The back of summer was broken here last night. There was just a hint of coolness in the air and the wind was out of the North rather than the South. It doesn't mean that summer is over only that it is slowly yielding and giving way like it does every year.
It also means that all those green shoot jobs that the administration bragged on this spring will shed their leaves and become dry and withered and unemployed. It is risky business for an administration to talk about recovery without actually doing something about it. To pronounce in spring that the recovery is here when all that had actually arrived was the new season. Summer jobs, grass cutting, painting and fertilizing and home improvement projects; all the jobs affiliated with a season and not a recovery.
The day before yesterday I met a man who had worked for Delphi. He was middle aged graying at the temples and he still dressed nice, but his laptop bag had the look of a salesman who'd made ten thousand sales calls and brought in thousands of orders. GM spun off Delphi knowing what would happen and he lost his pension and went through his 401K trying to find another job. But there aren't any jobs for middle management in the auto industry.
As we talked he explained that he was a Republican and I understood where he was coming from. He was a Republican like I was a Democrat back when party affiliation still meant something. He told me that he couldn't stand Rush Limbaugh and when I started to talk about FDR his eyes lit up and he said, "That's the plan! We've got to put people back to work!"
This administration has sent Joe Biden out on the road to give rah rah speeches and I really like Joe Biden. He's returned the office of Vice President back to its traditional role of meaninglessness. When Joe gives a stump speech you say, "well it wasn't great but it wasn't all that bad. But when Joe tries to infuse that Washington brand of enthusiasm it comes across like those old movies from the 1940's; "hey gang, I know! We can do the show right here!"
Bloomberg- "Today in Washington the Vice President will unveil a report showing some of the scientific and technological advances as a result of the $814 billion stimulus. According to the analysis, a $100 billion investment from the Recovery Act has cut costs in areas including new battery technologies, solar power, renewable energy, and human DNA sequencing."
That's just great, really f*cking awesome. I'll tell that to man I met today who lives under a bridge! He's managed restaurants, he's been a printing broker. He's even had a series seven securities license and was a painting contractor. Now he lives under a bridge and walks the streets during the day looking for work. "I can't just sit under that bridge all day," he said. "There is a little stream so I can wash off. I just need work! I'll rake yards, just something to get twenty dollars."
Meanwhile existing home sales fell by 27 percent and that's a bad number at anytime except a 27 percent drop when it's the worst year on record? "Human DNA sequencing? That sounds exciting!" Demand for homes is at a record fifteen year low but Joe was bragging the other day that Chrysler might make a profit this year! Of course Joe didn't mention the Chrysler's owners plan it to build Italian model cars in Mexico and sell them in the United States.
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