Matters who is informing the mainstream media that happy days are here again……well by golly, it must be so.

    I’m working 7 days a week, from the time I wake up through the wee hours…all the time…for about 1/3 of what I was earning about 3-4 years ago……and I know it’s not just me.
    It’s so sad to watch so many people passively go along because it’s easier to believe that everything is fine than that the guy in the White House is incompetent or evil or both.
    This is all quite worrisome and I pray daily that something occurs to stem this descent into the “handbasket”

    • Artist–my husband, as a Family Physician, is working harder and receiving much less pay. Thanks to Obama, he is staying up most nights until midnight working on converting to electronic medical records. We are too old for this–it’s like residency again!!

  5. welcome to the new america comrade. or are you prepared for your own hope and change

  6. i pulled this from newsvine …you’ll have to scroll to read it all……. 8.6% unemployment rate! WOW! That is such good news isn’t it? Not really when you consider that the rate plummeted because of people who quit looking for work–a fact that has finally been admitted in a Mainstream Media outlet (MSNBC). Combined with the hiring of seasonal workers, it is giving us a falsely rosy picture of the actual shape of the economy:

    More than half the jobs added last month were by retailers, restaurants and bars, a sign that holiday hiring has kicked in. Retailers added 50,000, the sector’s biggest gain since April. Restaurants and bars hired 33,000 workers. The health care industry added 17,000.

    Still, a worrisome drop in the size of the U.S. workforce means that even with a big decline in the unemployment rate in November, it’s still not time to break out the champagne.

    The fall in the jobless rate was aided by 315,000 people leaving the workforce. That pushed the participation rate, a ratio of the amount of the population in the labor force, down to 64.0 percent.

    By there own admission above, the true unemployment rate is more than 1 in 3 Americans are unemployed. Before anyone mistakenly claims that the participation rate mentioned above is of the whole population, including children, it isn’t. That number is the total amount of Americans over the age of 16 who could be working if everyone wanted to and could find a job. Remove the 12.6% of those over the age of 65 (like that many are, or could really afford to, voluntarily retire) and the 7.1% who are between the ages of 15-19 (once again assuming that none of them want a job), and we still have an unemployment rate of 14% of the work force–not 8.6% as is being claimed. Maybe if the Stimulus Funds had gone to infrastructure projects instead of bankers bonuses, we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with?

    As Mark Twain once said; “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    Funny how the U.S. Government can manage to become an expert in all three at once….

  7. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this brilliant post! Furthermore, it is logically inconceivable for the economy to be all of a sudden improving! Idiots! Go to the grocery store and see the difference in the price of food rising, pay for gas and see the difference in the price of gas rising and the unemployment rate has never been higher, all from Obama’s kingship. Anyone can use statistics and exclude pertinent information-IT IS CALLED THE SIN OF OMISSION! Thank you, Dr. Eowyn, for once again announcing the truth to the world!

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