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American Workers: Hanging on by the Skin of Their Teeth

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Source: CounterPunch

After five years of Obama's economic recovery, the American people are as gloomy as ever. According to a  Bloomberg National Poll  that was released this week, fewer people "are optimistic about the job market" or "the housing market" or "anticipate improvement in the economy's strength over the next year." Also, only 38 percent think that President Obama is doing enough "to make people feel more economically secure." Worst of all,  Bloomberg pollsters found that 68 percent of interviewees thought the country was "headed in the wrong direction."

So why is everyone so miserable?  Are things really that bad or have we turned into a nation of crybabies?

The reason people are so pessimistic is because the economy is still in the doldrums and no one's doing anything about it. That's it in a nutshell. Survey after survey has shown that what people really care about is jobs, but no one in Washington is listening. In fact, jobs aren't even on Obama's radar. Just look at his record. He's worse than any president in modern times. Take a look at this graph.

More than 600,000 good-paying public sector jobs have been slashed during Obama's tenure as president. That's worse than Bush, worse than Clinton, worse than Reagan, worse than anyone, except maybe Hoover. Is that Obama's goal, to one-up Herbert Hoover?

Obama has done everything he could to make the lives of working people as wretched as possible. Do you remember the Card Check sellout or the Wisconsin "flyover" when Governor Scott Walker was eviscerating collective bargaining rights for public sector unions and Obama blew kisses from Air Force One on his way to a campaign speech in Minnesota?  Nice touch, Barry. Or what about the "Job's Czar" fiasco, when Obama appointed GE's outsourcing mandarin Jeffrey Immelt to the new position just in time for GE to lay off another 950 workers at their locomotive plant in Pennsylvania. That's tells you what Obama really thinks about labor.

What Obama cares about is trimming the deficits and keeping Wall Street happy. That's it. But the people who elected him don't want him to cut the deficits, because cutting the deficits prolongs the slump and costs jobs. What they want is more stimulus, so people can find work, feed their families, and have some basic security. That's what they want, but they're not going to get it from Obama because he doesn't work for them. He works for the stuffed shirts who flank him on the golf course at Martha's Vineyard or the big shots who chow down with him at  his $100,000-per-plate campaign jamborees. That's his real constituency. Everyone else can take a flying fu** for all he cares.

Then there's the Fed. Most people don't think the Fed's goofy programs work at all. They think it's all a big ruse. They think Bernanke is just printing money and giving it to his criminal friends on Wall Street (which he is, of course.) Have you seen this in the New York Times?...

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"Only one in three Americans has confidence in the Federal Reserve's ability to promote economic growth, while little more than a third think the Fed is spinning its wheels, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

"The Fed has been trying for five years to speed the nation's recovery from the Great Recession by reducing borrowing costs to the lowest levels on record.

"Most Americans, it would appear, remain either unaware or unpersuaded." ("Majority of Americans Doubt Benefits of Fed Stimulus," New York Times)

"Unpersuaded"? Are you kidding me? Most Americans think they're getting fleeced; unpersuaded has nothing to do with it. They're not taken in by the QE-mumbo jumbo. They may not grasp the finer-points, but they get the gist of it, which is that the Fed has run up a big $3 trillion bill every penny of which has gone to chiseling shysters on Wall Street. They get that! Everyone gets that! Sure, if you want to get into the weeds about POMO or the byzantine aspects of the asset-purchase program, you might detect a bit of confusion, but -- I assure you -- the average Joe knows what's going on. He knows all this quantitative jabberwocky is pure bunkum and that he's getting schtooped bigtime. You don't need a sheepskin from Princeton to know when you've been had.

And that's why everyone is so pessimistic, because they know that the Fed, the administration and the media are all lying to them 24-7. That's why -- as Bloomberg discovered -- "Americans are losing faith in the nation's economic recovery." Because they don't see any recovery. As far as they're concerned, the economy is still in recession. After all, they're still underwater on their mortgages, Grandpa Jack just took a job at a fast-food joint to pay for his wife's heart medication, and junior is camped out in the basement until he can get a handle on his $45,000 heap of college loans. So where's the recovery?

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Nobody needs Bloomberg to point out how grim things are for the ordinary people. They see it firsthand every damn day.

Did you catch the news on Wal-Mart this week? It's another story that helps explain why everyone's so down-in-the-mouth. Here's what happened: Wal-Mart's stock tanked shortly after they announced that their "inventory growth ... had outstripped sales gains in the second quarter. ...Merchandise has been piling up because consumers have been spending less freely than Wal-Mart projected." (Bloomberg)

Okay, so the video games and Barbie dolls are piling up to the rafters because part-time wage slaves who typically shop at Wal-Mart are too broke to buy anything but the basic necessities. Is that what we're hearing?

Indeed. "We are managing our inventory appropriately," David Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. "We feel good about our inventory position."

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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Unfortunately, this writer nailed it.The people ar... by Bob Gormley on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 8:40:09 AM
Unfortunately we are not waking up.  Things a... by Patricia Gray on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 1:18:02 PM
Agreed, some people have awoken, but not enough. I... by Bob Gormley on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 6:46:19 PM
As Bob said, this writer did nail it.  I don'... by Diana L on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 9:02:12 AM
Nobody needs over a couple of million dollars a ye... by Patricia Gray on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 1:25:02 PM
Patricia is right on target! My thoughts on this t... by Stephen Unger on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 5:37:53 PM
The solution is to create hundreds of thousands of... by Jim Miller on Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 6:54:30 AM
I agree that worker cooperatives are a great idea ... by Stephen Unger on Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 4:41:28 PM
Yes, worker owned Coops funded by Public State ban... by Michael Dewey on Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 3:49:32 PM
I wrote an academic article about Mondragon Cooper... by Jim Miller on Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 9:27:56 PM
See my comment to Patricia Gray, above.Jim Miller... by Jim Miller on Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 6:42:40 AM
Excellent article. As others have pointed out, Mik... by Janet Loughrey on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 11:54:08 AM
Mike is right -- his article is spot on but... by Ted Newcomen on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 11:59:23 AM
excellent piece, thank you for posting... by Deb Concord on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 12:38:33 PM
Part of the problem is us. If we refuse to purchas... by Bob Gormley on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 6:55:57 PM
I will second your thoughts above entirely!!! The ... by Deborah Dills on Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013 at 10:50:54 PM
NATION OF ECONOMIC IDIOTS There is a solution... by Jim Miller on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 10:44:37 PM
No, they are not, Many Americans. like my youngest... by Deborah Dills on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 11:39:28 PM
If this were an oratory, I'd be standing up, clapp... by b. sadie bailey on Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 12:43:00 AM
BEST WE GET ON WITH THE WORKER COOPERATIVE SOLUTIO... by Jim Miller on Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 3:10:41 PM
[COMMENT CONTINUED FROM ABOVE] The business ... by Jim Miller on Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 3:11:49 PM
Austerity becomes a gigantic negative spiral that ... by Hosea McAdoo on Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 10:33:32 AM
LET THEM EAT CAPITAL! :-)... by takebackourcountry on Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 7:37:21 PM
Click here for a very appropriate follow-up articl... by takebackourcountry on Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 2:43:51 PM