Sunday, May 29, 2011

getting a rise outta hot air

it appears "consumer confidence" is like a hot-air balloon: if the media pumps enough hot-air into the presentation of business news, consumers' "confidence" will start to lift off like a blow-up sex toy:

according to business week (weak?), which is pumping a reuters survey:
Stocks are closing higher after an unexpected jump in consumer confidence and slight gains in Americans' spending and income.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index came in above analysts' estimates, boosting markets. Concerns about higher gas prices and inflation had knocked the gauge down in March and April.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 12,442 Friday.
The S&P 500 index rose 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,33.
at the risk of mixing metaphors, you would certainly have to consider the premise of the article (not to mention the conclusion of the survey) as a case of skating on thin ice.

nothing is quite so tentative and shaky as this purported economic "recovery." real estate is still in the tank -- and shows every indication of diving ever downward. no recovery there.

while the market may be up, that's mostly the work on the FED's easy-money policy, which keeps cash going into equities -- even if volume is pathetic, and the upward tilt shows every indication of being gamed by the big shots.

what's is most seriously lacking (aside from fiscal sanity in our debt-driven clusterfuck economy) is any pickup in employment, or rising wages. the percentage of working-age people not "participating" in the workforce is at record levels, and while corporate profits soar they aren't translating into more money in workers' paychecks.

how can consumers be confident in an economy like this? FED policies are driving up the prices of commodities, which are in turn running the cost of living up while real income is going down. not only gasoline, but foodstuffs and agricultural products like cotton are are rising at a breathtaking pace. even if the CPI is gamed so as not to take into account food and energy prices, joe and jane average know that they are getting shafted.

this is, of course, symptomatic of the demise of the independent news media, and its replacement by a corporate PR machine that -- on key issues like the economy -- speaks with one voice as it promotes the interests of the ruling corporate oligarchy.

the economy is improving, damn it. get that through your head and shut up!

any questions?

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