Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When Ease becomes Disease



Good news folks, the minds of those who see us as consumers, rather than struggling Americans, have been eased. So says Bloomberg News in an article titled Trade Deficit in U.S. Widened from Three-Year Low (Jun 4, 2013)

There are those of us who were cheered by a three-year low, thinking it somehow had to do with balanced budgets and actually being a productive nation, instead of never-ending debtors. Foolish of us to have thought that was a practical solution in the face of business, government and all those disreputable economists, thirsting for our return to buying stuff we don’t need for prices we can’t afford.
 

Shobhana Chandra, a reporter over at Bloomberg, got it all in the first paragraph:

The trade deficit in the U.S. widened in April from a more than three year low, reflecting a rebound in imports of consumer goods and business equipment that eases concern about the degree of slowing in economic growth.

Chandra wasn’t specific about whose concerns were eased. But this stuff is important mostly to Wall Street, so we’ll presume that it was investors whose concerns were eased. God bless ‘em, those dudes get so darned cheerful when easing stays on track. And they’re on a roll.

Ben Bernanke has been easing recent gambling debts off of Wall Street’s and the mega-banks’ shoulders to the tune of $16 trillion over the past few years. If that hasn’t helped your particular business in getting a bank loan, or personally saved you from losing your home, don’t fret. The Dow Jones is at an all-time high. Trickle-down is said to raise all boats and, if yours is leaking at the moment, if your kids’ school-loans are about to double their interest rates, take heart at the fact the country’s top earners are having their concerns eased. It’s the new American Way and not even all that new.

Since Ronald Reagan pulled the chocks out from under the wheels in 1980 and began the downhill race to deregulate nearly every damned thing, Wall Street bankers have been the major winners. Okay, we all know that, we’ve been fairly bludgeoned with the news, but a gentle reminder is in order about whose concerns have been eased. It turns out to be the very ladies and gents who drove us off the cliff. They have the keys to the car again.

  • In 1980, the Dow Jones industrial average stood at 964. Today it stands at 15,244. (1600% gain)
  • In 1980, the median American wage was $16,200. Today it stands at $48,150. (300% gain)
  • This year, the average Goldman Sachs gross salary is $400,000. (800% above the US average) By average, I don’t mean the average among partners, four hundred thousand is the average among 32,000 employees worldwide.

So show us a stiff upper-lip, welcome your recent college grad back to his or her old bedroom and get back out there and spend, America. Even though you and I may be concerned about growing national debt, homes under water, our kids’ college loans and lost jobs, we need to put our shoulders to the wheel and ease those concerns at the top.

That’s when ease becomes disease.